Océano Patagonia: Wild Coast Residence has been selected by the Chubut Ministry of Production as one of the most innovative projects in the province and is now represented in detail in the Chubut Innovation Guide for 2017.
“It is really an honor to be included in this guide. There are many innovative projects in the province of Chubut and that we are included within the group of the most innovative, it fills us with pride,” says Marcelo Battilana, one of the owners of these eco-condos on the beach in the heart of Península Valdés. “After so much work and sacrifice, we are very happy to be considered leaders in innovation.”
The Chubut government promotes a strategy that drives innovation and entrepreneurship in the province. In an era of knowledge and communications, scientific research and innovation are not only economic engines, but also indispensable for the achievement of economic development that respects and preserves the environment.
“It is also a strategic objective to preserve the environment,” explains Governor Mario das Neves in his prologue. “The Chubut Innovation Guide demonstrates concrete cases that prove it is possible to produce in an environmentally responsible way.”
Océano Patagonia started with a plan to create an original, eco-friendly option for those visiting the natural paradise of Puerto Pirámides. In 2015, the owners began to design a hotel with the goal to minimize its impact on the environment, both in how the building was constructed and how it now operates. In order to truly create a sustainable development, they needed to address the specific challenges of this sensitive area, including: a lack of natural gas, an electricity grid with excessive power outages, a lack of water in a desert climate, etc.
“The preservation of strategic natural resources, such as water, is a challenge that crosses the entire production matrix. This challenge will be considered in all that is planned and preservation will be given priority,” continues das Neves. “The provincial government will invest in generating knowledge that ensures future generations can count on having access to this invaluable resource.”
INNOVATION IN THE UTILIZATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
The owners proceeded with a new way to do business: Océano Patagonia is the only building in Puerto Pirámides developed under guidance of the international standards of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The hotel was opened in December 2016 and to address the environmental sensitivities of the area, they invested in:
GEOTHERMAL: Due to the lack of access to Natural Gas, buildings in the town resort to an electrical system, which carries a very high rate of consumption. So the owners turned to another source for heating, air conditioning and hot water: geothermal. Unlike other renewable energy sources that originate from solar radiation, geothermal energy comes from the Earth’s interior heat and replaces the use of fossil fuels (natural gas or coal) or the use of wood (boiler). The system offers a significant reduction in consumption, with its maximum consumption of 8 kW compared to the 100 kW that would have been consumed with an electric boiler.
WATER: because of water constraints, they installed a gray water system, adding an additional water network through which water used in kitchen sinks, showers and rainwater discharges is reused to flush toilets. In this way, they reduced water consumption and sewage drainage by 50%.
LIGHTING: they have a 100% ecological light system, non-polluting and a very high energy saving, designed entirely by lighting designer with LED technology and centralized controls to improve light use management.
PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS: soon, they will be installing photovoltaic panels in order to generate their own energy for the building’s consumption.
MATERIALS: in order to reduce energy consumption, Oéano Patagonia has been built using highly insulating materials.
WOOD: recycled wood purchased from a demolition was used for the construction of all furniture, as well as feature walls in all common areas and the reception desk. In this way, one of the basic principles in the care of the environment was honoured: reuse. The manufacture and design of the furniture was awarded to an artisan carpentry in order to encourage the workmanship of small-scale producers in Argentina.
SUPPLIERS: their policy is to work with local suppliers both while building and operating, which is why all materials were purchased in Chubut. Although Geothermal is widely used in Europe and something that seems inaccessible here in the local market, they found a local supplier, Ciatema.
INVESTMENT INNOVATION: the building was financed entirely from partners’ own funds. They are open to the participation of third parties, and for this they offer a format where the investor participates in a percentage of ongoing business.
“When our families decided to build here, in one of the most incredible places in Patagonia, we made a commitment to do our best to reduce our impact and share our sustainable values with everyone,” explains Battilana. “Our vision to protect the natural resources of the province and the environment is reflected in the government’s actions and their support of Chubut Innovation.”
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