Eco Rating Casa Del Caballo Blanco

Name of property Casa del Caballo Blanco, LLC (CDCB)
Person completing this form Vance G. Benté
Position
Address of property 3 Bullet Tree Road
San Ignacio, Cayo
Country Belize, CA
Phone number including country code and area code In Belize 011 501 824 2098
In US 001 707 974 4942
Web site Casa Del Caballo Blanco
E-mail Jodi@casacaballolblanco.com
Type of property Eco-lodge and avian rehabilitation and release facility
Number of rooms or cottages 5 rooms w/en-suite bathrooms
Maximum number of guests 15
Eco memberships Eco-Index Rainforest Alliance
Eco ratings, certifications, awards In Process with Alianza Verde (Green Deal)
Butterfly Club Eco Rating: 4.6 out of 5.

 

 

  • Do you have a written environmental or social sustainability policy?     YES/NO

If yes, please attach.  Social Sustainability is addressed through General Policies (Section 020) and Human Resources (Section 030) policies. Environmental policies are inter-related and inter-dependent among all of the CDCB/CASA policies. Policies referenced here are part of a very lengthy Policies and Procedures Manual that is updated on a routine basis (130+ pages), Table of Contents is attached along with selected P&P; there is a corresponding Health and Safety Manual, that is an Annex to the P&P which contains a substantial section on general health and safety, 20+ Safety Standards ranging from Biological Threats to Heat Stress, and Emergency Plans for Fire and Hurricane.

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

If yes, please attach.  Yes, Please see Environmental Conservation Section of CDCB P&P, and related P&P.

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

CDCB is a small, intimate retreat for travellers interested in bio-diversity conservation, volun-tourism, and avi-tourism, located on a 23-acre parcel of which 16 acres are a preserve and the site of the Tz’unuun Trail.  Once an abandoned ranchito, the property, which is host to Casa Avian Support Alliance, LLC NGO (an ex-situ bio-diversity conservation facility), serves as a demonstration project emphasizing how “island” environments such as the habitat restoration area, can provide suitable habitant for a wide range of wildlife.  CDCB consists of 6 casitas, with towering thatched roofs, en-suite bathrooms (hot/cold water), a large, private dining room where Mayan, Mestizo and Creole foods characterize the daily menu; and a large meeting room known as La Sala – all of which are situated in a hacienda-like setting with architecture and appointments that celebrate the Hispanic influence of Central America.

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

CDCB is located on the north-facing slopes of the Mopan River Valley, with an inspiring view of the mountains in adjacent Guatemala and the expansive Mer de Verde, the Green Ocean.  Prevailing breezes throughout the day and evening provide natural cooling and contribute to the comfort of the location.
The 23-acre site is located 1.3 miles west of San Ignacio Town, and 20 minutes from the Guatemalan border.  The property’s location in this natural setting, but only a few minutes from town is ideal – providing our guests convenient access to local activities while enjoying the “bush’ experience.

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

CDCB was developed to provide the principal support for Casa Avian Support Alliance (NGO in central America, and 501(c)(3) in the United States), an ex-situ bio-diversity conservation facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of avian wildlife, and to educate nationals and visitors alike as to the need for bio-diversity conservation and sustainability in the Americas.

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.

CDCB and CASA do not meet level 5 requirements – but they do have policies and practice each of the three measures described above.

Eco Rating Casa Del Caballo Blanco 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 – 4 used on site but not exclusive
__X_  air-dry clothes/linens Use air-drying when weather permits, hi-efficiency commercial dryer – propane powered
__X_  wash dishes by hand
__X_  use energy efficient appliances and electronics
__X_  use low wattage fluorescent light bulbs Have but are curtailing due to disposal issues that are more serious that energy usage
__X_  change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request Linens changed on request, housekeeping leaves a tent card on the bed to remind guests of this policy.
__X_  switch off lights when not used
Other energy conservation activities? Please list: Strategically placed signage in each room reminds guests to turn off lights and fans when leaving the room.

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:

__15  solar Construction planning relative to structure placement, orientation, and use of windows to maximize lighting
__15_ wind Construction planning to maximize use of prevailing wind for cooling of Casitas and La Sala
___     hydro
__10_  generator Propane powered back-up generator
__60_  public utility
Other energy sources? Please list:

100% TOTAL
How were these proportions developed?  Municipal electricity is used only for night lighting, and appliances (e.g., large capacity commercial refrigerator, computer and fans) when required; and for medical facility as required.  Proportions were developed using a baseline assumption that comforts and necessities, i.e., lighting and cooling, absent thoughtful planning and reliance on natural sources would necessarily rely on municipal energy sources, and then estimating the amount of municipal energy that is unused given the alternative reliance on natural sources, i.e., cooling from prevailing wind as opposed to air conditioning and natural sunlight versus artificial light.

