Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An Ecological Resort in Costa Rica Celebrates Sustainability

By Francesca Lyman, Freelance Journalist and Managing Editor, Solaripedia
Finca Rosa Blanca is an ecological coffee plantation resort in Costa Rica where the proprietors use the power of the sun, natural wastewater treatment, sustainable materials, local food, native plantings, and organic coffee growing methods to wed natural beauty and luxury with long-term sustainability.
The resort sits almost 4,000 feet above sea level, on nine acres overlooking the capital city of San Jose in the valley far below. Finca Rosa Blanca rests in the shadow of Barva Volcano - directly above the resort - the largest in land mass of the many volcanoes in Costa Rica. Visitors also discover wild rivers and cascading waterfalls, big cats, quetzals, tapirs and eagles. Roughly a quarter of Costa Rica's area is made up of National Parks. Finca Rosa Blanca also offers lessons in creating a “green” bedroom in your own home, as well as lessons in sustainability on a broader level.

Solar-Powered Greenhouse Fosters New Growth in Old Pittsburgh Neighborhood

In the economically distressed Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh sits a greenhouse that is mere feet from city utilities infrastructure, but there are no city utility connections in this building. Powered exclusively by energy from the sun through a revolutionary DC micro grid, the Homewood greenhouse requires no supplementary heat, energy, or water. Inside the greenhouse, Oasis Farms and Fishery is perfecting the revolutionary agricultural technology called aquaponics, where plants are combined with aquatic life to create a sustainable, diverse system of food growth and cultivation. It is a revolutionary urban farming initiative that provides a model for agricultural, economic, and sustainable development for even the most remote and under-privileged locations. Designed to increase food productivity and density, especially in urban areas, this experimental greenhouse not only grows food, but acts as a global model for developing nations.

The greenhouse includes:
  • Aquaponics systems to grow plants and fish
  • A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education classroom under a solar canopy
  • A rainwater collection and purification system, with both 1,200 and 500-gallon cisterns, that uses a series of ultraviolet light, filters, and pumps to make the water safe for the aquatic living environment
  • Maintenance-free materials and design
  • Zero operating cost