Eco Rating Black Rock Lodge

Name of property BLACK ROCK LODGE
Person completing this form Kelley Boyd
Position Owner
Address of property Negroman Area, Cayo District – physical address
PO Box 121, San Ignacio – mailing address
Country Belize
Phone number including country code and area code 011-501-820-4049
Web site Black Rock Lodge
E-mail blackrock@blackrocklodge.com
Type of property Eco-Lodge
Number of rooms or cottages 13
Maximum number of guests 50
Eco memberships
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

If yes, please attach.

  • Do you have a written environmental management system?                  YES

If yes, please attach.

Describe the property

Black Rock Lodge is a 240+ acre rainforest property with 13 cabins, onsite restaurant plus onsite tours & activities.
The Lodge’s passionate commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable operation is evident in every aspect of a guest’s stay with us.
Our electricity is supplied by a custom hybrid system consisting of micro-hydro and solar power and we practice energy conservation throughout the Lodge. 100% of our water use is supplied by a nearby mountain spring and the Lodge is able to reduce water use through the installation of water conserving appliances. In addition, the wastewater from our staff quarters is processed through a “constructed wetland” which uses plants and aerobic activity to more completely clean the water.  We complement our delicious restaurant fare with fresh, organic fruits grown on site and use the compost from our restaurant to fertilize the garden.
Guests wouldn’t necessarily be aware that the Lodge is run on clean, alternative energy as electricity is ample and offered 24/7.  However, we strive to incorporate environmental conservation and ecological awareness into every aspect of guests’ stays with us – whether it’s through meals prepared with home-grown produce from our garden, taking a tour of the power system, meeting and getting to know the Belizean staff, learning about the local flora and fauna from our trained guides, or being introduced to the native materials used to build and sustain the lodge.

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

Black Rock is nestled in the dense rainforest above the Macal River in the Mayan Mountains of Belize, 2.5 hours west of Belize City, 12 miles south of San Ignacio.

  • Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort (100 word max)

We traveled to BRL as guests in January, 2007 from our other eco-lodge in Quintana Roo, Mexico.  www.cesiak.org.   We found BRL’s website online because it had advertised as being 100% off grid and powered by solar and micro-hydro power.  We were curious about BRL’s operation and conservation ethos – Cesiak runs on solar and wind power and we knew how demanding, (and rewarding!), running a lodge off-grid with clean, alternative energy could be. Plus, we were fascinated by BRL’s pristine location and adventure opportunities.

We discovered that the synchronicity between Cesiak and BRL was uncanny.  They are entirely different topographically and geographically, but they share a dedication to active adventure travel with a minimal environmental footprint and maximum enjoyment of the stunning surroundings and culture.

Guests have the opportunity to experience a perspective-shifting vacation in one of the most beautiful locations in Belize.    Black Rock is not a typical, one-dimensional destination…but rather an experience that strives to offer guests a multi-layered immersion in the environment, culture, and tradition of Belize.  In addition, the ecological conservation ethos of the lodge infuses each guest’s stay with the knowledge that we can enjoy Belize’s natural gifts while also conserving and preserving its beauty and resources for future generations.

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 Black Rock Lodge 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
_x__  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:
SEE ATTACHED

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:

_5%-8%_  solar
___  wind
_92%-95%__  micro-hydro
___  generator – back-up emergency use
___  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) =   5

Eco Rating Black Rock Lodge 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
___use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered
_x_  use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap
N/A__  treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes
Other water conservation activities?  Please list.
SEE ATTACHED

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:

100%_  spring
___  river
___  rain
___  reuse gray
___  public utility
Other water sources? Please list.

100% TOTAL

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

Waste water management:
_x__  septic tanks – for older cabins, these are slowly being phased out in favor of artificial waste wetland treatment systems
___  cesspools
_x__  other? List methods:
Artifiical waste wetland treatment systems (see attached)

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 Black Rock Lodge 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 + REUSE paper, glass, plastic, aluminum
___   minimize emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines & equipment
___   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.

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 Black Rock Lodge Land and nature conservation

Check all that apply:
_x__   minimize tree removal when building
___   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
___   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

Eco Rating Black Rock Lodge 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          90% local nationals
_x__  use local suppliers                                _95% 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
___  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
__x_  take additional specific actions to support the local community. Please list actions and projects.
We take great pride in supporting these communities through various donation and outreach programs.  Examples of organizations that the Lodge supports are:

Belize Audubon Society
Stann Creek Ecumenical College
La Ruta Maya Canoe Race
Belize Defense Force (BDF)
Cayo Tour Guide Association
Remar International
A Hospital Without Walls
Angel Says Read
Cristo Rey Women’s Group
Hand In Hand
Belize Bank
Belize Cycling Association

___  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): 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:

Educating guests about the conservation and environmentally sustainable aspects of the Lodge’s operation so that they become aware of the possibilities of eco-tourism both abroad during their travels, at when they return to their home countries.  And infusing their experience of Belize with a friendly, adventurous, sustainable atmosphere.

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

We are working on continuing to convert the existing septic systems into constructed waste wetland treatment  systems and installing more solar hot-water heater systems throughout the lodge.

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