Costa Rica is a pioneer when it comes to eco-tourism, utilising its natural wonders for its travel industry without any sacrifices. Aside from highlighting natural wonders like falls, beaches, rainforests and protected wildlife for attractions, retreats are common in Costa Rica. Individuals into green living flock to this booming tourism destination to rejuvenate, relax and commune with Mother Nature.
With eco-tourism under its wing, it is not surprising that Costa Rica also led the way to green building. Architects and engineers revamped their creations for “green” buildings, adapting to nature while restoring and protecting it. Costa Rica is part of the World Green Building Council and its local Costa Rica Green Building Council is one of the most productive non-profit organisations in the country.
“Green” Form and Function
Building sustainable buildings are commonly used in establishments for tourism. Eco-retreats do not just settle with serving organic food to their guests but pampering them in a green accommodation. Now called “eco-resorts” or “eco-lodges”, they are conceptualised to maximise the benefits of Mother Nature. Man now goes back to nature and we must work in harmony.
For a tropical country like Costa Rica, ventilation is a major concern. Air conditioning eats up to 60% of the total energy cost not to mention the little discomfort among guests especially during summer season. Hence, green architects and engineers create buildings that promote ventilation “naturally”. High ceilings and sliding doors can promote ventilation. Resort rooms and suites have porches or use the shade of trees to hide from direct sunlight. Open-air areas not only make use of the stunning ocean views but also promote natural ventilation. Other resorts like those in Central Valley are sited towards the prevailing northeast winds while hiding from direct sunlight.
Some resorts in Costa Rica make use of water catchment – rainwater is channelled to a storage tank for future use. These water catchments can be underground or just hidden from plan view. Septic or blackwater treatment systems are also new ways to recycle and conserve water.
Other than these green-friendly designs, green building also include materials. From environment-friendly bamboo to responsibly-logged wood for construction. These are just some of the green building practices in Costa Rica that every country should follow. Eco-tourism can even be holistic if you stay in an Earth-friendly resort for your vacation.
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