While you may not naturally associate pig feces with ‘clean’ energy, the Lapa Rios Ecolodge in Costa Rica manages to makes pig poo power seem smart, sexy and super sustainable with their environmentally friendly resort. Started by John and Karen Lewis as nature reserve, the Lapa Rios Ecolodge utlizes green construction, helps protect local wildlife, supports a local elementary school, uses solar power for electricity, recycles all of its own waste, and powers its kitchen entirely through pig power. But less you think this sounds like some tie-dyed hippie commune – take a look at the photos. The lodge is as beautiful and relaxing as any five star hotel, and probably a lot more enjoyable to anyone with a sense of adventure or imagination.
Guests of the resort have the option of enjoying a full sustainability tour of the facilities, including the pig poop feces bio-gas-powered kitchen.
The hotel recycles more than 80% of the waste generated in the kitchens, separating the organic waste into two: vegetables, fruit trimmings and egg shells get turned into compost, while the rest get sent to the hotel’s pig farm. The food is consumed by pigs which then… uh… excuse themselves. Their feces is turned into bio-gas, which in turn is used for heating and cooking.
The Costa Rican resort is nestled in the privately owned Lapa Rios reserve, a conservation easement managed by the Nature Conservancy and Cederena, which was established by John and Karen Lewis. The resort was established with the intent of protecting and promoting environmental and social sustainability. When building the resort, great care was taken to preserve the local vegetation and wildlife, build with fully renewable construction materials, install solar panels, hire only local workers, and fund the community’s local school. They even raise money to fund the park rangers who look after the already established national park next door to them.
Ecotourism is a growing industry these days. And often times it is just a buzz word used by marketers to help ease their guests state of mind, rather than a true vision guiding the industry. So it is fantastic to see a resort properly embracing the true meaning of sustainability.