By exceeding federal and state environmental regulations and working to conserve natural resources, prevent pollution, and reduce waste, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel is now the third hostel in the HI-USA Golden Gate Council network to become a Certified Green Business through the Bay Area Green Business Program.
Already an eco-friendly institution thanks to HI-USA's Green Hostels Project, the hostel made additional changes to come into compliance with green regulations, including:
- Equipping each kitchen sink in the hostel with an aerator that decreases water flow to 1.5 gallons per minute, without decreasing water pressure.
- In the bathrooms, installing water-conserving showerheads, and sink faucets with a metered, automatic shut-off to avoid wasting water.
- Installing a new, more efficient, propane furnace in the hostel's "Whale" guest house, bringing the building's heating efficiency up to 90%.
- Replacing the old T12 fluorescent lighting with a mercury-free, Energy Star T8 fluorescent lighting system, which lasts longer, burns brighter, and saves electricity in the process.
- Installing new Energy Star appliances, including new refrigerators in the kitchens and two pairs of washers and propane-powered dryers.
- Using solar-powered LED lights for the hostel's outdoor pathways, motion-sensor LED lights on the back doors to the guest houses, and compact fluorescents with photocells in the front area.
These changes were made in addition to the green practices already in place at the hostel:
- Using low V.O.C. paint, caulking, and floor adhesive in hostel maintenance.
- Using non-toxic, organic, chlorine-free, tea tree oil-based cleaning and laundry products.
- Hanging hostel laundry on outdoor clotheslines as opposed to using the dryer on sunny days.
- Encouraging guests to participate in the on-site composting program, which includes a dual-tank composting tumbler and composting bins in every kitchen.
- Maintaining a full recycling program for paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, and batteries, as well as a hazardous waste disposal program for old fluorescent lights.
- Utilizing four-cycle timers on the hostel's thermostats, which adjust at various times of day to conserve energy.
Aside from the eco-friendly changes the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel has been undergoing, some other exciting additions have been made to the hostel recently. Seven new beds have been added to the "Pelican" guest house, and new stainless steel countertops have been installed in the hostel's kitchen (also an eco-friendly choice).
Another big change to the kitchen is the addition of a new, ADA-compliant sink in the "Dolphin" guest house, which is the first in a series of upcoming ADA renovations. The sink has three basins for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing, and is wheelchair accessible.
The Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel is the third HI-USA Golden Gate Council hostel to become a Bay Area Green Business; the first was the Marin Headlands Hostel, certified in 2006, followed by the Point Reyes Hostel in 2007.
The Bay Area Green Business Program is a partnership of environmental public agencies that assists, recognizes, and promotes businesses and government agencies that volunteer to operate in a more environmentally responsible way. The program is currently offered in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties.