The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas is now officially one of the most eco-friendly resort properties on Maui, receiving the GOLD New Construction Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
The LEED rating system was specifically designed by the U.S. Green Building Council to guide the development of more sustainable buildings. It also distinguishes those which have less of an impact on their natural surroundings and provide a healthier environment to its inhabitants.
Leadership at the resort pursued this certification as it directly aligns with one of their three core values: to operate responsibly through ongoing sustainability efforts. To adhere to the LEED guidelines and this core value, much thoughtful planning went into the development of the resort, which opened in April 2017. The team effort consisted of numerous experts in design, construction, and sustainability.
The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas received high marks for the following LEED categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficient Landscaping, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design Process.
The resort’s koi ponds helped contribute to the LEED certification. The ponds were made purposefully deeper than those found at neighboring resorts to assist in water diversion, a key element of the property’s storm management program. “As a tropical location, the island is subject to heavy rains seasonally,” said a spokesperson. “These ponds serve as retention basins with the ability to hold and filter excess storm water runoff from the surrounding area. This helps to protect the fronting coastline from potentially harmful pollutants, so it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Also recognized is the resort’s use of cutting-edge, energy efficient equipment and technologies – most notably the use of geothermal heat rejection to replace the need for chillers and cooling towers, which emit harmful greenhouse gases and are among the top consumers of water and electricity at resorts. This process provides cool air conditioning throughout the 393-villa resort and saves thousands of gallons of water every day.
The 16-acre property’s native and water-efficient landscaping also contributes to its eco-friendly status. More than 75-percent of the plants are native or endemic to the island of Maui (specifically the district of Lahaina), supporting the naturally occurring ecosystem; the landscape requires less irrigation, and reduces potable water usage by 65-percent.
Pursuing LEED Gold certification was a collaborative effort among Vistana Signature Experiences, the Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, general contractor Hawaiian Dredging, and the architecture and engineering team led by WCIT Architects. Arup was contracted to guide the process for stakeholders to help analyze the best cost-effective path to certification and to assemble the required documentation.
The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas continues continues to develop educational programs for 2019 around these features and the other LEED recognized efforts.