Eco Rating Balamku

Name of property Balamku Inn on the Beach
Person completing this form Carol Tumber
Position owner
Address of property 5.6 kms south Beach Road
Mahahual
Country Mexico
Phone number including country code and area code 521 9838395332
Web Site Balamku Inn on the Beach
E-mail information@balamku.com
Type of property eco resort
Number of rooms or cottages 10
Maximum number of guests 30
Eco memberships TIES   Planeta
Eco ratings, certifications, awards Eco Rating at Eco Tropical Resorts: 4.6 out of 5.

Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy?     YES/NO
If yes, please attach.

Do you have a written environmental management system?                        YES/NO
If yes, please attach.

Describe the property – aim, size, facilities, amount of land owned and leased  (150 words max) Balamku is a unique beach resort with all facilities sitting within 30 meters of the Sea. Our 113 meters of beach front  ( 90 meters deep) gives ample room for guests to find quiet places to hammock and sit. We have a large palapa for yoga and groups as well as small palapitas for shade on the beach. There is a main building with restaurant and lounge area for guests to read, play games eat and relax. Natural gardens create beautiful spaces around the property and a  fence of palapa sticks gives a sense of privacy.
The property is owned by our Mexican corporation . The total size is one hectare

Describe the location, including distance to nearest town and size of town (100 words max)

Balamku is 5.6 kms south of Mahahual, a small fishing village with about 500 people. In town, there are many local restaurants and shops that provide food for the visitors to our area.
Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort (100 word max)
We are fortunate to have been able to buy, build and live right on the beach and it is our responsibility to protect the sea and our land. We decided to build around all the trees so none were cut down for our buildings. With the sea so close, we decided a septic tank system for grey and black water was not an alternative as leaching into the sea and mangroves would occur.  There is no access south of town for electricity or water, so it became our choice to develop a system of solar and wind and water that creates energy and manages water without using the typical diesel generators and septic tanks which pollute and are noisy.
Our systems are unique in this area and we are well known for them.
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 Balamku 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 light bulbs
_x__  change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request
_x__  switch off lights when not used
Other energy conservation activities? Please list:

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:

_75__  solar
_25__  wind
___  hydro
___  generator
___  public utility
Other energy sources? Please list: we have a back up propane (clean) generator that is rarely used unless the batteries need equalizing

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) =    5

Eco Rating Balamku 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.
Low flush composting toilets ( 1 pint per flush instead of 1 gallon in normal toilet), constructed wetlands for grey water that keeps all water out of land. Black water is contained and used for large trees in garden.
Rain water collection on 2 rooftops provides us with sufficient water for about 1/2 year. 2 large sisterns are used: 60,000 litres and 100,000 litres
2 wells are used for watering plants but NOT in the rooms .

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
___  river
_x__  rain
__x_  reuse gray
___  public utility
Other water sources? Please list.     well water for plants

100% TOTAL

Fresh water treatment: how is captured fresh water treated?
__x_  naturally.  Indicate method: charcoal, ultraviolet light, other? List:        filtered through sand and gravel
___  chemically.  List chemicals used:

Waste water management:
___  septic tanks
___  cesspools
___  other? List methods:

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):  5

Eco Rating Balamku 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
___   zero waste in the kitchen
___   serve local water, not bottled water
__x_   cleaning products are biodegradable
_x__   compost organic matter
Other methods to recycle waste? Please list.  Waste from composting toilet: after approx. 3 years, the material is well composted and used to enrich gardens with non-food producing plants. All dead leaves from trees are used in the composting units.

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):  5

Eco Rating Balamku 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.  Please list actions and projects:  Cuttings from existing plants are propagated to create more vegetation and flowering plants. Replanting of baby plants create new gardens. we grow plants from watermelon, papaya and cantaloupe seeds.
Use sea grass from beach by leaving for 3 years ;then when ready we use as fill in gardens.

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

Eco Rating Balamku 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                                __100_% purchased goods produced locally
__x  re-invest resort income locally            __25_% income locally in paying staff
___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
__x_  provide sustainable transport to work for staff
___x  take additional specific actions to support the local community. Please list actions and projects.
We are fortunate to receive donations from Guests to use appropriately in the school and health clinic here. We have built a home for the teachers, provided computers for 3 classrooms and regularly donate school supplies and books. The group is not only Balamku but involves women from the area who work and live here: the Mahahualanias. Every year we host a marathon for the children and a Christmas party for the families (gifts and photos with Santa) The health clinic can count on us , through a client, for such items as a wheel chair for a disabled boy; free eye examination for all including glasses; hearing clinic and even a vet service for spaying dogs and cats. These are just some of the activities we are involved with on a financial and supportive nature. At present, we are working on a  playground for the children and bleachers for the sports field.

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):  4

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): 4.6
We have three final questions which are not part of the eco rating: 

Please describe your single most important eco achievement:
We believe our composting toilet system is the most important part of our eco work as septic tanks leak and flow into the sea creating pollution and eventual  killing of the coral reef directly in front of our area. Also, septic tanks leak into the fresh water table which is only 25 feet deep which is an important water exchange for the reef and mangroves. If black water pollutes the fresh water table, the use of this water is dangerous as well for people in the area who count on their wells for water.

Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months.
We are adding a second wind generator. We have a soft water system, a series of tanks, that we are going to use to purify the well water . Also investigating a shredder so we can use dead wood .
Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?
We provide tours to our guests on our systems and encourage new home owners to follow some of our practices.