Green Globe GOLD certified Blue Horizons Garden Resort in Morne Rouge, St Georges, Grenada, has been addressing environmental management at its property for more than 15 years. The resort was recently awarded third place in the Sustainability Category at the CHIEF Awards.
The property has over the past decade or so recognized the need to act responsibly as a member of the travel and tourism sector and in so doing has sought to have a holistic approach to environmental concerns and sustainability.
Central to this viewpoint are the prevailing issues on Climate Change and Global Warming which have become more pronounced over the years, prompting the resort to examine its operations and to address these problems in a more comprehensive manner. Rather than address just the sources at the facility that contribute to carbon emissions, the enhancement of sinks for absorbing carbon are seen as equally important at this beautiful garden covered property.
Since March 2014, Mr. Arnold Hopkin Owner and Managing Director of the resort has upgraded existing gardens by adding over 340 new green spaces and planting approximately 13,100 ornamental and drought resistant shrubs, flowers and trees over the 6¼ acre grounds This coupled with the preservation of the strand of trees on the brow of the hill, covering some 6 acres, has ensured that existing CO2 sinks were enhanced to increase the uptake of emissions. It is suggested that one acre of trees absorbs up to 100m tons of carbon per year, while grassed and shrub covered areas absorb carbon at a lower rate of 48mT per annum, still an effective part of the equation.
On the other side of the equation, there are actions which will reduce the emissions. Over time there has been the introduction of solar water heaters, energy efficient appliances, air conditioning units with inverter technology and solar streetlamps which have all reduced the reliance on grid electricity. This response also made good economic sense and it is a smart sustainable choice. Most recently, at the beginning of 2019, Blue Horizons invested in photovoltaic technology. The latest addition has been the installation of a 30kVa system with an output of approximately 110kWh per day of clean, green energy which is utilized by the property before eliciting any additional power from the national grid. The property continues to find new ways to maximize and utilize green energy as a first choice.
Mrs Hopkin Stewart, Deputy Managing Director at the property explains, “Over the past six years, great efforts have been made at the property as it advances toward becoming carbon neutral. In regard to electrical energy utilized from the grid – from 2012 to 2017, Blue Horizons saw a 50% reduction in the amount of energy consumed and a 65% improvement in the associated energy usage indicator which takes occupancy into account.”
Further Green Actions
In keeping with restoring the balance and having positive impacts on the environment, the property seeks to encourage awareness of the importance of plants and biodiversity. Trained resort staff conduct garden tours while bird specialists assist on bird watching tours to highlight the significance of plant-life as sustenance and habitats for fauna.
Recognizing that the strategy requires both management and technology and in an effort to share the vision, Mr. Hopkin continues to use the Green Globe Standard principles that focus on training staff coupled with coaching on best practices. Training is conducted annually so that staff are kept abreast of developments in environment and sustainability issues both specific to the industry, as well as, wider world viewpoints. Sharing best practice ethics in staff members’ personal lives, extend beyond the work environment for application in their homes and also, the wider community.
The guests that share in this experience are truly escaping to a respite from the world where they can restore their inner balance as well as gain a greater appreciation for the environment. They also have the opportunity to benefit from great cuisine based on farm to table, and art which engages the senses gives the best of both worlds – nature and nurture.
As persons become aware of how successful this approach is, it is hoped that the example of this small property will set the trend across the region. Altogether, these small actions will make a big difference to not only people in Grenada but in the world at large.
Kendra Hopkin Stewart (Mrs.)
Deputy Managing Director
Blue Horizons Garden Resort
P.O Box 41, St George’s
Grenada, West Indies