Go Green – Hawaii

as told by Susan C. Bredo of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

Preserving Hawaii’s resources, environment and culture is an important part of the resort experience at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island.  The resort, recognized as one of Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Hotels, is often referred to a destination within a destination, where you don’t need to leave Mauna Lani Bay’s sprawling 30 acre property to learn about Hawaiian culture and sustainable practices.

Since opening in 1983, Mauna Lani Bay has upheld its environmentally sensitive mission that has remained true to the Hawaiian practice of malama ‘aina, or responsible stewardship of the land. The traditional name of the land that Mauna Lani Bay sits on is called, Kalahuipua’a.  Here you will find a treasure trove of archaeological sties, royal fishponds and prehistoric lava formations.  It is also here that King Kamehameha the Great maintained his royal fishponds, a canoe landing and fishing village.

Mauna Lani Bay offers its guests complimentary cultural activities that celebrate, entertain and educate.  Activities include  Hawaiian historic tours, traditional throw net fishing demonstration, Petroglyph hikes, talk story sessions, fish feeding tours, lei making classes, coconut frond weaving classes, ukulele lessons and coconut husking. 

Many of our cultural programs are lead by Danny Akaka, Mauna Lani Bay’s Hawaiian Historian. Danny leaves a lasting impact on those he comes into contact with. Many visit Hawaii with the mission of seeking Danny out and learning from him first-hand about Hawaii’s rich history and culture.

Each month on the Saturday closest to the full moon Mauna Lani hosts the free Twilight at Kalahuipua’a event open to the resort’s guests, visitors to the island and the community. It’s an evening with local kupuna (elders) as they gather to perpetuate the traditional folk art of story-telling, with plenty of music and dance thrown in for good measure.

Mauna Lani Bay is widely recognized for its Honu program. Since 1989, the resort has received juvenile Honu(Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle) from Oahu’s Sea Life Park and has raised them in the saltwater ponds of the resort.  The Honu are cared for until they grow to a size and weight that is deemed appropriate for release into the ocean. Each July 4 the resort hosts Turtle Independence Day and over the years has released more than 200 Honu into the wild.

Mauna Lani’s innovative approach to green power has earned it the distinction of generating the most solar electric power of any resort in the world.  The resort’s hallmark photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system generates 1,150,250 kWh of green power and produces 13-18% of energy needs per day.  The PV system supplies the majority of the resort’s daytime water pumping requirements and during peak time it can power the entire 6th floor of the hotel.  The resort’s golf shop operates on solar power and at Mauna Lani Spa, the PV system heats the lava watsu treatment pool.

It’s estimated that over the 25-year lifetime of the PV system, solar-generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by almost 12,000 tons.

Think green, live green is a way of life across all levels of hotel operations where the focus is on reducing the carbon footprint. Other initiatives include a water system that pumps three to five million gallons of brackish water per month to water 38 golf holes, mulching green waste for fertilizer, a comprehensive resort-wide recycling program, programmable guest room thermostats with occupancy sensors, sourcing produce within 100 miles and raising palm trees and hibiscus plants rather than sourcing externally.

Mauna Lani Bay is proud to share its green initiatives and regularly accepts requests for tours of the property from hotel industry peers, government departments and energy research groups from all corners of the globe.  By actively showcasing all that it does, the resort hopes to encourage others to follow its lead. 

For more information about Mauna Lani Bay’s cultural and green programs click here.

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