Eco Rating Prana del Mar

Name of property Prana del Mar Retreat & Wellness Center
Person completing this form Erik Singer
Position Director
Address of property Playas Migriño
Carretera a Todos Santos, km 105
Los Cabos, BCS
Country Mexico
Phone number including country code and area code (415) 310-2909
Web site Prana del Mar
E-mail info1@pranadelmar.com
Type of property Eco-Resort, Yoga Retreat & Spa
Number of rooms or cottages 15
Maximum number of guests 30
Eco memberships
Eco ratings, certifications, awards Eco Tropical Resorts Eco Rating 3.8 out of 5
5 stars by Eco Hotels of the World
  • Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy?     YES/NO

If yes, please attach. NO

  • Do you have a written environmental management system?                  YES/NO

If yes, please attach. NO

  • Describe the property – aim, size, facilities, amount of land owned and leased  (150 words max)

Located on five serene, beachfront acres with the mountains to the east, the Pacific to the west, and the desert all around. Two guest buildings with a total of 8 deluxe guest rooms and 7 guest suites. Community building with full restaurant, swimming pool and hot tub, spa treatment rooms, roof deck, meditation room, and lounges. Additionally, we have a beautiful yoga studio, desert gardens, and a labyrinth.

Our focus is primarily on self-understanding and self-discovery. Most of the programs here are yoga and meditation retreats, yoga vacations, and yoga teacher trainings. We are open to all individuals – beginners or seasoned practitioners.

  • Describe the location, including distance to nearest town and size of town (100 words max) We are located on a serene beach on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico – 20 minutes north of Cabo San Lucas (population 100,000). We are 40 minutes from the quaint artist community of Todos Santos (population 8,000). We are in a very tranquil spot, seemingly isolated from the tourist center, yet still easily accessible.
  • Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort (100 word max)

I had been on a retreat previously and found that it to be a meaningful and potentially transformative experience. I felt that it would be valuable to share the opportunity for this type of experience with others.

Introduction to the Butterfly Club’s Eco Rating

The Butterfly Club Eco Rating has five equally-weighted categories:

  • Energy;
  • Water;
  • Recycling and waste;
  • Land and nature conservation; and
  • Community.

Each category has five levels, designated by one to five butterflies.  Through self assessment, resort operators completing this rating will determine their own levels within each category based on their responses to items listed below.

Two categories – energy and water – have similar rating systems with Levels 1 and 2 addressing conservation of existing resources, and Levels 3, 4 and 5 addressing creation of renewable energy or capturing water.

Level five in every category also requires written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record consumption; (2) test and apply additional conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific targets.   We require a copy of your policies if you achieve level 5 in any category.

Eco Rating Prana del Mar Energy

Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:

__X_  use natural air circulation and fans, not air conditioners
__X_  use natural light during the day
__X_  minimize use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines and equipment
__X_  use “on demand” or solar heating for hot water
___  air dry clothes/linens
__X_  wash dishes by hand
__X_  use energy efficient appliances and electronics
__X_  use low wattage fluorescent or LED light bulbs
__X_  change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request
__X_  switch off lights when not used
Other energy conservation activities? Please list:

All of our electricity is solar-powered – 166 solar panels on the property
Our pool is solar-heated
Our design was with large windows and skylights for natural lighting

Level 1 = four or fewer energy conservation activities

Level 2 = five or more energy conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – renewable energy: Indicate proportion (%) of energy from each source:

_100_  solar
__0_  wind
__0_  hydro
__0_  generator
__0_  public utility
Other energy sources? Please list:

100% TOTAL
How were these proportions developed?

Level 3 = renewable energy is employed and is less than 1/3 of all energy

Level 4 = renewable energy constitutes 1/3 – 2/3 of all energy

Level 5 = renewable energy constitutes 2/3 or more of all energy.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record energy consumption; (2) test and apply additional energy conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific energy targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Energy Level 5 (required).

Your Energy Level (select 1 – 5) = 4

I guess we technically only qualify for level 4 because we don’t have a specific written policy, but all of our electricity is solar-powered. We don’t necessarily need to conserve unless we have several consecutive cloudy days. Our electricity replenishes naturally each day.

We do educate our guests that we are solar-powered and that conservation is important. We’re a small team on the staff so we haven’t codified any specific “policy” – we all know it’s important and act accordingly.  

Eco Rating Prana del Mar Water

Levels 1 and 2 – conservation: Check all that apply:

_X_  low flow faucets and showerheads
__X  low water use toilets
_X_  change linens, towels, tablecloths, and napkins upon request
_X__use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered
__X  use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap
__?   treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes
Other water conservation activities?  Please list.
Our pool is a saltwater pool. Technically, it still uses chlorine because salt is sodium chloride. However, we do not buy or use chlorine itself – just salt. We did not install an ultraviolet light system for our pool because of the electrical demands (and we have limited electricity because we are on solar)

Level 1 = three or fewer water conservation activities

Level 2 = four or more water conservation activities

Levels 3, 4 and 5 – capture and treat fresh water and manage waste water. Capture water: Indicate proportion (%) of water from each source:

__?_  spring
__0_  river
__0_  rain
__?_  reuse gray
__0_  public utility
Other water sources? Please list.

I am not sure how to fill out the above percentages appropriately. Our water comes from our well. From there it is filtered and used for the needs of our guests. Each building has its own wastewater treatment plant that filters black and gray water aerobically. Via these treatment tanks, this water is purified to the point that it can be used for irrigation of our xeriscaped gardens.

