In 2013, when a Costa Rican surfing school lost its headquarters, six patrons-turned-investors jumped in to build a hotel the school could partner with in Nosara, Costa Rica. The aptly named Olas Verdes Hotel, which means “green waves” in Spanish, takes green tourism to the next level. The HVAC selection for the project: Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating Zoned Comfort Solutions®.

Carl Kish, co-founder of STOKE Certified (the first sustainability certification program designed for surf and snow resorts, destinations and events) was working as a sustainable tourism consultant in Nosara when the investors asked him to join their project.

Sustainability from the Ground Up

According to Kish, “The team wanted to integrate sustainability from the ground up and  envisioned this project being a catalyst for sustainable development in the area.”

Kish, as the project manager, assembled a group to closely follow LEED® building guidelines throughout development of the hotel. Choosing high-quality, energy-efficient equipment was a central focus of this group, particularly when it came to the HVAC selection.

“The team really wanted inverter technology and low energy consumption on the compressors,” explained Carlos Alfaro Alvarez of HITEC, the project’s general contractor that designed, installed and now maintains the property’s heating and cooling equipment. “Mitsubishi Electric’s technology was the most efficient and had the best warranty of any brand we reviewed with seven years for the compressor and five years for parts.”

Ultimately, HITEC installed only five outdoor units for the entire hotel, which consists of a main clubhouse, restaurant and 17 individual guest villas that each include a bedroom, living room and bathroom.This HVAC design has proven to be a benefit to guests as well.

The Benefits of Zoned Comfort Solutions

“When you walk in most hotels, you can hear every unit running,” expressed Luis Pardo, general manager, Olas Verdes Hotel. “When you walk in here, there’s no noise and you’re comfortable. In this industry, you always get complaints about room temperature, but since opening the Olas Verdes Hotel, guests actually tell us how much they love the Mitsubishi Electric units!”

Since opening in December 2015, Kish and the project team’s commitment to energy efficiency have paid off. In 2016, Olas Verdes was the first surf hotel in the world to receive LEED Platinum Certification. They also have Costa Rica’s Sustainable Tourism Certification, which they renew every two years. Kish was also finally able to award Olas Verdes and their surf school partner STOKE Certification — the former being the first hotel to receive this accreditation in Central America.

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