Napa Valley hotel prototypes eco-friendly tourism
Hotels are known as energy wasters, generating large amounts of water and electricity to serve their customers. But one hotel entrepreneur is trying to change that by going green. In this video, correspondent Sumi Das meets Wen Chang, founder of the Gaia Hotel in the Bay Area's Napa Valley. He believes hotel owners can do more to help the environment, without hurting the bottom line. According to Chang, the Gaia Hotel is saving $50,000 to 75,000 dollars a year on electricity by using clean energy to power 12% of its operations.
>> Sumi Das assumed spelling: Hotels are known as energy hogs generating large amounts of water and electricity to serve their customers. But one hotel entrepreneur is trying to change that by going green.
>> Hwang Chang assumed spelling: They stay here.
>> Sumi Das: Hwang Chang is the founder of the Gaya assumed spelling Resort in the Bay Area's Napa Valley. He believes hotel owners can do more to help the environment without hurting the bottom line.
>> Hwang Chang: Every year we estimate we can save between 50,000 to 75,000 just by the energy and the water alone.
>> Sumi Das: Early on, Chang decided to embrace sustainability. He did this by applying for a LEED certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an organization responsible for setting standards on eco-friendly construction. Following the LEED playbook, Gaya built their 132 guest rooms using organic materials.
>> If you look around, everything is made out of natural materials. So even the wood and the rattan, all natural materials can be recycled in the future.
>> Sumi Das: And their bathrooms are conserving more water than a typical hotel. The result from these additions: a LEED stamp of approval and a one million dollar incentive tax credit from the city. Gaya is also using clean energy to power operations, installing solar arrays on their rooftops.
>> These are thin-film solar panels made out of silicon. They provide about 36 kilowatts for our hotel.
>> Sumi Das: A cool roof.
>> What it does is it reflects the sun's rays, so we, we don't absorb heat. Therefore, we can have smaller HVAC units to cool the hotel.
>> Sumi Das: And these magnifying tubes that collect the sun's rays and filter the light into the hotel.
>> We have this scattered throughout the hotel common areas, and during peak hours, we turn the lights off from about 10:00 to 4:00, and these solar tubes light up our common areas.
>> Sumi Das: In the end, 12 percent of Gaya's electricity is coming from renewable sources. Chang says being green is more costly upfront, but worth every penny.
>> Hwang Chang: You calculate the cost savings and the actual cost you develop, but then anything more than that, you listen to your heart rather than listen to your head. Once you see the big ocean, you'll never go back to look at the pond.
>> Sumi Das: Wise advice for those looking for eco-friendly travel options. I'm Sumi Das, reporting for VNET assumed spelling.
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