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 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.