The lodge entrance way mixed reused, crushed asphalt with the base gravel, in order to reinforce the non-paved driving trail.
Based on the reuse of materials, we use and develop various art techniques in our workshop. Currently much of the creation is focused on mosaics, diverse products of molten glass, and natural fibers. The products coming from the atelier are displayed for sale in our store of sustainable products, and are also used in the decoration and functional parts of the inn, making each environment unique and full of personality.
A new space has also been creatively built with recycled and reused materials that combines mosaics, bottle walls, and demolition pieces integrated into the rustic and cozy ambiance. The mosaic is an organic part of the El Nagual Reserve, practiced as a strategy of recycling in the construction. Today it is possible to find several mosaics in all corners of our facilities, in the same way a great variety of products are made with equally diverse techniques.
In addition to our lodge’s hybrid energy system, we have completed the construction of 16 stand-alone indirect solar water heating systems of 150 liters each. To date, the use of this system has succeeded in saving 370 MWh of electricity.
As well, we have created a reverse osmosis water treatment plant, with a capacity of 80 liters per minute. This has allowed us to clean over 14,000 m3 of water, to date.
Most of the vegetables and fruits we eat at the lodge are harvested in the garden by our gardeners. SHI (Sustainable Harvest International) also provides workshops in this garden, and guests can volunteer if they choose to. We have some animals, two horses that substitute as lawn mowers, and pigs that help with composting.
The lodge actively takes extraordinary measures toward sustainable and low-impact efforts. Much of the site construction, alone, serves as an exhibition of innovative and deeply thoughtful design. These are the lodge’s primary suites, which are not only beautiful, but use creative structure re-use as well.
Each room is made from a single reclaimed shipping container, which can be seen clearly in the last image. Several other buildings at the lodge can be seen using the same feature, as well as utilizing old blue jean pants within the walls as insulation material.
We grow food in our organic gardens, using organic fertilizers and homemade seaweed concentrate. We focus on cooking local traditional dishes, and continuously plant in order to stimulate the bird and butterfly population.
The solar panel installation at our hotel can be seen at the center right of the image, and utilizes the sunlight as a source of energy to heat running water. The temperature of the working fluid can rise up to 80°C. Thanks to our Pontos, cooling, and boiler systems, the running water is then cooled to 55°C by the end of the whole process.
In the summer season, there is no need to activate the Pontos or boiler systems, as the solar panels absorb enough sun energy (up to 240 kW) to warm up the running water.
More information on the Mosaic House Pontos system may be read in another post:
The lodge uses a number of reclaimed water troughs around the site, as large planters for a variety of flowers and plants. They fit in well with the surroundings, and create the aspect of raised flower beds.
We use a set of thermosiphons to heat water for the camp. The water supply travels through the system, being heated by the energy transferred from the sun to a solar collector. Even in cold areas, solar energy may be harnessed and utilized toward a variety of applications, such as this one.
Our camp uses a composting toilet system, which requires very little water and is excellent for soil regeneration. Such a system utilizes decomposition and evaporation to process waste. What is not evaporated, we mix with wood chips. This remains an active process in which aerobic bacteria transform the waste into fertilizing soil.
Due to the important contribution of the bacteria, the final product is non-harmful and safe to use. This is why we spend a great deal of effort to ensure a hospitable and warm environment for the process, especially through our very cold weather.
Our ecovillage utilizes a biodigester as an excellent solution for sewage treatment. Biodigesters offer the ability to transform waste into usable energy, in the form of methane, and leftover product for fertilizer. Our biosystem consists of a biodigester (left), compensation box (middle), biofilters (right), lake of macrophytes (algae), and root zone (far right). It can be built with relatively low cost and ease, and does not require sophisticated materials or advanced construction knowledge to build.
The biofertilizer produced in the treatment process has no pathogens, due to the anaerobic fermentation it passes through, and is ideal for use in the maintenance of community squares and gardens because it does not pose health risks. It is consolidated as a perfect substitute for chemical fertilizers, which can be more expensive and aggressive to the environment.
The methane gas that is captured in the biodigester is of good quality and can be used in the kitchen of public schools, nurseries and hospitals, or, in large quantities, in thermoelectric plants.
Here in our reserve, initially, we built the biosystem with a focus on sewage treatment. However, the extraction of products from the process far exceeded the expectations foreseen in our planning, and today we have at least two hours of gas daily for consumption in the kitchen and workshop, while biofertilizers are used in the orchard, where we obtained a gain of productivity of at least 50%.
The lodge houses a variety of features constructed from bamboo, fully exhibiting its extensive range of uses and capabilities. Bamboo is also sustainably grown onsite for construction purposes, and used in some rooms for structural strength. Not only is it found in beautiful outdoor retreat areas, but in walls, furniture, stunning roofs, and for sturdy structural support.
On one of our roofs, we maintain this rooftop garden. Not only does it allow for a more efficient use of space, but it also serves to help cool the roof in the summer, as rooftop gardens can provide better insulation than standard tar or gravel use, and help to remove heat from the air.
These washcloths are suitable for several uses, biodegradable, compostable, and made from 100% botanic fibers. In their compressed form, they can fit in the palm of your hand. However, when used with water, they expand to full-sized washcloths.
Our camp creates energy where it can, utilizing both solar and hydro sources. Using solar panels, we are able to provide around 30% of our power needs. However, the other 70% is made available through a micro-hydro turbine, powering our appliances and lighting. The flow of the river is able to provide a steady 800 W to us, with an input of 5 liters per second and high net pressure.