Monday, February 16, 2009

DailyLand: Monterey Eco-Resort

In this modern time there is a metric that is often used to describe certain projects: biggest, brightest, first, etc. One that comes with an immediate dubious reaction is 'greenest' - which is a subjective and relatively meaningless term, which even with our current certification systems is a moving and meaningless target. One recent project that is touting the 'greenest' label is the Monterey Bay Shores Eco Resort. Does it stand up to the buzz?

:: image via Inhabitat

Some info, via Treehugger: "The resort... will be built on 29 acres of a sand dune that was previously destroyed by 60 years of mining. It will actively provide habitats for endangered species, boast 5 acres of living roofs, and get 30 % of its power from onsite solar and wind systems. The developers claim that "every single detail of Monterey Bay Shores Ecoresort encompasses principles of sustainability and conservation," and that they've left no eco-stone unturned in pursuit of developing the most environmentally friendly resort ever created."

:: image via Inhabitat

So aside from the LEED Platinum certification planned for the project, what makes this the greenest? A checklist of some of the features is found via Treehugger:

:: "Design: Designed in harmony with the site, the plans consider topography, orientation and scale of existing and restored dune formations

:: Position: The property is set further back from the shoreline than required by local zoning to provide a buffer for habitat and natural coastal processes

:: Materials & Construction: Maximum use of recycled building materials, onsite prefab construction and intelligent building operations

:: Living Architecture: Five acres of living roofs which mitigate stormwater, and provide insulation and cooling, leave only 1.5 acres of non-native vegetative cover on the ecoresort

:: Renewable Energy: Thirty percent of energy needs are provided by onsite renewable sources to power the building's functions – geothermal, wind and solar systems to be deployed

:: Water Conservation: Unparalleled water conservation measures – onsite graywater recycling, complete stormwater management and rainwater capture for non potable uses (laundry and irrigation)

:: Optimization of Natural Resources: Wind, light and moveable shades enable the ecoresort to utilize the natural advantages of the site"

One aspect, of course, integrated into habitat restoration, living architecture, and energy conservation is the extensive use of green roofs and walls - as well as the buildings tucked into the face of the dunes. (i doubt they will end up this green though, and still meet the lofty water conservation goals.)

:: images via Inhabitat

There's also the location, amidst the degraded dune ecosystem. While difficult, it is not impossible to integrate new building with the actual regeneration of this area...

:: images via Inhabitat

outofdoors sheds some light on the current site and imminent construction...

:: images via outofdoors well as some of the planned regeneration of the dune landscape - including the removal of iceplant and planting of native plants. While greenest is perhaps hyperbole, there is some real, tangible 'green' involved in this eco-resort, particularly one pointed out in Treehugger - that visitors can keep their carbon footprint small(er) without the airfare usually required for distant island resorts. Looks like on to watch.

:: images via outofdoors

:: see also from L+U - Earthships to El Monte Segrado


  1. Nice summary of the project. I grew up in california and had no idea that iceplant was not native. Ugly stuff.
    This is a pretty exciting project to me because I am really interested to see how well they really integrate the buildings with the dunes and vegetation. That, I think, is one of the holy grails of modern architecture and no one has quite done it right yet.
    On the other hand, it looks like the vegetation is doing a pretty good job of repairing its self. I am a firm believer in nature curing its self of human destruction if just left to its self.

  2. Informative article, I must say. I was once very uninterested in storm water management. That changed in June 2008, when I watched storm water manage to swallow most of the heart of Cedar Rapids. Now storm water has my undivided attention.


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