Archive for January, 2011

First LEED Platinum Hotel in California

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

olive oil press sculptureWhile most people venture to Napa valley looking for the ultimate Zin or even the latest trendy eatery, others (like those who arrive in Teslas) like to plug in at the region’s Greenest spots. Although dubbed by many as the in new in, chic, trendy inn, the sustainably designed Bardessono (named for environmentally conscious Italian family who still own the land) might be better described as a way for travelers to get their eco-solace on.

The first and currently only LEED-Platinum hotel in California, the Bardessono will give overnight guests the opportunity to truly appreciate the reuse and repurposing of almost every substance rather than just the Green classification acronym. That reuse extends not only to creative use of building and structural materials but also the creative aesthetic touches like the reused Corona bottle glass that outlines the bathroom mirrors.

Although Green and minimalist, the Bardessono offers nods to its Italian roots and well as Zen like touches. Thoughtfully placed within view of several rooms, the olive oil press sculpture offers meditation inducing water (reused) flow to represent olive oil. Not only does the piece offer a pleasing sight and sounds but the fact that the entire piece comes via salvaged items like the stone that used to be part of an 100 year old olive oil press makes it even more attractive.

The fact that Bardessono considers water such an important aspect not only with the various Zen like pieces but the fact that they value the H2O as a precious resource. In addition to the ubiquitous low flow water fixtures and toilets for the indoors, the outdoors contains landscaping designed with native and drought tolerant plants as well as a drip irrigation system. Even the grey and black water gets a second life as irrigation by the town of Yountville.

For us super Greenies who felt somewhat guilty about relaxing in the indoor whirlpool bath or the rooftop based outdoor hot tub and pool, we felt somewhat better knowing that the both solar and geothermal wells go toward heating both the hot tubs and pool. Even the room tubs contain a self-sanitizing feature so chemicals don’t have to be used to clean to fight mildew.

Although many hipsters consider this boutique hotel a new, hip, minimalist trendy overnight option, many guests don’t realize how much sustainable creativity went towards the design. Although some eco-travelers do make a special trip to the Bardessono (like the many electric car owners who know that they can recharge their car or we who arrived in a Prius) many don’t fully appreciate the full environmental thought and how hotels like this one will raise not only the Green building bar but also everyone’s consciousness.

Those Green values and education will help anyone get good night sleep.

Solar Pump in Hayes Valley

Friday, January 14th, 2011

solar pump

There wasn’t much sun we we took shots of this SolarPump located in the corner of the at the Hayes Valley Farm.

The 1950’s gas station style pump sits right where the old freeway exit used to be and according to some historical maps, back in the 50’s, prior to the freeway being installed, a gas station existed at that same corner on Laguna and Fell.

For even more info about the SolarPump, check out Sol Design Lab.

Visit to Organic Apple Farm in Mendocino

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

applesWelcome to 2011 and while we took a hiatus, and a few road trips, we discovered a few things outside of San Francisco. In Mendocino many wineries and coincidently grapes exist (some of which have an organic or even biodynamic angle) but on one particular day our palates had a taste for crunchy apples.

We stopped in at one of those apple stands while driving along Highway 128 and being that they offered conventionally grown apples we asked them about what chemicals they used. One lady replied that she didn’t know exactly but that they did spray. However she kindly mentioned their neighbors around the corner who grew organic apples. Back in the car.

Only because the lady pointed out the neighboring organic apple farm did we manage to find it. Although a sign for the Apple Farm does exist on Highway 128, it would be easy to miss. Pulling up into the farm, we immediately noticed the difference between the apple stands along 128. and this one.

The Apple Farm items (crates of apples, bottles of apple cider, apple vinegar) sit in a self-service corner with a change box and slot for the payment. Yes, they operate on the honor system here. It’s even easier to honor the fact that the Apple Farm has been operating organically since 1984. Since this place functions as a working farm they don’t operate tours per se but they allow visitors to wander though the orchards or even have lunch on the grounds. Those who ask nicely (and can find someone to ask) may even pick some fresh persimmons from the trees.

Crunch on some Sierra Beauties for those who like tart, crunchy apples and don’t overlook the “free box” of overripe persimmons and apples as they make great additions to a smoothie. And stopping here will make a great addition to any green-minded road trip to Mendocino.

Directions: Take Hwy 101 North, exit at Cloverdale (Boonville, Ft. Bragg, Hwy 128) continue NW on Hwy 128 to Boonville, continue on through Philo, 4 miles past Philo turn left at Philo/Greenwood Rd (also road to elk) farm is 1/4 mile on left at bridge.