100% TOTAL

Fresh water treatment: how is captured fresh water treated?
__X_  naturally.  Indicate method: charcoal, ultraviolet light, other? List:     Charcoal
___  chemically.  List chemicals used:

Waste water management:
___  septic tanks
___  cesspools
__X_  other? List methods:
Aerobic wastewater treatment plants to treat all wastewater and reuse it

Level 3: Water is captured (from springs, rivers, rain or prior use) and constitutes less than 1/3 of water from all sources.  Water is treated chemically.  Water disposal does not minimize damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 4:  Captured water constitutes 1/3 to 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests

Level 5:  Captured water constitutes more than 2/3 of all water.  Water is treated naturally. Water disposal minimizes damage to coral reefs and rain forests.   In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record water consumption; (2) test and apply additional water conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific water targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Water Level 5 (required).

Your Water Level (select 1 – 5): 4

I’m not sure if a well counts as a spring, so I am not sure how to answer this one. All of our water comes from our well. We do monitor our usage, but have no written policy regarding this. Again, we’re a small staff and we know that we have a limited resource in our water supply. We are careful to conserve it and educate our guests about this.

Eco Rating Prana del Mar Recycling and waste

Check all that apply:

_X__   use durable service items, e.g. cups, glasses, dishes, tableware, storage items
_X__   buy fresh and local to reduce packaging and emissions from transportation
__X_   purchase in bulk to reduce packaging
_X__   recycle paper, glass, plastic, aluminum
__X_   minimize emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines & equipment
__X_   zero waste in the kitchen
_X__   serve local water, not bottled water
__X_   cleaning products are biodegradable
__X_   compost organic matter
Other methods to recycle waste? Please list.
Technically, we recycle only glass because that is all that is available to us in our area at the time. Recycling awareness is growing locally, however, and we hope that we will be able to recycle more in the near future.

Not sure what you mean by “local water”. We have 5-gallon plastic jugs that we refill with purified drinking water from local water purifiers. These jugs are reused over and over for years.

We supply every retreat guest with a reusable and refillable stainless steel water bottle – no plastic, single-use containers

All of the personal care products that we offer – shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, and lotion – are organic and distributed in bulk dispensers. No plastic, single-use containers.

Level 1 = four or fewer recycling activities

Level 2 = five recycling activities

Level 3 = six recycling activities

Level 4 = seven recycling activities

Level 5 = eight or more recycling activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record recycling and waste; (2) test and apply additional recycling and waste conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific recycling and waste targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Recycling and Waste Level 5 (required).

Your Recycling and Waste Level (select 1 – 5):  4

Again, I suppose we’re only a 4. We don’t have written policies or tests or targets. We just take the bottles to the glass factory and the kitchen scraps to the compost pile. 

Eco Rating Prana del Mar Land and nature conservation

Check all that apply:

_X__   minimize tree removal when building
__X_   use only botanical (plant-based) herbicides & pesticides in garden & grounds
_X__   maintain organic gardens as food source for resort
__X_   use biodegradable cleaning products
__X_   minimize external illumination
__X_   take additional specific actions to preserve the local habitat.
__X_   Landscaping with native plants
Please list actions
and projects:
Level 1: one or two land and nature conservation activities

Level 2: three land and nature conservation activities

Level 3: four land and nature conservation activities

Level 4: five land and nature conservation activities

Level 5: six or more land and nature conservation activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record land and nature conservation activities; (2) test and apply additional land and nature conservation methods; and (3) work towards specific land and nature conservation targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Land and Nature Conservation Level 5 (required).

Your Land and Nature Conservation Level (select 1 – 5): 4

Level 4, unless the environmental impact statement (MIA) and forestry preservation and relocation plan (ETJ) that we did before construction count. Those were federal requirements and are in Spanish, but I can send them to you if you like.

Eco Rating Prana del Mar Community

This category addresses policies and activities regarding staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the community.

Check all activities that apply:

__X_  hire staff residing near the resort          _100__% local nationals
__X_  use local suppliers                                _?_% purchased goods produced locally
___  re-invest resort income locally            ___% income re-invested locally
__X_  pay above local prevailing wage
__X_  pay into local social security
__X_  provide health insurance or coverage
__X_  use regular staff meetings to educate staff about sustainable processes throughout the resort, in the garden, with waste disposal, etc
__X_  provide educational awareness programs for staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the local community
___  provide sustainable transport to work for staff
___  take additional specific actions to support the local community. Please list actions and projects.
___  Have enrolled your staff in any personal green training/certification schemes such as ecohelpline.com green leaf certification.

Level 1: one or two community activities

Level 2: three to five community activities

Level 3: six to seven community activities

Level 4: eight to nine community activities

Level 5: ten or more community activities.  In addition, there are written sustainability policies or environmental management systems to: (1) monitor and record community activities; (2) test and apply additional methods to support the community; and (3) work towards specific community targets.

Attach a copy of your policies if you achieve Community Level 5 (required).

Your Community Level (select 1 – 5): 3

We do use local suppliers for most things that are available and are good quality here. In truth, a lot of things here are produced on the mainland or in the US, so to say that many of them are truly local would be disingenuous. I guess we’re probably a 3 on this one.

YOUR OVERALL ECO SCORE (add your level for each category and divide by 5and enter the result with the decimal point, e.g. 3.6):  3.8

We have three final questions which are not part of the eco rating: 

  • Please describe your single most important eco achievement:

Designing, configuring, installing, and managing the solar power systems

  • Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months.

We set up the solar-power systems such that excess electrical power could be used to heat water, but I need installation assistance to complete this part of the wiring process. We’re also adding more solar collectors to heat the pool.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?

Our sheets, bath towels, and bath mats are organic
The floor of our 1850 square foot yoga studio is strand-woven bamboo
We do not use paper towels or napkins – all are cloth
We use rechargeable batteries wherever possible
If a guest purchases carbon offsets for his/her flight, we will credit that amount toward a massage/spa treatment, surf lesson, or other excursion