From the very beginning of the Tierra Atacama project, one of our core values has been the protection of our environment. We want to provide the best experience and service with minimal disruption to the atmosphere, land, wildlife, history and local culture.
We have taken various steps to ensure that our team in Tierra Atacama is doing everything it can to protect this fragile environment. Continue reading below to learn more about our solar energy project, environmental policy and additional initiatives that focus on protecting the Atacama.
Solar Energy Project
As of August 2013, the solar panels pictured above have been producing clean energy for the hotel. This project was designed and implemented by Kraftwerk, a German company that develops power stations which provide energy from renewable resources.
The system offers intelligent control with stable, continuous operation of the grid enabling diesel generators, ensuring that they work with the PV system.
We at Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa are committed to environmental protection and sustainability as we recognize our presence generates an impact on the surrounding environment.
With our environmental policy, we intend to create a difference by adopting sustainable decision making and operations whilst still delivering an excellent product and experience. By placing focus on sustainability, our aim is to mitigate our impact on the environment, support the community and provide a better experience for our guests.
We will strive to minimize our property's operational impact on the environment through resource conservation and best practices.
In delivering this commitment we will endeavor to:
- Consider our environmental impact in all aspects of decision-making
- Review our environmental objectives on a periodic basis
- Consider the opinions and feedback of our guests when examining our environmental programs and procedures
- Identify areas for improvement and innovation
- Work diligently to minimize our waste and conserve natural resources through energy and water conservation strategies
- Comply with as much (applicable) environmental legislation as possible and strive to always follow best environmental practices
- Build partnerships with local communities to share our message, raise awareness and create positive environmental change.
- Employ best techniques and procedures for measuring and controlling emissions, discharges and wastes.
- Monitor, record and analyze environmental data on a frequent basis.
- Establish procedures to ensure all that employees have relevant environmental training with knowledge & understanding of our policies to assist in complying with all applicable environmental laws and regulations.
- Encourage guests to be environmentally conscious by providing information on hotel sustainable practices.
We openly welcome feedback and comments that will assist in our ongoing commitment to our environmental objectives and sustainable tourism.
Before we started building, we did a full archeological study, to ensure that we weren't disturbing any historic remains. The old adobe walls of the "cattle corral" were left intact and incorporated into the design of the hotel by the architects. We protected an important nesting site of the "pequén" (a type of owl) during the construction, to make sure their nesting was not interrupted.
The landscaping was based on protecting and nourishing the growth of the local vegetation and the trees on the property, and the land was taken back to its original use – agriculture. We planted crops such as maize, quinoa (an altiplanic grain), fruits including apples, figs and pomegranates and a selection of seasonal vegetables and herbs which are used in the hotel restaurant.
We support students from the local agricultural college and protect the heritage of the local Indian peoples. We promote sustainable tourism, using local resources and manpower where possible and ask our guests to help us respect the customs and traditions of the area.
Water comes from our own deep well, and is purified by our own reverse osmosis desalination plant. We treat our waste water and re-use it to water our gardens. Guests are asked to cooperate with our efforts and use water carefully where possible. Organic waste is fed to local livestock or made into compost to return to the earth what we have taken out.
Our guides promote minimum impact during the excursions and the activities are designed for minimum impact to the earth, flora and fauna.
Continuing with our philosophy of supporting sustainable tourism and the local cultures, our first steps have led to a great commitment from our team.
Now we want to formalize our commitment and for this reason we are creating an official policy document for sustainability in the hotel, for our employees and our guests. An environmental specialist is helping us analyse our use of natural resources such as water, gas and fossil fuels in each area (restaurant, rooms, gardens, spa, etc.) and is further educating our staff and making recommendations for changes in the management and use of resources in order to enable us to be more efficient in our use of natural resources.
The changes that have been made go from technological changes to reduce the use of these resources, to the education at all levels of our staff and the involvement of guests in making changes that enable us to be more responsible towards our environment.
We are currently participating in the Journey Latin America (UK travel company) Water Saving initiative to save as much water as possible – every month our use of water is measured and steps are taken to reduce our use of water in this fragile part of the world.
We have installed meters to measure our use of water in various areas to obtain a base usage rate of each area (rooms, spa, kitchen, etc) and the daily use is charted. We are now able to follow the pattern of water use during the year. Using the data as a base, we can implement methods to save water both in the long and short term.
As a side effect of this program, we have also implemented several other practices which have led to the reduction in use of electricity, packaging and fossil fuels.
All our team at Tierra Atacama is dedicated to establishing a more sustainable future.