June 6, 2008

Eco-Luxury Hotel for the Bahamas’ Star Island

by Cate Trotter

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Next year, eco-luxe travel will get a new destination with the opening of a new five-star resort for Star Island in the Bahamas. In and among diving, playing tennis and drinking a cocktail or two, holidaymakers will discover that the resort is entirely energy self-sufficient, with power coming from solar, wind and micro-hydro generators. And, that the sustainability aspects of the resort’s construction, interior and grounds have also been considered in impressive detail.

Unless guests take an active interest in sustainability issues, they’d never know they were taking a greener holiday. The luxury resort is a 10-minute boat ride from Harbour Island, near Eleuthera, and combines private homes, resort residences and bungalows with leisure facilities like a spa, restaurants, bars, pools and a “no fuel” marina. Guests can get in touch with nature through outdoor activities such as diving, sailing and deep-sea fishing.

Hot on the heels of the resort’s luxury credentials comes its focus on sustainability. Architect David Sklar says the project is an experimental ground for the latest eco-technologies and materials, hoping to set an example for the resort industry. The building’s structure is designed to meet or exceed LEED requirements, through the use of materials such as cold formed steel (CFS), a mostly recycled material which relies on its manufacturing process to give it the same strength as virgin steel. The heat-free manufacturing process also reduces its carbon footprint. Additionally, construction time, shipping demands and waste are reduced through the use of insulated concrete forms – lightweight forms that are filled with concrete on site.

Inside the resort, LED lighting and geothermal HVAC has been employed. Water is provided by the rainwater harvesting system that takes advantage of every surface from roofs to roads, up to 100,000 gallons a day of which is then purified and stored underground. Smaller details have also been considered, meaning guests can enjoy shade-grown organic coffee in the restaurant, relax on fair-trade furniture in the lobby and rest their bones on rapidly renewable-bamboo sheets.

The hotel is located on 35 acres of land, designed to favor native species to minimize irrigation and the need for chemical fertilizers. Plants are largely fed with the compostable waste created by the hotel. Any other waste is recycled or converted to energy and fuel.

+ Star Island Bahamas

Via Jamble Magazine

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4 Responses to “Eco-Luxury Hotel for the Bahamas’ Star Island”

hmmarquard Says:

This looks great but I am kind of disappointed that “unless guests take an active interest in sustainability issues” they’re not really going to get the picture of where they’re staying and what makes it nice. When did it become wrong to try and teach people about a different way of life? Why does “luxury” always have to be tied to frivolous excesses and mass amounts of waste? Seems a shame to spend all this effort to green this resort and then keep it a well-hidden secret from the hoity-toities going there who, if no one has noticed, have started jumping out of their Hummers and onto the sustainability bandwagon faster than you can say “green”.

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Eco freindly? Just look at the eco friendly scar on the face Mr. Sklar has left us with on Eleuthera. He started a vision called Sky Beach on the island. It now looks like a quarry. All vegetation was stripped, when it rains there are mud slides that cover the roads leaving traffic stuck in mud and sliding out of control. It will take 20 years to put back the vegetation that was strip mined from our island. I can only judge a person by their actions and all the fancy web sites in the world will not hide what he has done to our island. The Sky Beach web site shows lush vegetation, the reality is bare limestone rock, not one inch of sub soil left. Time will tell, but I don\’t see Mr. Sklar as a very eco friendly person.

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wklopf Says:

We have a lot on Greater Abaco. We want to use insulated concrete forms. Does the Bahamian government give any tax credits for building with energy conservation in mind?

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It is a good thing that developers are starting to work with the environment…for whatever reason. I also like the idea of targetting upper-class tourists for the sake of spreading the idea of sustainability, as they do set the trends. However, considering a larger context of things may weaken the claimed degree of sustainability of this development; do people have to travel by air to this development from far-away sites, how sustainable is this if they are encouraged by a marketing campaign to travel 5000 miles to spend a few green days? Is the island better off ecologically after the development?

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