KAANAPALI NORTH BEACH, MAUI—The newest full service hotel development on Kaanapali Beach, the Honua Kai Resort & Spa, has unveiled details of its comprehensive sustainability program—in line with the traditional Hawaiian concept of “malama aina,” (caring for the land). Honua Kai’ practices begin with the ocean, protect the surrounding beach, and extend to every room at the property.
Honua Kai, which opened in January 2009, has its own director of sustainability, Lance Gilliland. “We call it ‘Eco-nomics,’—practices that are ecologically sound and economically feasible,” Gilliland says. “It just makes sense to conserve energy, re-use, recycle and protect the beautiful natural environment for our homeowners and the resort guests that visit the property.”
A new two-tiered water-conserving program is designed to keep the nearly 40 acres of landscaped gardens and grounds healthy and green without wasting precious water. Honua Kai worked in partnership with the county waste water department to develop a landscape irrigation system that is fed solely by recycled “R1” water, which provides the highest quality of recycled water.
‘Fertigation’ Practiced at the Resort
That water is then enhanced through a process known as “fertigation,” which delivers small daily doses of organic fertilizer through the irrigation system. Computers monitor ambient moisture at key locations around the resort to activate the sprinklers that keep the grounds and gardens healthy. Unlike traditional broadcast or drop fertilizer methods, fertigation allows increased nutrient absorption by plants, and the daily feeding reduces the amount of fertilizer and chemical needed, while also reducing water usage. Fertigation can also distribute pest repellants. The combination of daily micro-dosing combined with organic products insures no negative impacts to ground water or from runoff.
Hawaii’s reefs provide a home for more than 7,000 species of marine plants and animals, 25 percent of which are unique to the Hawaiian islands. Honua Kai helps care for these many species with signs posted at each bridge leading to the ocean. They explain how a healthy reef depends on exploring it respectfully, snorkeling over and around the coral without damaging it, and watching the fish, not feeding them.
Signs along the shore inform guests about the endangered honu (green sea turtles) that sun themselves in front of the resort. Honua Kai further protects the honu and their latest visitor, a Hawaiian monk seal, with educational materials and awareness campaigns to prevent the public from getting too close.
Guests will also notice the retention ponds that have been landscaped into the property to protect the ocean against soil run-off during an unusually heavy rain storm. Fertigation also helps contain runoff by producing a denser root mass that traps water.
Wetland Pond Carefully Monitored
Being the only resort on Maui with a wetland pond, Honua Kai has restored this micro-ecosystem with native shoreline plants. Already, several species of seabirds, including the aukuu (black-crowned night heron) and kolea (Pacific golden plover) have begun stopping to preen and rest.
The resort protects the sand dunes because they form the first line of defense against coastal storms and beach erosion, and provide a supply of sand to the beach when erosion occurs. Non-native trees have been removed and replaced with low-lying indigenous plants that spread their root systems to hug the sand and protect the dunes from wind and ocean erosion.
Honua Kai recently received Maui Electric Company’s largest ever rebate for energy savings. Some of the resort’s initiatives:
• Heat generated from the air-conditioning cooling system is captured and used to heat the pool water.
• Honua Kai installed the solar powered restrooms at North Beach.
• The resort’s green compactor is only the second one on Maui, and is run on soy oil and solar power.
• The appliances in each suite have the highest energy efficiency ratings.
• The air-conditioning system allows for the monitoring of every unit installed in the resort, including suites, via a central control, ensuring energy efficiency without sacrificing personal comfort.
• Honua Kai uses energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs wherever advisable.
Honua Kai has established a recycling program that begins with training for all employees, and extends throughout the resort. Recycling centers are located throughout the resort, including the employee lounge, offices, public areas and each guest floor. These centers capture paper, cans, bottles and glass. Other ways that Honua Kai practices and promotes recycling:
• Honua Kai partners with local company, Aloha Waste, to recycle aluminum, glass, plastic, green waste and paper.
• Biodegradable trash bags are used throughout the resort.
• Each guest floor also has a designated chute for trash, as well as a recycling center. This allows for guest participation. The “donations” go to the Resort Recycling Center where the trash is separated for recycling.
• The beach walk planks fronting the resort are made from 50 percent recycled and reclaimed plastic and 50 percent reclaimed wood. Using these materials significantly reduces landfill impact.
• The binder for the in-room compendium is made from 100 percent recycled materials.
An information card is placed in every room to show guests how they can easily participate in Honua Kai’s environmental stewardship efforts. It explains why bed linens are changed every third day, and towels are changed upon guest request.
Go to Honua Kai Resort & Spa.