Hotel Construction and Sustainability in Baja
The Los Cabos hotel scene is unquestionably booming. All it takes is a drive along the winding roads of the tip of Baja California Sur, particularly along the coastline, to get a glimpse of all the new, luxurious hotels and resorts popping up at a fast pace. These are beautiful properties that are designed to meet even the most demanding of travelers seeking to spend some quality leisure time truly away from it all.
However, we cannot – and should probably not – stray our attention away from the impact that these magnificent properties may have on the surrounding natural areas, since these are the very foundations on which this beautiful vacation and living destination has been built upon. Thoroughly understanding some basic points of sustainable development is not only necessary, but mandatory, if we are to inherit Baja as we know it to future generations.
Take, for example, the case of El Ganzo, in Puerto Los Cabos. Since it opened, the hotel has implemented sound environmentally sound practices and continues to put a stronger emphasis on growing its sustainability efforts regularly. For example, it uses simple solutions like using a nopal-based laundry detergent that saves water, electricity and gas as a way to decrease its impact in the environment. Another case would be Rancho Pescadero, in the town of Todos Santos on the Pacific side of the peninsula. Although currently closed to the public for renovation, the hotel labels itself as ‘earth friendly. All of its rooms are tied into a grey water system, and the water used in bathrooms and laundry provide irrigation for many of the plants on the property.
So, where should big and small-name hotel brands start when thinking of setting up shop in Los Cabos? A good starting point would be to do some basic research about the current statistics and hotel construction projects being done across the board, not only in Los Cabos, and assessing the trends that seek balance in principle. In many parts of the world, although the market is still very price-driven, environmental concerns amongst travelers is a growing tendency and many of them actually check a hotel brand’s sustainability initiatives before booking.
In any case, the two key elements of a successful sustainability initiative in hotels are an environmental awareness of their executive team and a commitment to abide by all regional environmental laws in place. In addition, instilling a culture of sustainability in collaborators through organizational practices and training programs, is essential. Every team member should ponder what it really means to be sustainable and have a clear understanding of who the stakeholders are and what exactly is expected or required from them.
Due validation is also important. Various “green hotel” certifications like LEED, Living Building and BREEAM, the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, should probably be pursued. This is relevant not only for good marketing practices, but also to gain and retain the environmentally conscious guest’s loyalty. There are other certifications for “green” operations, like Green Key and EarthCheck.
Also, proper architectural design is crucial. In a place like Baja California Sur, where the sun’s heat is almost ever present, new, from-the-ground-up developments should probably be based on what’s known as a passive design, which takes advantage of the local climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the building. This approach reduces the need for extra cooling or heating, depending on the season, which accounts for about 40% of energy use in desert climates.
There are probably many other sustainability measures to observe. But at the end of the day what they all do, besides fostering good business practices while caring for the environment, is create a positive feeling among staff members, when they fully realize they work in an environmentally friendly company that also cares for the long-term well-being of locals. This eventually leads to an inevitable chain of repeat business by guests who will undoubtedly experience true peace of mind during their stay.
For us, the Artifex’s Team Development crew, it is essential that all the projects we oversee follow a sustainability approach that demonstrates the manner in which we care about the well-being of our community. We strongly encourage you to set up an appointment today with us and find out how our Team Development, the region’s leading sustainable development specialists, can significantly shift the focus of your project.