in the Dominican Republic Named the 2005 Caribbean
Hotel Association Green Hotels of the Year
|Miami, Florida (July 2005) – The Caribbean hospitality industry’s growth
continues to have a major impact on the environment. Sensitizing hotels
and fostering a way for them to integrate better social and environmental
practices into day-to-day business decisions is a critical first step to
preserve the tropical paradise. Working towards that goal each year, the
Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and American Express recognize those
Caribbean hotels that have positioned themselves at the cutting edge of
social and environmental responsibility. “Being environmentally conscious
is not only important to the community, but it also makes good business
sense,” says Dee Rodriguez, Vice President Establishment Services, American
Express Latin America and Caribbean Division. “We congratulate the award
winners for their enlightened environmental practices which are truly a
model for the region.”
The 2005 CHA Green Hotel of the Year Award winners obtained the highest
combined scores, based on their performance in the following five criteria:
Environmental Management & Stewardship, Infrastructure, Awareness,
Conservation, and Health & Safety:
The 3 Rivers Lodge, Dominica
The 3 Rivers Lodge, located in Green Globe-certified and renowned ecotourism destination Dominica, lives by a fundamental goal: to live in harmony with, and have as little harmful impact as possible, on the unspoiled natural beauty of its surroundings and community. Their aim is driven by a belief in their role to protect and enhance the environment for guests, as well as the residents of the local community. Keeping in line with their goals, every aspect of the hotel has the environment in mind. The management embraces a sustainable lifestyle, minimizing the use of all resources, and monitoring all systems.
The sun powers the entire property. Even the water supply is pumped from the river using a solar powered pump, which works in silence to avoid disturbing the surrounding natural habitats. Likewise, solar hot water heating systems are used. To minimize water consumption, gray water is treated and then re-used in the garden, and campers use dry toilets.
The hotel composts all kitchen and garden waste, and uses that compost to grow as much organic food as possible without the use of chemicals or fertilizers. A truly original invention is the modification of a pick up truck that has been retrofitted to run on used vegetable oil as well as diesel fuel. With the ‘cooking oil truck’ they have reduced harmful emissions by some 93%, and are able to re-cycle oil that had been previously discarded by local restaurants in local rivers and ravines.
Whenever possible, the hotel avoids purchasing packaged goods. The hotel shops locally, recycles and uses biodegradable products, and tries to keep waste products to a minimum. Water, electricity, gas, solid waste and paper consumption are monitored daily to continuously find new ways of reducing usage.
An important aspect of 3 River’s philosophy is to involve the local community. Employees come from local villages, and they are trained in sustainable living. As an Eco-Lodge, the hotel owners feel that community-based tourism is essential in order to ensure that their local friends benefit from the hotel’s existence. Bearing this in mind, the hotel offers a number of local community based activities for the visitors’ enjoyment, which, at the same time, help many native people earn money to provide for their families. The activities give guests a true taste of life in Dominica, as seen by a Dominican, and are as innovative as they are engaging. Some of them include:
“Environmental issues concern not just the air we breathe and the water we drink; they also concern our obligation to each other, and to future generations to protect our planet,” said CHA President, Berthia Parle, MBE. “In the Caribbean hospitality industry, businesses that utilize the most solid social and environmental practices benefit communities and save not only our environment, but our heritage as well.”
Large Hotel Category
Sunscape Casa del Mar - The 2005 Green Hotel Award Winner in the Large Hotel Category, Sunscape Casa del Mar in the Dominican Republic, is successful proof that sound social and environmental practices are a wise business decision. The property has been certified by Green Globe 21 for four years – led by an all-inclusive philosophy that refers not just to their service to guests, but also to the hands-on involvement of the staff at all levels.
An Environmental Management System is used to set targets and monitor progress on the property’s environmental impact, conservation of water and energy resources, and improvement of the property’s image among the community. All departments continuously assess needs and identify new projects, as well as the allocation of funds to undertake them. Over a three-year period, they proudly show a 23.5% decrease in energy consumption!
Conscientious recycling minimizes water consumption and revitalizes natural resources. When the property was originally developed, many of the natural underground springs and waterways that ran through it were disturbed and became dry. The new management set out to excavate and reforest to facilitate the survival of the springs, also bringing in indigenous fish that keep the waterways clean.
The water from outdoor showers drain into these natural pond areas that have been reclaimed and maintained with the use of a circulation fountain. Lawns and gardens are also watered with recycled gray water that is treated on-site and passed into a holding tank with live fish – a sign that the water is safe for use.
Energy consumption is controlled thanks to the design of all public spaces in such a way that air conditioning is not needed and natural light filters in to illuminate the areas. In addition, solar panels heat the jacuzzis, photo cells power the pathway lights, and key cards in the guest rooms automatically turn the electricity on and off when the guest enters or leaves the room.
Lacking local outlets to recycle many items, the hotel makes up in alternate ways, such as returning all glass containers to their distributor. In addition, they give fallen trees a new life by turning them into benches and other hand-made indigenous crafts that local vendors can sell to guests.
Reaching out to facilitate sustainable outcomes for the surrounding community, the hotel has connected the town’s sewage to the hotel’s sewage treatment plant, ending the days when the community’s black water would drain out to sea. This is the most recent example of their good neighbor policy, which also includes clean ups, reforestation, and beautification projects year-round.
Green hotel Awards Criteria
The “Green Hotel of the Year” awards demonstrate the Caribbean travel and tourism industry’s continued commitment to pursuing sustainable tourism development in the region. The awards program is designed to encourage investment in environmentally-friendly technologies and sustainable management practices within hotels and resorts by recognizing those properties that have realized significant achievements in “greening” their operations.
A team of qualified environmental experts performed site inspections and evaluated the properties in five categories:
Lorraine J. Ortiz-Valcárcel
|Also See:||Caribbean Hotel Association Recognizes Individuals that Raise the Bar for Caribbean Hospitality; Eustace Guishard, GM of Cap Juluca Resort in Anguilla Named “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year” / July 2005|
|Bucuti Beach Resort, Aruba and Sandals Negril Beach Resort, Jamaica Awarded for Environmental Management / July 2003|