We investigated and debated many options and concluded that connecting to the grid and feeding back an equivalent amount of clean energy was the solution with the least environmental impact–a fundamental design goal of Playa Viva–is to create more energy than we use. This will be achieved through the creation of on-site solar energy.
By using the grid as our battery pack we are able to sell our clean energy to other resorts in the area. CFE, the Mexican government utility monopoly, is obligated by law to absorb any alternative energy created by third parties. Our obligation is to sell that alternative energy to third parties and thus recoup our electric costs.
We had to consider the impact these design decisions would have on our goal of creating community. For example, we decided not to have refrigerators in the rooms. The design team had heated debates early on about creating Casitas that had their own kitchens. As we calculated the energy usage of each Casita, we realized that adding a kitchen would increase the energy consumption 5 fold. Even adding a simple small refrigerator would add a significant energy impact. As we debated adding a refrigerator to each room, we came back to our design principles of Minimal Footprint, Maximum Comfort and Creating Community. We strongly felt that kitchens would stifle our goal of driving guests to common areas for interaction and community building, especially during meal time - the best time to bring people together.
We offset greenhouse gas emissions by: