By exceeding federal and state environmental regulations to conserve natural resources, prevent pollution, and reduce waste, the hostel received certification through the Bay Area Green Business Program in March.
Some of the changes the hostel made to come into compliance included:
- 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.
- Replacing the old T12 fluorescent lighting with a low-mercury, Energy Star T8 fluorescent lighting system, which lasts longer, burns brighter, and saves electricity in the process.
- Installing new Energy Star appliances, including two pairs of high efficiency washers and dryers.
- Insulating hot water heaters and pipes to conserve energy.
- Switching to all-natural, biodegradable cleaners.
- Using solar-powered LED lights for the hostel's outdoor pathways and motion-sensor solar LED lights outside the bicycle storage room.
- Installing motion detector fluorescent lights in the hallways.
These changes were made in addition to the green practices already in place at the hostel:
- Encouraging guests to participate in the on-site composting program, which includes a composting tumbler made of recycled plastic and composting bins in every kitchen.
- Maintaining a full recycling program (paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aseptic containers, and batteries) as well as a hazardous waste disposal program for old fluorescent lights and used ink cartridges.
- Providing filtered drinking water as opposed to selling bottled water, and offering metal Klean Kanteens for below retail cost.
- Utilizing only recycled paper products.
- Using compostable to-go cups at the hostel's espresso bar, which serves locally roasted, organic, fair-trade coffee and espresso drinks.
In addition to all the green compliance updates, the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel boasts some additional changes. New tile floors and modular carpeting have been installed in the private room annex. The guest kitchens have new stainless steel countertops, sporting three-basin sinks for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing. New wood-frame furniture can be found throughout the hostel's lounges, which is designed to be infinitely renewable, as the wood can be refinished and the cushions reupholstered (as 1/3 of the hostel's current pieces were).
The Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel is the fourth 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 and the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel in 2008.
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.