SCARBOROUGH, Tobago -- The upscale Coco Reef Resort, which opened
in 1995, was designed with an eye toward conservation and minimal
environmental impact, according to John Jefferis, owner and
"Every aspect of hotel development relates to balance and
environmental sensitivity," Jefferis said.
In the construction of the 135-room resort, Coco Reef utilized
softwoods from the pine species, which are readily available and
quickly renewable, easing depletion of the rain forest. The floors
of the resort are finished with a handmade terra-cotta tile,
produced from a natural clay that does not require the use of
fossil fuel-generated energy to fire. To avoid production of
chemical and toxic waste that are hazardous to the environment,
"all of the paint products in the hotel are water based," Jefferis
The property also focuses on energy conservation, Jefferis said.
"The restaurants are open-air facilities that do not require air
conditioning," he said. In the guest rooms, the air-conditioning
units were selected for their low reliance on CDCs in the
refrigerant, and switches were installed to shut down the air
conditioning when the sliding glass doors are open.
Jefferis also said the property has placed cards in guest rooms
asking visitors to take part in efforts to cut down on water and
energy consumption by reusing bath towels. The hotel also installed
low-pressure shower heads and reduced the temperature of the hot
In another effort to reduce energy consumption, Coco Reef uses a
series of low-energy systems instead of the central boiler common
in large resort hotels.
In the area of waste disposal, Coco Reef installed a natural
sewage treatment plant, which utilizes natural enzymes and harmless
natural bacteria to convert contaminants to water. After passing
through an ultra-violet light box that replicates the sun's natural
bleaching effect, the water sits in a holding tank and is used to
irrigate the property.
As part of a Community Action Project, Coco Reef installed more
than 800 feet of pipe to treat all sewage from its neighboring
facility, Store Bay Beach, which has restaurants, bars and