We received an email from a guest a few weeks ago that had a glorious letter attached. One of our guests has recommended Casa de las Olas for Leed Certification, an environmental certification for our villa’s environmental and sustainable building practices. WOW! This certification was developed by the US green Building Council in 2000 and only has 21 Mexican based businesses certified, with only one business categorized as Platinum. Well there will be two Platinum businesses in Mexico soon as the villa scored 90/100 in the application process!
What is LEED certification?
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. It is internationally recognized and provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Highlights that prove the sustainable development of the villa
The cover letter submitted by our guest sums up our beliefs and commitment to sustainable building and sustainable tourism and sustainable building practices.
The application highlights:
Integrated Pest Management, Erosion Control and Landscape Management Plan: Our on-going gardening is working and the dune will not experience erosion due to the garden that continues to thrive at Casa de las Olas.
Site Development – Protect or Restore Open Habitat: This was too long to share, but we are very proud to know that our efforts to protect and restore open habitat was recognized.
Water Efficient Landscaping: Gray water is used to irrigate the many indigenous plant species on the property.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Performance: Scored very high for this!
On-site and Off-site Renewable Energy and Emission Reduction: Casa de las Olas is 100 percent solar powered (3,000) watts. It is backed up with a 5k Honda generator and supplemented with solar powered flashlights when necessary.
Sustainable Purchasing – Ongoing Consumables: All soaps and shampoos are bio-degradable and locally produced. All food is purchased within 100 mile radius of the site. All lighting fixtures, furniture and décor items were created by local Mayan craftsmen.
Solid Waste Management: Food waste is collected and composted on a daily basis. Seaweed is raked and composted on a daily basis. Staff encourages a high level of reuse and recycling on the property.
Green Cleaning – Sustainable Cleaning Equipment: All cleaning is conducted by hand and green cleaning products are bought locally for all property cleaning.
Innovation in Operations: Irrigation water is also produced through the bio-generator septic system that screens all the waste to create usable gray water. The site has been maintained and restored with indigenous plant species. Plant propagation is practiced through cutting of these native plants. Restoration of the dunes and stabilization of other areas of erosion on the property were achieved with the propagated plants. The Mexican Caribbean coastline is pristinely preserved with daily removal of the garbage that accumulates.
Innovation in Operations #2: Casa de las Olas has 100 percent natural ventilation. The design of the structure incorporates passive air flow within voids constructed in the structures walls. Casa de las Olas is completely cooled and heated naturally by the sun, sea, and wind, which does not impact ozone depletion or climate change.
Sustainable building practices are achievable!
The best part about this application is that we can share what we have done to make Casa de las Olas a sustainable building in the heart of Tulum, Mexico. As we continue to incorporate more projects and refine the building and guest services to reflect our desire to be sustainable in all areas, we will share our stories. The new herb garden is coming along and the organic waste program that we have in the villa has enabled this herb garden to become reality.
We have clearly outlined our policy on sustainable development and sustainable tourism on our website. Feel free to read through how we build upon our sustainable practices in all four areas of sustainability: environment, people, economics and culture.
if you are curious about LEED and what they do listen to the video about the organization.