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.
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. Core to this decision was the environmental impact of investing in a battery system that would eventually be a significant pollutant to the environment. Instead, we are using the grid as our battery pack and will set up a separate clean energy company 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 principals 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:
Using energy efficient lighting and Energy Star-rated appliances throughout, as well as occupancy sensors and lighting control systems that minimize energy use.
Purchasing green tags/energy certificates.
Providing waste management via guest room recycling, back-of-the-house recycling, and eco-friendly hotel cleaning products.
Leveraging alternate energy, such as renewable wind power and biodiesel where possible.
Producing our own biodiesel from locally available coconut palm oil to power a small fleet of biodiesel cars, trucks and/or tractors.
Providing an optional towel and linen exchange program.
Designing buildings that enhance natural day lighting.
Following up on a story from March of 2014, when a group of guests and parents of the local kindergarten joined together to paint the school, one of the outcomes from that “painting pa... Read this full entry
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