WHAT YOU CAN DO
No matter where you are traveling, or even in your own home, many of the principles regarding sustainability apply. It is always a good idea to turn off your lights when you don’t need them, conserve water by turning the tap off while you brush your teeth or wash your dishes rather than letting it run. While there are countries without recycling programs more and more do have them nowadays. If there is no information, ask – who knows, maybe if the company does not recycle you will inspire someone within the company to ask why, or seek further information.
Programs that can use your support
Casa Luz is a social project that the owners of the Hotel founded and support. Information for Casa Luz can be found in the ‘HGO & Sustainability’ section of this website. If you would like to make a donation an envelope can be found in each room. If you’d like more information about Casa Luz or wish to offer more support to the program please speak to the Front Desk.
Within the Hotel
Your help with our sustainability program invaluable to us. There are many ways in which you can help. Information is provided in your room as well as in Reception.
- Please recycle all of your recyclable garbage. Bins are located in Reception as well as in front of the Hotel. If you would like to leave the items in your room please leave them beside the garbage can and our maids will happily recycle them for you.
- All of our organic (food) waste in collected and sent to a pig farm for feed. If you have food you would like to dispose of please bring it to the restaurant or call reception and someone will come and pick it up.
- Please turn off your TV, lights, fans and/or air conditioning when you leave your room.
- All of the water from the taps in the hotel is purified so please help us reduce waste by not using the bottled water in the minibars. The qualityof the tap water is tested regularly and is 100% safe for drinking.
- Please have patience when speaking with our staff members. They are all making an effort to learn and improve their grasp on the English Language. Remember to speak slowly.
- If you prefer to practice your Spanish they are very happy to help.
Outside of the Hotel
When travelling within San Jose or other areas within Costa Rica please remember to take with you a respect for the natural, social and cultural resources Costa Rica has to offer. A few good rules to keep in mind are:
- Respect the local environment. Do not litter. Do not pick wild flowers or plants.
- Try to reuse water bottles and recycle when you can.
- Preserve local resources – If your hotel has a policy to minimize laundering of towels and sheets, try to support it.
- Try to use biodegradable soaps and organic bug repellent and sun block.
- Respect local culture and traditions – Be aware and sensitive to cultural differences in language, custom and dress. Ask permission before taking someone’s picture.
- Learn a few words in the local language: and be open to learning about the culture throughout your trip.
- Try to keep your money within the local community – Try local brands of food and drink or buy handcrafted goods from local artisans.
- Protect national treasures : NEVER buy authentic archaeological artifacts or souvenirs made from endangered plants or animals (such as turtle shell, coral and non-plantation precious wood). It is against the law to buy or to sell endangered flora and / or fauna.
- Make donations count. The best way to give back to a country is through donations to reputable conservation and social organizations, not to individuals.
Tips for Visiting National Parks
- Hire a local naturalist guide. Guides enhance the overall experience and provide a wider interpretation of the natural areas you visit. They can also help spot wild animals that are invisible to the untrained eye.
- Avoid feeding, touching or harrassing the wild animals. Contact with the animals puts them at risk and can cause undue stress.
- Stay on the trail at all times. This will help lessen your impact on the forest and keep you from getting lost.
- Increase your chances of seeing wildlife responsibly:
- Be ready to explore the forest in early morning or at dusk.
- Wear clothes that blend into the background.
- Avoid wearing perfume or other strong scents.
- Remain very quiet on the trail.
- Wait by a waterhole.
- Tune into the sounds of nature with all your senses.
- Watch where you walk – Look down when walking through the forest.
- When you do see an animal – Be still while observing.
Tips to Save Water
- Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.
- Verify that your home is leak-free, because many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
- Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year which will add to the cost of water and sewer utilities, or strain your septic system.
- Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
- Take shorter showers. Replace you showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version. Some units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs.
- Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain first and filling the tub only 1/3 full. Stopper tub before turning water. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed by adding hot water later.
- Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.
- Retrofit all wasteful household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
- Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or properly set the water level for the size of load you are using.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.
- Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or by using the defrost setting on your microwave.
- Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste instead of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also can add 50% to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to malfunctions and maintenance problems.
- Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce heating costs for your household.
- Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
- Never install a water-to-air heat pump or air-conditioning system. Air-to-air models are just as efficient and do not waste water.
- Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
- Check your pump. If you have a well at your home, listen to see if the pump kicks on and off while the water is not in use. If it does, you have a leak.
- If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
Taken and adapted from: http://www.americanwater.com/49ways.htm
Tips for Save Energy
Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. Compact fluorescents come in various shapes and sizes that fit regular light fixtures and can last up to ten times as long as old-fashioned bulbs. They use only about a quarter of the electricity the old bulbs use.
Turn off lights when not needed.
Clean your refrigerator or freezer coils. Dusty coils (at the back of your refrigerator) make it work harder than necessary. If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a new high-efficiency refrigerator.
Consider long-term energy efficiency and conservation improvements for both cold- and hot-weather conditions. These include improved insulation of ceilings, floors, windows, doors, water pipes, etc.
Replace old inefficient furnaces, refrigerators or dishwashers with new high-efficiency appliances. (They can pay for themselves in just a few years!) Look for the "Energy Star" label whenever you shop for appliances or computer equipment.
Turn off computer-related and entertainment equipment when not in use.
In winter, close drapes at night and open them during the daytime. Closed drapes at night also help keep heat in the house. Open drapes during the day helps the sun's energy warm the house interior.
In summer, close drapes and windows during the day and open them at night.
Turn down your thermostats or turn off your heat during the day when no one is home. When summer comes, try to minimize your use of air conditioning.
Turn off your heat at night, and set your thermostat to start heating shortly before you get up. An extra blanket will help keep you warm. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, buy one. They're cheap and easy to install.
Caulk and weather-strip around doors, windows and other openings. This will help prevent cold air from entering your home.
Insulate your water heater and keep it at the "warm" setting, and insulate hot water pipes. Hot water temperature of 140 degrees is sufficient. Prevent heat loss by making sure your water heater is insulated and the first five feet of water heater piping is insulated.
Repair leaky faucets and install low-flow showerheads. Leaky faucets waste water and make your water heater work overtime. Low-flow showerheads reduce water and water heater use.
Check and repair disconnected or crushed heating ducts in attic and crawl space, and clean or replace furnace filters. Duct repairs and clean filters will help insure the heated air from your furnace isn’t wasted heating your crawl space and that it reaches your living space most efficiently. No air coming from an open register can be a sign of duct problems.
At The Office
- Enhance employee awareness of energy efficiency through training and less formal methods. Provide mandatory and voluntary training opportunities on smart energy practices so that employees can practice energy efficiency during emergency periods and year-round. In addition to training, send periodic e-mail messages about turning off lights and computers and implementing other efficiency practices; post signs or billboards near light switches or communal printers; and consider holding annual energy fairs prior to seasonal emergency periods to provide additional information for employees about how to manage energy use in the work place and in their homes.
- Turn off lights when leaving an area for more than a few minutes, and in areas with sufficient daylight.
- Use task lighting and turn off general lighting, where it is feasible to maintain sufficient lighting levels for safety and productivity.
- Turn off computers, monitors and printers when not in use. Ensure their ENERGY STAR-type "low power stand-by" mode features are set and activated. If they do not have ENERGY STAR features available, turn them off when leaving the office for more than an hour.
- Turn off personal appliances, such as coffee pots and radios.
- Where feasible, schedule high electrical energy-use processes during off-peak periods. (Peak periods are 5 PM to 7 PM in winter, 2 PM to 6 PM in summer.)
- Install motion sensors and separate lighting circuits, where feasible, to allow turning off unneeded lights.
- Consider long-term energy efficiency and conservation improvements for both cold- and hot-weather conditions. These will pay for themselves due to lowered utility costs, and will provide a net cost savings thereafter! If energy costs rise, these energy and conservation measures will pay for themselves even more quickly.