Eco Rating Buena Vista Surf Club

Name of property Buena Vista Surf Club
Person completing this form Marc Krop
Position Owner & Manager
Address of property Playa Maderas, San Juan Del Sur
Country Nicaragua
Phone number including country code and area code (505)88634180
Web site Buena Vista Surf Club
E-mail info@buenavistasurfclub.com
Type of property Lodge
Number of rooms or cottages 4
Maximum number of guests 8-10
Eco memberships
Eco ratings, certifications, awards Eco Rating at Eco Tropical Resorts: 4 out of 5.
  • Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy?    NO

If yes, please attach.

  • Do you have a written environmental management system?                  NO

If yes, please attach.

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

Intimate design eco-lodge at Playa Maderas, San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
Surf the great waves, enjoy great home cooked dinners with new friends, relax at our spacious sundeck and watch the wildlife from your treehouse!

We own 7000sqm of land, where we have a small eco lodge. We live in the lodge as well. There are 4 guestrooms with private bathrooms, there’s 100sqm sundeck overlooking the jungle & ocean. There’s a communal area where guests have breakfast, dinners & drinks.

  • Describe the location, including distance to nearest town and size of town (100 words max) The property is located on a small hill behind the Pacific Ocean (300m approx). It’s 8kms to San Juan Del Sur, the nearest real town (14.000 inhabitants). To get here you’ll need a 4×4 because there’s no paved roads.
  • Describe WHY you made the decision to develop an eco resort (100 word max).

We wanted to live & work close to nature and be self sustainable. We also like the idea to make people realize again that electricity, water, etc. should not be taken for granted like people (incl. Us) from civilized countries often do, because everything is available and you don’t need to do any efforts to get it.

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 Buena Vista Surf Club Energy

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

Yes-  use natural air circulation and fans, not air conditioners
Yes- use natural light during the day
Yes-  minimize use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines and equipment
Yes-  use “on demand” or solar heating for hot water. Only hot water in our own room, heated by the sun in black pipes.
Yes- air dry clothes/linens
Yes- wash dishes by hand
Yes- use energy efficient appliances and electronics
Yes- use low wattage fluorescent light bulbs
Yes- change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request
Yes- switch off lights when not used
Other energy conservation activities? Please list:
We only have electricity at night, during the day it’s switched off
Our fridges are on propane.

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:

95% solar
_  wind
___  hydro
5%  generator
___  public utility
Other energy sources? Please list:

100% TOTAL
How were these proportions developed?
We use solar power as the main electricity source. We have a back up generator, which, we use to back up the solar system if needed (so far hardly) and to pump up water from our well (solar doesn’t do 220v to well)

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).

We don’t know what to attach here. Since we’re so small and we monitor usage ourselves. The solar system provides all electricity. All lamps are low wattage, we are not using any tools or machines that consume a lot of power (toasters, etc). Our fridges run on propane, etc.

Your Energy Level (select 1 – 5) =   4

Eco Rating Buena Vista Surf Club Water

 

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

Yes-  low flow faucets and showerheads
Yes- low water use toilets
Yes- change linens, towels, tablecloths, and napkins upon request
Yes- use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered
Yes-  use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap. 75%
Yes- treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes. We have no swimming pool!
Other water conservation activities?  Please list.
Our garden consists of mostly native plants and plants that are able to survive in drought.

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.
We have our own artesian well, which we use 100% as our primary water source. The dry season here is too long (6 months) to keep water reserves.
The rain water goes back into the ground and filters back in our well eventually.
Water from outdoor showers is reused for watering plants

100% TOTAL

Fresh water treatment: how is captured fresh water treated?
___  naturally.  Indicate method: charcoal, ultraviolet light, other? List:
___  chemically.  List chemicals used: Ocassional some chlorine to prevent alges in the tanks & pipes
We don’t treat our water. It goes straight from our well into storage tanks and back into the pipes to the rooms, etc.

Waste water management:
Yes-  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): 4

Eco Rating Buena Vista Surf Club Recycling and waste

Check all that apply:

Yes-   use durable service items, e.g. cups, glasses, dishes, tableware, storage items
Yes-  buy fresh and local to reduce packaging and emissions from transportation
Yes-   purchase in bulk to reduce packaging
Yes  recycle paper, glass, plastic, aluminum Only Plastic & Tin are being recycled in Nicaragua
Yes-  minimize emissions from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines & equipment
Yes-  zero waste in the kitchen
No-   serve local water, not bottled water.  Local water is not suitable for drinking
Yes/No   cleaning products are biodegradable. Not all of them
No  compost organic matter. Not yet due to smell, our dogs, etc. There will be a communal organic composting site, which we’ll be able to use in the near future.
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): 4  

Eco Rating Buena Vista Surf Club Land and nature conservation

Check all that apply:

Yes-  minimize tree removal when building
Yes-  use only botanical (plant-based) herbicides & pesticides in garden & grounds
Yes-   maintain organic gardens as food source for resort. Due to land crabs most of the real vegetables can’t be grown without interfering with the wildlife. We however planted fruit trees (citrus, Papaya, etc) & herbs, which we should be able to use in the near future.
Yes/No-   use biodegradable cleaning products. Not all of them
Yes-  minimize external illumination
Yes   take additional specific actions to preserve the local habitat.  Please list actions and projects:
We plant and have planted tons of new trees, plants, etc
We make sure that the monkeys are able to move freely between the trees and we make sure their paths are not obstructed by cutting branches, etc. We put ropes where needed.
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 Buena Vista Surf Club Community

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

Check all activities that apply:

Yes-  hire staff residing near the resort          75% local nationals, we ( owners Marielle and Marc) are the other 25%
Yes- use local suppliers                                90% purchased goods produced locally
Yes- re-invest resort income locally             70% income re-invested locally
Yes-  pay above local prevailing wage
Yes- pay into local social security
Yes- provide health insurance or coverage
No-  use regular staff meetings to educate staff about sustainable processes throughout the resort, in the garden, with waste disposal, etc. Not, yet, but this is a good plan!
No-  provide educational awareness programs for staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the local community. Not, yet, but this is a good plan!
Yes- provide sustainable transport to work for staff. They walk or ride a bike!
Yes- take additional specific actions to support the local community. Please list actions and projects. We donate money to local sports teams, projects, schools, etc.

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

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

  • Please describe your single most important eco achievement:

That we’ve been able to become a self sustainable & eco lodge in a country where this has never been a top priority and where it’s already hard to achieve basic things.

  • Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months.
  • Increase solar system, so we only need to run the generator for back up anmd not for water pumping anymore
  • Prepare an educational awareness programs for guests & staff
  • Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?

We think it would be good to keep in mind that there needs to be a good balance between being able to run a (profitable) business and being 100% eco. However since we’re so small we’ve been able to do so.