Our sustainability approach to our courses also varies depending on the destination. At Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club outside Austin, Texas, we designed the Fazio golf course to utilize treated wastewater for irrigation, thereby ultimately eliminating any need for municipal water use.
How does sustainability figure into the planning stages?
You first must comply with local regulations. Depending on the area, some regulations are focused on the coastal environment, some places prioritize storm water drainage and others, site disturbance mitigation. We want the homes to look like they were dropped in, rather than forced in.
Discovery is also introducing alternative energy to its communities. Can you explain how?
Different areas of the world source their energy from different sources, and we analyze the region, soils and weather as we strategize our energy plan.
For instance, the majority of Costa Rica is already hydro-powered, so we won’t need solar panels, despite it being sunny year-round. At Troubadour [Golf & Field Club] near Nashville, the site is a wonderful location for geothermal heating and cooling, so we are pursuing that.
Overall though, most of our communities have the ability to pursue electric-powered transportation. Transportation on-site is almost all by golf cart, which can be charged on solar. We also provide shuttles and are looking to get a fleet of electric vans. And, we’re suggesting solar power in our design guidelines for custom homes.
How is Discovery minimizing its use of plastics?
We’ve pretty much done away with all plastics. Water bottles and straws were our biggest culprits. Now, we use straws made from agave that biodegrade. We also give all homeowners reusable water bottles and have installed water-refill stations throughout the communities. In the instances that we need to offer water in single-use bottles, we’re working with a company called Zen. All the bottles are made from recycled oceanbound plastic.