Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sustainable Resorts

Ok, so let us talk about sustainable resorts. Most of my research online yields several “off the grid” resorts. Despite the fact that many resorts are off the grid because they have no choice, they choose to market themselves as sustainable. I have seen very few that proactively develop in a manner consistent with real sustainable methods. In addition, the idea of developing vast areas of virgin land is hardly sustainable in a long term sense. Many countries faced with a viable economic model seem to be more and more dependent on tourism as agriculture is becoming more competitive. Countries in South America and China are making it more difficult for small countries to compete in the globalization of agriculture. Fiji with its sugar cane and Belize with citrus are prime examples. It is becoming apparent that the global agriculture model is not sustainable (i.e. the thousand mile salad) and there are movements in farming to return to the local method. In Hawaii, we are seeing several alternative methods to agriculture to counteract the need to develop virgin land for resorts or vacation homes for the wealthy as an alternative to economic stability.

Tourism will always be a draw for exotic destinations and a reality to incorporate, however they can be developed in a method that is in balance if done wisely.

Resort architects can employ many sustainable concepts as we have in an upcoming resort in Belize. On the residential architecture, we minimized impact to the site, utilized catchment and grey water recycling, used local materials throughout, photovoltaics, natural ventilation, daylight, drought resistant planting, non v.o.c. paints and finishes, ect…

The resort itself will have many of the same items listed above and also employed recycling programs, reserved community farming areas and vast acreage reserved for wildlife. It may not have all the potential sustainable design; however it will be a model for the rest of Belize and sets the bar higher…

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