Redesigning resort rules through environmentally conscious hospitality

Gain industry attention

Because of these environmentally conscious and sustainable protocols, Black Desert Resort completed one of the largest single transaction C-PACE awards in the country's history.

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is a low-cost, long-term financing option for energy efficiency, water efficiency, renewable energy and resiliency projects. Black Desert Resort's use of $153 million in funding from a federal C-PACE program demonstrates its commitment to making a positive impact on the local community and the environment.

Black Desert is also close to being certified platinum Audubon InternationalSignature Sanctuary Certification Program. If successful, Black Desert will be one of the first resorts to receive it.

Frank LaVardera, director of environmental programs for golf at Audubon International, says Black Desert was smart from the start to implement Audubon's sustainability principles and standards. For example, the resort has created several water infiltration areas around the track so that runoff water goes into the ground rather than being discharged into nearby streams or other water areas. Controlling runoff is important as it helps prevent contamination and adding these seepage areas at a later date would have been more time consuming and difficult.

“We pay close attention to where the stormwater goes because we don’t want it to leave the golf course,” LaVardera said. “The resort will also conduct water quality testing to ensure that even the water ingress does not contain significant contaminants.”

If Audubon members follow established environmental principles and policies, LaVardera says there's a good chance these companies will save money. Many institutions also use the certification in marketing campaigns and can demonstrate excellent certifications as evidence of sustainability values.

“Why wouldn’t we want to implement sustainability principles to reduce environmental impact?” says LaVardera. “Nowadays we know better.”

The standards of Audubon's Platinum Signature Sanctuary certification are high but doable. As part of the certification, resorts must create a natural resource management plan that details nearly a dozen key components of environmental sustainability, including waste management, wildlife habitat improvement and environmental monitoring.

“I was amazed at what happened during my time [Black Desert Resort] Visit in November and their sincerity about environmental sustainability,” says LaVardera. “I recently met one of the property owners and he made it clear that this is high on his agenda – it’s not just eye candy. This is something they take seriously.”

Anna Harden

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