Read more below about our vision on sustainability.
Bonaire is a special municipality of the Netherlands and an extraordinarily beautiful one to say the least. Large parts of the island and the waters surrounding it are considered protected nature reserves. This wonderful nature attracts a special group of tourists. Water sports fanatics (sailors, divers, surfers, kite surfers, snorkelers etc.), hikers and bikers; they all manage to find their way to the island of Bonaire.
Growth of the tourism industry is very important for the economic development of the island. Unemployment rates on Bonaire are still high and growth in tourism would create the jobs that are so desperately needed on the island. However, this growth could potentially have a negative impact on Bonaire nature and environment. It is for this reason that the importance of sustainability is increasing.
Red Palm Village wants to set a standard for sustainability on the island. We are convinced that sustainability and enjoying a holiday in comfort can easily go hand in hand.
Red Palm Village is located on Kaminda Sorobon: a beautiful winding road from Kralendijk to the beaches of Sorobon that takes you right through the protected natural area of Lac Bay. The mangroves at Lac, for generations, have been the island’s incubator for the various species of fish that thrive in Bonaire’s water. Needless to say that the local government has imposed stringent criteria for construction projects in this area. For the construction of our resort we use the latest and most environmentally friendly technologies that have never been used before in the Caribbean. These techniques could lead to a technological breakthrough for future construction. Not just for construction projects related to tourism, also for residential construction.
Eco-thinking starts from the bottom, so with the foundation of the chalets and studios. On Bonaire pouring concrete is the traditional way of creating a foundation. However, eco-criteria for this area state that the use of concrete on the construction site should be avoided as much as possible. After a long search we eventually found a solution to this problem: ‘Screw piles’.
We have asked the engineers of Civil Environmental & Geotechnical Engineers from Curacao to inspect our soil and their investigation showed that our soil was very suitable for the use of screw piles. We have also found a great environmentally friendly alternative for the traditional (chemical) septic tanks that are used for the purification of wastewater; Eloy Water’s bio-filter system. This system won Belgium’s Energy- and Environment price in 2014. It consists of 4 concrete fiber tanks that are placed below ground and linked to an intelligent bio-filter (the Oxyfix Septic System) that purifies the wastewater to a purity-level of 98% without the use of any chemicals. We will consequently use this water for the drip system of our tropical gardens. This system is the first of its kind on Bonaire and all of the Caribbean Netherlands.
The exteriors of the chalets, studios and other buildings on the resort will be equipped with VinyPlus tongue-and-groove boards. This looks like wood, but is actually high-end recycled plastic. Another type of material that, so far, has barely been used in construction projects here on Bonaire. Strange, as it is particularly suitable for the conditions on this island: High humidity combined with a high salinity and lots of wind, which usually translates into the annual repainting of all your wood. Besides that the presence of termites will force you to use pesticides multiple times a year. VinyPlus is completely maintenance-free and only needs to be cleaned with water. Another pleasant advantage of this type of material is that the air layer in the ‘boards’ has an isolating function, so the heat is kept out. Furthermore, we try to minimize the use of air-conditioning by locating our chalets ‘on the wind’.
The aspect of sustainability has always been decisive in our choice of materials. All our taps and showers are equipped with the Grohe Ecojoy System that reduces water consumption significantly without compromising on performance. Another example is the fact that all our toilets are water saving and rim free, so germs simply have no rim to hide underneath. This means that less chloride and other cleaning detergents will be needed to keep our toilets nice and clean. The landscaping of the garden is aimed at enriching the local eco-system. The soil in the Kunuku is relatively dry and offers little food for birds, butterflies etc. We try to select our plants in such a way that they contribute to the area’s flora and fauna and make it a more attractive place for the island’s many types of birds and butterflies to settle in. The resort and its tropical gardens are fenced by an authentic cactus enclosing. This way of fencing is typical for Bonaire and has been used for ages to protect plantations and gardens from the wild donkeys and goats on the island. Once again we tried to avoid the use of concrete and iron and look for a more natural alternative. This type of fencing was a great way to recycle the cactuses on the construction site that needed to be cut down. The entrance gate is made of wood in order to make the whole perfectly fit the beautiful surroundings of the Kunuku.
Red Palm Village is the first resort on the island to apply for a partnership with the solar park of local energy supplier ‘WEB’. This is a great way for us to contribute to the use of renewable energy on the island, without having to place solar panels and windmills on our resort. Hopefully this will help reduce energy prices for the local population as well. This simply wouldn’t be possible if all resorts and other large-scale consumers would use their own solar panels and windmills, as this makes cost-recovery for WEB very hard.
Besides special attention for environmentally friendly techniques & materials in the construction and running of our resort, we also try to contribute to sustainability on the island in different ways. Our human resource policy for example: many resorts hire interns from the Netherlands or the U.S. to do most of the work. Red Palm Village has started collaboration with SGB (institution that offers intermediate vocational education on the island) and we’re planning to offer internship positions and work experience placements to SGB students. These positions will eventually lead to paid jobs for young people on the island so they can become self-supporting, which unfortunately isn’t self-evident on Bonaire.
We also have the intention to use as many locally grown, regional and/or organic products as possible in our meals and beverages. Moreover, Red Palm Village’s kitchen will be the first on the island with a wastewater grease & fat separation system. This way the kitchen’s wastewater can also run straight to our bio-filter and be put to use in our tropical gardens.
Red Palm Village offers space, rest, relaxation and privacy for those that want to enjoy all the fine things Bonaire has to offer. Red Palm Village proves that this comfortable way of spending your holidays can go hand in hand with sustainability, which enables future generations to continue to enjoy the island’s wonderful nature.