Holidays are precious and let’s face it, we all fancy a bit of luxury to indulge our senses in. But for the eco-conscious traveller, the challenge is to find a destination that achieves the balance between luxury and environmentally friendly. The ‘green’ part really needs to be seamlessly integrated into the experience.
It’s not hard. Guests can be traveling ‘green’ without really knowing it. If a destination has the 2 key ingredients of 1.Location and 2.Experience, the green part of the recipe can then be very simply integrated, and just like a green smoothie, guests won’t even know they’re drinking kale or spinach!
Passive solar architecture is a subtle, effective way to increase guest comfort without detracting from luxury and decreases the need for power hungry air-conditioning. Some techniques are: elevated accommodation structures that facilitate cooling airflow; long eaves for shade; reflective roofs ; higher angled roof pitch that decreases the surface area exposed to the midday sun; lightweight building materials that drop heat quickly; double glazed windows and orientation of buildings to capture the sea breezes. These clever initiatives are like a dash of spinach in amongst the raspberries and bananas – hidden wonders.
Renewable solar power using solar arrays on roofs to gather energy from the Sun is the most effective and cost-efficient way to generate green power – especially “above the 23rd parallel” (south). If your destination is windy, you can look at wind power – Australia’s fastest growing mode of clean energy production.
Other green initiatives for consideration include: circuit breakers to restrict the use of large power-drawing electronic devices; LED lights; louvre windows to capture and maximise airflow; sustainable, renewable building materials that reduce the need for deforestation; recycling in your office and around your resort; low flow taps, toilets and showerheads; a biological sewerage treatment plant and bio-degradable cleaning and bathroom products.
In your resort gardens, you can re-use greywater for watering plants; plant native species to reduce irrigation needs; elevate pathways (wooden boardwalks work well) to protect the natural bush floor; plant an organic vegetable patch to support your resort kitchen; compost kitchen scraps and feed them to your chickens!
Going green can actually create more guest comfort and more delicious meals! And your guests can sleep soundly in their beds (minus the green peas under their mattresses!) knowing that they are supporting the sustainability of the planet. It’s surely a win, win situation.
Tom Cykowski is the manager at Eco Beach Resort in Broome.