Villa Vigia: Vacation Rental Gone Solar

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Vacation Rental homes in Costa Rica like Villa Vigia have high demands for energy consumption. In an effort to conserve the natural environment and save energy, this vacation rental in Manuel Antonio just went solar.

It’s true--vacation rentals in Costa Rica have a high demand for energy consumption. Groups and families come from afar on vacation and turn the air conditioners down to zero. Housekeeping staff keep the washing and drying machines running constantly. Multiple daily showers keep the hot water heaters going. And of course there’s also the pool pump…

Sum it all up, and multiply it by the ‘vacation mentality’ of travelers on holiday with only a week to enjoy themselves—and you have a staggering electric bill. Some vacation rental villas in Manuel Antonio have electric bills of US$2,000 per month or higher when fully occupied. Not only does this have a huge impact on the profitability of vacation rentals at the end of the day—but also an indulgent drain on the natural environment.

The owners of Villa Vigia—a 4-bedroom luxury vacation rental villa in Manuel Antonio—were set on changing this. As avid environmentalists and platinum members of the Titi Conservation Alliance, a local conservation non-profit, they knew that it not only made economic sense—but was the right thing to do.

“We can’t very well ask people not to use the A/C, or wash their clothes,” says Pete Wilson, owner of Villa Vigia. “With a luxury vacation rental like Villa Vigia, we need to offer all the services—but also don’t want to feel like we’re having a huge impact on the environment.”

In early 2014, Pete hired Purasol to install 50 new solar panels, an ecologically-friendly ‘on demand’ water heater, a more efficient pool pump, less consumptive air conditioners and LED lighting throughout.

“We won’t reduce the impact to zero, but we’ll put a pretty good dent in it,” says Pete.

ICE, the local Costa Rican electric company, offers a program called the PPDGA (Plan Piloto de Generacion Distribuida Para Autoconsume), which allows properties with solar panel energy production to tie into the ICE electric grid and actually sell back any excess energy produced in exchange for credit. The conversion rate is 1 kilowatt hour of credit for 1 kilowatt hour produced—ie no commission.

Not only do these improvements in Villa Vigia take the villa in a more responsible, environmentally-friendly direction, but also allow renters to feel better about their impact. More efficient systems means less consumption, and with 50 solar panels the villa will now produce an estimated $500 per month in electricity.

Environmentally-friendly vacation rentals are the future of Costa Rica, and Villa Vigia is leading the movement.

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Kent Thompson
Villa Vigia
+506 2777-6815
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since: 11/2011
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