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  Given the premise stated above it is estimated that CDCB/CASA reduces the reliance on municipally energy supply by  30-40%  Electrical use is recorded on a twice daily basis and analyzed monthly to evaluate use relative to guest nights and activities, as part of the Resource Conservation and Monitoring policy (070.050)

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

Eco Rating Casa Del Caballo Blanco 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.  Tent cards in each room as mentioned above.
___use tablemats that can be wiped and not laundered
__X  use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap as available
__  treat swimming pool with chlorine-free processes
Other water conservation activities?  Please list.

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 wastewater. Capture water: Indicate proportion (%) of water from each source:

___  spring
_ River
__16.5  rain   5,280 gallon capacity concrete reservoir and 2000 gal tank capture water from Bird Intake building and Caretaker’s Home respectively; water is for the exclusive use of gardens, animals and avian rehabilitation facility
_16.5  reuse gray  Soak-away positioned to provide run-off to habitat restoration area
__66  public utility  Assumes that captured rainwater and gray water irrigation offsets usage by 33%
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:
a. Settlement –  water not used directly for human consumption
___  chemically.  List chemicals used:

Waste water management:
__X_  septic tanks Leading to soak-aways, that then irrigates the habitat restoration area
___  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
Water use is monitored on a twice-daily basis, and numerous efforts are in place to conserve water, wastewater is treated naturally with septic tanks and soak-aways and gray water from these features is a source of nutrients and water for the habitat restoration area.  Monitoring of usage and proper function of the septics and soak-aways are addressed at 070.050 Energy and Resource Conservation.

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 Casa Del Caballo Blanco 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, and aluminium
___   minimize emissions from fossil fuel powered vehicles, machines & equipment
___   zero waste in the kitchen
___   serve local water, not bottled water – Supply stainless steel bottles to guests to avoid using plastic bottle, local water not recommended.
___X   cleaning products are biodegradable when obtainable
___X  compost organic matter
Other methods to recycle waste? Please list.

  1. Palm fronds collected from grounds and taken to local cottage industry that uses them for fuel to cure banana leaves for food preparation
  2. Wood pulp and saw-dust collected from local furniture mills to use on pathways in the habitat restoration area
  3. Guests encouraged to take their plastic waste and batteries with them when they leave the country due to poor in-country disposal options.

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).

See Waste Recycling 080.010; 020; 021; 030

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

Eco Rating Casa Del Caballo Blanco 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 when obtainable
___X   minimize external illumination
___ X  take additional specific actions to preserve the local habitat.  Please list actions and projects: CDCB has committed 66% of the property (16 acres) to habitat restoration, and has developed the Tz’unuun Trail within the habitat restoration area.  A team of biologists visits twice yearly to document the changes to the flora community and record the changing avian population.  Additionally, the sponsors have developed the Casa Avian Support Alliance, and ex-situ conservation facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of avian wildlife –  see prefacing comments

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).  Extensive information about CASA and the development of the Tz’unuun Trail, is in the quarterly newsletters that are found on that site.  CASA functions under the purview of a proposal submitted to and accepted by the Belize Forest Department, and operates on a daily basis as directed by a set of protocols and operating guidelines.  CASA is an NGO in Belize and a 501(c)(3) in the United States (see Section 070 of P&P)

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

Eco Rating Casa Del Caballo Blanco 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            ___100% 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. 1. Participate in organized functions to speak to sustainability and bio-diversity conservation, 2. Give presentations regarding bio-diversity conservation and the work of CASA to scheduled meeting of selected organizations; 3. donate food (rice and beans) to local charity (Cornerstone) that provides lunches for school children. See General Policies and Human Resources sections of P&P

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): 5

YOUR OVERALL ECO SCORE (add your level for each category and divide by 5): 4.6

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

  • Please describe your single most important eco achievement: Every bird that is successfully rehabilitated, or recovered from the illegal pet trade and raised and released is a single most important achievement.
  • Indicate additional sustainable practices that you plan to institute within the next 6 months. Capture grey water from laundry for irrigation of propagated ornamentals and seedling trees
  • Is there anything else you would like to add to this eco rating?