26 April 2009

We do browse the internet the same way you do ..

.. and we often find places claiming to be “ecologic” or part of some “ecoturism” scheme simply because they paid an annual fee to one or more Natural Parks and are now able to display the badge-of-the-moment on their web site and brochures, or maybe simply because they differentiate their waste. Well, that’s not enough. We not only browse the web, we also live here in Watamu, and we know for sure that beside the largest number of decent and onest businesses there are also a few playing this “eco-trick”. They build huge structures with tons of concrete, needing hundreds of kW of electricity for their AC or for their electric boilers, thus needing noisy and smoky diesel generators. They need several truck a day of clean water for their activities, water that is frequently bought from nearby villages leaving them in a permanent scarcity of water. They fill their swimmingpool with tons of chlorine (can you imagine where chlorine goes when cleaning the swimmingpool?) and their black water are often dispersed in black holes that slowly drain trough the soil directly to the sea.

That’s not our way. We invite you to visit us whenever you want and check directly with your eyes what we do, and the approach we took since the beginning for our Lodge. We offer you the highest standard on the coast but not for this we forget that we, and you as well, are no more than guests among Watamu people. And so we do respect them.

Let’s take our approach for water as an example. We like to think we have 5 different types of water:

  • drinkable water (of course!) that we produce trough our last-generation low-consumption desalinator from the sea water. A water-maker, if you prefer call it this way
  • the salty water out of the desalination process is used for the swimmingpool, where a chlorine generator sanitizes the swimmingpool water without any chemical addition, no chemically produced chlorine
  • we have a rain-harvesting system in place to collect the water needed for irrigation of the garden
  • hot-water doesn’t use any energy since it’s produced trough solar panels placed on the roofs of the Lodge
  • and the grey and black waters are not dispersed in black holes but recycled in our natural pond trough reed beds to be re-used for irrigation

Also for the electricy generation and conservation we took the same no-frills approach. Partly produced trough solar panels, it is mainly “saved” optimizing our choices:

we paid a lot of attention to properly position and orient our building respect to the sun
we used as many natural brick as possible instead of concrete for better insulation and wall transpiration
provided the right number of small windows in the right position to facilitate natural circulation of the sea breeze
in the end we’ve been able to avoid the need for the air conditioning. You don’t feel you need it, when you’re at the Lonno Lodge!

Now it’s up to you, to check first hand what the other hotels, lodges, resorts and so on are doing.

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Harriet Owalla writing at a table in Lonno Lodge

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