Gallery: Monterey Bay Shores Set to be Greenest Ecoresort in the World

Thumbnail location of Monterey Bay Shores

Monterey Bay Shores is a stunning new development set to break ground this month that will convert a desolate disused sand mine into a thriving environmental preserve and eco-resort. Replete with living walls and a five acre green roof, the development boasts an impressive list of green design elements and is working towards LEED Platinum certification. Now, saying that you’re the “Greenest Eco Resort” is quite a claim, but if the Resort builds out all that they have promised, it really will be the most environmentally friendly resort in the US, and possibly in the world.

Most of the time when we hear about eco resorts they are located in some far off tropical place that would require us to fly for at least 8 hours to get to. We’d love to go abroad, but as the wallet is a bit tighter and overseas flights really aren’t all that green, we were excited to hear about a new eco resort being built in the US this February in Monterey, California. The resort will house a wellness spa, restaurants, meeting rooms, condos, pools, and trails to the beach.

The site for the Monterey Bay Shores eco-resort is situated on a defunct sand mine, which had been operating for over 60 years. The sand mine considerably damaged the natural ecosystem, stripping away important topsoil layers and allowing invasive species to infiltrate the area. As part of the resort development, MBS will also restore 85% of the 29 acre site to native flora and fauna. Over 6.7 acres will be dedicated as an endangered species habitat and restored coastline. Additionally, 5 acres will be built as a living roof, leaving only 4% of the site as impervious surface, which is great. All parking is below ground, and even the fire lanes will be constructed from a grass paver, rather than asphalt.

The resort will provide 30% of its own power from wind and solar resources augmented by geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling. The green roofs include photovoltaic and evacuated tube solar hot water systems, while horizontal wind turbines will be strategically located behind restored sand dunes for optimum wind velocity. The buildings themselves will be highly energy efficient and reduce energy use by over 50%. Windows and rooms are designed to optimize daylight to reduce lighting needs.

With a fresh coastal breeze constantly available, cooling needs are easily addressed through natural ventilation techniques. Living walls will provide a natural biofiltration system that will improve indoor air quality and reduce dependence on artificially cooled air. Buildings will be constructed from a hybrid system of prefabricated panels and on-site construction using sustainable and recyclable materials. Water-wise technologies will also be employed, reducing the need for potable water by 50%. All irrigation water will come from on-site recycled stormwater or from the rainwater catchment system.

On site amenities include natural and saltwater pools, botanical and herbal gardens, beach and dune trails, as well as organized classes and outings that teach about the native flora and fauna. A sustainability center will be available to residents and guest to educate them on the resort and their surroundings. As an world class hotel and resort, the MBS will also have fine dining restaurants, which will serve organic, sustainable and locally raised food.

We often speak about new green developments, and of course the greenest development is the one that doesn’t happen. But developers are developers and resorts like this or worse will be built, so we have to be hopeful that this resort will serve as another great example for developers world wide.

+ Monterey Bay Shores Ecoresort

Via Treehugger


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  1. beachmama April 8, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Building any resort along our coastline is irresponsible. This is “green-washing” at it’s worst.

    As a concerned citizen, a coastal dweller and a beach advocate. I walk the beach everyday and pick up trash left behind. The worst months are the summer/fall tourist season when beaches are littered with plastic bottles, plastic bags and cheap plastic beach toys. Building a resort along any coastal shoreline is an Eco-disaster waiting to happen. Our oceans are overburdened with garbage washed out to sea. Adding more is unthinkable.

    This project will add to the burden of trash on the beaches and in the ocean. It will harm and even destroy sensitive nesting habitat of the endangered snowy plover. Construction alone adds to erosion and disruption of wild coastal dwelling birds and marine life.

    At a time in history when our oceans are barely surviving because of the impact of humans, this project is unthinkable . . . there is nothing at all ecological about this project.

  2. Anthro July 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Looks like a typical strip mine. This design is devoid of architecture and it’s based on phony ecological premises. A typical developer using “ECO” as a marketing sales pitch. I’ve seen student projects that reflect more sense and knowledge than this one. Leave the beaches alone.

  3. GdV S May 29, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Does anyone know who designed this project?

  4. MadroneZone February 28, 2009 at 3:51 am

    “Monterey”: It rains every year. Drought years are those years when it rains less than average amounts, but rainwater and storm runoff is available for reuse every year. While it isn’t predictable how much rainwater or stormwater will be collected during a given rainy season (winter), and the landscaping and design will have to work within those limits, it is still a viable strategy to plan the landscaping for rainwater use. Rainwater harvesting is old as dirt.

  5. outofdoors February 12, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    After reading this I went to take a look at the site. I posted some notes and pictures here. With all due respect to 4oceans, it doesn’t look as though nature has ‘restored’ these dunes to anything resembling an ideal habitat.

  6. nofelix February 10, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    A green resort is still a resort, and thus not green.

    Transporting loads of materials and people out to the coast just for fun is wasteful, and shouldn’t be praised for being green. It’s like saying you drive the greenest Humvee.

    Compared to other ways of relaxing and enjoying yourself, this uses much more resources to be built and run. Some greenwash, whether it works or not, doesn’t change that.

  7. mari February 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    It’s refreshing to see that some commenters are clear that just because a project calls itself “green” does not mean that it is so.

  8. 4oceans February 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Not acknowledged in your ‘story’ is the fact that this site is sensitive sand dunes that are endangered species habitat for western snowy plovers. It stopped being a ‘degraded sand mine’ a long long time ago. Nature on the site has ‘restored’ itself. The California Coastal Commission has already denied an ‘eco-resort’ for this site. All we had to do was stop destroying it daily with the sand mine. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the site were to be ‘destroyed’ again in the name of just another luxury ‘nature preserve/eco-resort’?!?!?

  9. cpine February 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    re: monterey, “…..this project is on the Bay side of Hwy 1, an area that should be left in open lands in keeping with the country’s largest marine sanctuary. How did this project happen? Local politics and greed for a higher tax basis. I noted this article made no mention the resort will NOT be open to the common Joe. Only the rich need reserve.”
    Open lands is a relative term — this is an abandoned industrial site, the coastal lands equivalent of a strip mine, subject to runoff and leaching of pollutants from the highway and nearby urban intensive uses that then go into the bay.
    The Common Joe of Monterey County does not have the wherewithal to effectively deal with these problems, nor an inclination other than to roam the site with off-road equipment and generally add trash to the area.
    Politics is the mechanism be which any change for the better (of whatever definition of “better”) will occur.
    By state law the tidal area must remain open and accessible to the Common Joe, unless it is made part of the marine reserve. Just as the Ahwanhee Hotel at Yosemite is not necessarily the most publicly accessible element of that park but has become an integral part of the plan to preserve and enhance the park experienc, it is possible that the Monterey Bay Shores resort can be utilized to help keep the rich and influential in tune with the programs and possibilities to nurture the Bay of the long haul.

  10. monterey February 6, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    As a resident of Monterey, reviewers of this project should be aware we are going through a historical drought. There is NO water to capture, hence the “green” assumption landscaping, etc. can be watered through capture is incorrect. Also, this project is on the Bay side of Hwy 1, an area that should be left in open lands in keeping with the country’s largest marine sanctuary. How did this project happen? Local politics and greed for a higher tax basis. I noted this article made no mention the resort will NOT be open to the common Joe. Only the rich need reserve.

  11. ACCA February 6, 2009 at 9:24 am

    A great scheme and fab images.

  12. M2JL February 4, 2009 at 9:56 am

    It looks much better than those generic giant towers that usually take up all the space right at the beach.

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