New generation Alila Villas resorts demonstrate world’s highest standard of sustainability

Tuesday, 15 September 2009 13:52

Alila Hotels and Resorts re-emphasizes its commitment to sustainable tourism in its new generation Alila Villas resorts, each a model of Alila’s longstanding philosophy of blending luxury resort living, the environment and the community. Built into the core concept of Alila Villas is the commitment to plan, design, and construct each property from the outset in full accordance with the Green Globe Building, Planning and Design Standard (BPDS), the premier worldwide sustainability certification for tourism businesses. This commitment distinguishes Alila Villas as perhaps the greenest resorts in the world, the only collection of resorts where all properties are sustainably developed from the ground up to this especially rigorous standard.

To date, Alila Villas Uluwatu, which opened in June 2009, and the soon-to-open Alila Villas Soori are the first properties in Bali to have achieved BPDS. Alila Villas Hadahaa, which opened this August, is the first property in the Maldives to have achieved the standard.

Driving Alila’s passionate commitment is the recognition that there is an unconditional need to preserve nature and in particular, the incredibly beautiful yet fragile destinations where its new-built properties are located. Alila is acutely aware that factoring in the principles of sustainability in the design, planning and building phase of a resort allows it to predict the potential impacts of the project and to identify opportunities for incorporating sustainable design, construction management and operational aspects of the project from an early stage.

“Alila resolutely chose to work towards the Green Globe BPDS as its broad and rigorous approach thoroughly ensures that all possible impacts on the environment and community as a result of the presence and construction of our new Alila Villas developments are addressed right from the beginning before the properties are built,” says Mark Edleson, President and CEO of Alila Hotels and Resorts.

“In fact, so stringent is the standard that it calls for many prerequisites that are above and beyond those required by the much-respected LEED certification. This means that our properties take significantly longer and cost more to build. We can however be sure that ultimately we are truly championing sustainable tourism. We also discovered that in the long term, Green Globe certified properties are cheaper to run. We estimate that it is 25 percent cheaper to operate Alila Villas Uluwatu than it would have otherwise cost. ”

The Green Globe BPDS focuses on performance outcomes in the following key areas:

  • Protection of natural site features,
  • Efficient use, conservation and management of natural resources,
  • Greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Development of sustainable and holistic communities, and
  • Management of social and cultural issues.

The standard’s independent assessment is consequently based on a wide range of key indicators that allow an extremely careful, in-depth and exhaustive evaluation of a project’s plans towards achieving sustainability. These include:

  • Master plan, building and infrastructure design,
  • Building location and siting,
  • Energy efficiency,
  • Water management,
  • Waste management,
  • Resource conservation (materials),
  • Chemical use,
  • Storm water management,
  • Social commitment, and
  • Economic commitment.
For Alila Villas Uluwatu, only locally sourced building materials were used in its construction. These include local bamboo used for the ceilings of its villas, stone from the site itself that is hand cut for the garden walls, as well as the volcanic batu chandi rock used for the roofs of each villa. Even old timber telegraph poles and wood railway sleepers were recycled as building materials.

All hot water in the resort is heated by means of the waste heat generated by air-conditioning units. Also, a recyclable grey water system directs used water from washing machines and bathrooms to irrigate the property’s gardens. Furthermore, approximately 58 percent of the staff at Alila Villas Uluwatu are from the local community.

For Alila Villas Hadahaa in southern Maldives, while its design is also contemporary in nature, extensive use of many natural materials, including coconut and timber found in the region have been ingeniously incorporated. Notably, the resort site has a very low building and infrastructure coverage area, with only about 20% of the island being built up. Consequently, Alila Villas Hadahaa features just 50 exclusive villas. The Aqua Villas and jetty in particular were only built during extreme low tides to minimize silt disturbance, while several Island Villas were re-positioned during construction to preserve existing trees.

Alila’s quest for creating truly sustainable resorts does not stop at the building, planning and design stages. Alila seeks to attain the Green Globe Operational Company certification for its Alila Villas properties as each opens and goes into operation. Meanwhile, the development of more stunning and environment-conscious Alila Villas properties are currently underway in China, India, Laos, Oman and Vietnam.


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