When we talk about the environmental sustainability of Pikaia Lodge, we can’t limit it to the environmental sustainability of our buildings and its operation. We have to question the very existence of Pikaia Lodge. One school of thought is that tourism, and the development of more tourist infrastructure will harm the unique wildlife of the Galapagos, and this is a valid concern and one that we share.
However, many people involved in the work to achieve equilibrium between development and preservation, including the Galapagos National Park Service and the Ecuadorian environmental authorities, believe that eco-tourism is an important part of the solution to preserving the Galapagos Islands. The key is tight regulation and effective management. The Galapagos tourism model is not, and will never be, similar to the hedonistic, resource-intensive model of south-east Asia or the Caribbean.
Neither is it Ibiza, nor Hawaii, with mass tourism and massive hotel infrastructures, casinos, golf, discos, crowded beaches and condos. The Galapagos model is designed exclusively for a controlled number of very selective eco-tourists, who will eschew over-development; this is why people travel to the Galapagos in the first place.
Ecuador understands that the islands are fragile and must be protected. A strict Galapagos law, internationally recognised as a landmark legislation, has been put in place specifically to prevent such overdevelopment. This law limits even the constitutional right for Ecuadorians to settle in the islands, to prevent overpopulation and reduce demand on resources. But the Galapagos Islands do face complex local, social and economic challenges, which we are working to identify and address.
The Lodge is carbon neutral, and powered with a mix of conventional and alternative energy sources that do not pollute or emit greenhouse gases. Recent technologies allow the Lodge to use photovoltaic solar power, and "grid tied", which means that the Lodge is connected and feeding electricity to the islands' electrecity grid. The Lodge aims to produce gradually enough electricity during the day as a surplus to compensate the amount that it uses from the grid. All Lodge emissions of CO2 will be vastly compensated and offset by the Lodge's endemic trees reforestation program.
Interior and exterior illumination uses state-of-the-art ultra-efficient LED's and energy-saving fluorescent bulbs. Exterior lighting is low, in order to not attract insects, birds or bats and therefore prevent changing their natural feeding habits. There are solar luminescent materials for exterior signaling, and water is heated by advanced, highly efficient solar collectors. Kitchen, laundry and spa equipment uses clean LPG gas.
Pikaia Lodge water comes from Pto. Ayora’s municipal wells, transported to the lodge by reliable third-party transportation to fill our water reservoirs. Using existing local businesses for this negates bringing more vehicles to the island, and fulfils our social responsibility pledge to use existing local businesses wherever possible. This well-water is treated with UV and ozone, but should not be considered potable.