Costa Rica Country Club

GEO Certified® 12/2011 GEO Re-Certified 12/2015
San Jose,
Costa Rica
Telephone: 506-22085000
Crcc__original

Executive summary (English & local language)

Costa Rica Country Club has continued its commitment to uphold its environmental conservation and social development goals to the central American region despite a few setbacks which it has encountered in the past few years. Despite the fact that the region has experienced uncommon droughts in the area which led the club to an increase in overall water consumption, the club is persistent on its continual improvement philosophy by consulting and hiring a third-party organization to increase the nozzle efficiency technology in its irrigation system to reduce natural resource consumption. Similarly, through the club´s energy monitoring process, they identified an increase in diesel consumption by the generator used to accommodate energy demand from tournaments and during the annual electrical system’s maintenance procedure. To counteract this increase in energy demand, the club will look to diversify its energy supply by installing a solar water-heater system for its pool to reduce the environmental impact derived from its operation. To complement its water and energy mitigation strategies, the club continues its intensive and detailed soil analysis procedure which dictates the course´s maintenance plan and regulates the type and volume of inputs required to maintain healthy soil and turf conditions. These actions, along with its overall disposition to operate in a sustainable fashion, make CRCC a benchmark on commitment to its long-term vision. Even at times when the club faced adversity from forces out of its control, the club continues to hold its head high and assure its members, staff and community that it will continue to lead by example and prove that, no matter the size of the golf course, it can still have a large impact on the world.

Costa Rica Country Club ha continuado su compromiso de mantener sus objetivos de conservación del medio ambiente y de desarrollo social a la región de América Central a pesar de algunos contratiempos que se ha encontrado en los últimos años. A pesar de que la región ha experimentado sequías poco comunes en la zona que llevó al club a un aumento en el consumo total de agua, el club es persistente en su filosofía de mejora continua mediante la consulta y la contratación de una organización de terceros para aumentar la eficiencia de la tecnología de aspersores en su sistema de riego para reducir el consumo de recursos naturales.
Del mismo modo, a través de proceso de monitoreo de energía del club, identificaron un aumento en el consumo de diesel por el generador utilizado para cubrir la demanda de energía de los torneos y durante el procedimiento de mantenimiento anual del sistema eléctrico. Para contrarrestar este aumento en la demanda de energía, el club buscará diversificar su abastecimiento energético mediante la instalación de un sistema de calentador de agua solar para la piscina y así reducir el impacto ambiental derivado de su funcionamiento. Para complementar sus estrategias de agua y de mitigación de consumo energético, el club continúa con su intenso y detallado procedimiento de análisis de suelos que dicta el plan de mantenimiento del campo de golf y regula el tipo y volumen de los insumos necesarios para mantener las condiciones de suelo y césped saludables. Estas acciones, junto con su disposición general para operar de manera sostenible, convierten el CRCC en un referente en el compromiso con su visión a largo plazo. Incluso en momentos cuándo el club se enfrentó a la adversidad por fuerzas fuera de su control, el club sigue manteniendo su cabeza en alto y asegura a sus miembros, al personal y a la comunidad que va a seguir liderando con el ejemplo y demostrará que, sin importar el tamaño del campo de golf, puede tener un gran impacto en el mundo.

Nature

The club clearly stands out of the rest of the golf courses in the nature section. The activities and procedures which the club has implemented to maintain its natural landscape and overall conditions is unparalleled. Through its tree replacement program, soil consultation surveys and natural landscape, the club is able to preserve its natural surroundings and provide an invaluable asset for its members.

CRCC has done a good job of continuing to involve third party organizations to help with its landscape assessments, specifically to keep enhancing its tree management plan. In addition, the club actively measures soil fertility and water quality through third-party surveys to maintain its environmental quality throughout the course. These actions and surveys have provided the club an incredibly useful tool to understand the site´s natural conditions and improve its management approach.

The habitats found on the golf course consist mostly of native grasses and local plant species.

The club continues to use Bermuda turf grass (cynodon transvaalensis) which is adequate for this region due to its natural strength and ability to maintain healthy conditions with a reduced need for fertilizing. Its compatibility with the course´s soil conditions provide an additional benefit for the use this turfgrass, as it can be seen on the club´s continuous soil surveys. The club´s strategy to maintain the original turfgrass planted, along with the use of native grass has helped the course maintain a natural synergy with its surroundings.

The information gathered from the various surveys which the club has performed provides the maintenance guidelines for the club to maintain and enhance the site´s natural conditions. These guidelines dictate the maintenance practices used on the golf course which include an adjusted cut angle during summer and winter to reduce stress, daily cut angle adjustment for greens and, most noticeably, an enormous effort to maintain tree species and provide new species and diversity. Since its initial certification in 2011, the club has planted three new mango trees which provide fruit for the club, and are committed to replacing 340 non-native trees in the next six years with native species that provide food and shelter to fauna. The trees to be removed have been selected based on their overall health, the volume of waste generated (leaves) and their potential for carbon sequestration.

Water

Compared with other golf courses around the world, water is not one of CRCC major problems to maintain the course´s quality. Throughout the course´s lifetime they have been privileged with sufficient water resources however, in the past few years, they have seen unusual droughts which have increased its water consumption. This situation can become a significant threat to the club´s operation if the region continues to receive reduced rainfall in the coming years. The club will try to counteract these conditions by increasing irrigation efficiency through the automated irrigation system as well as the improvement in nozzle efficiency.

CRCC uses ground water and surface water as sources of irrigation. Even through the irrigation efficiency increased with the automated irrigation system, overall water consumption increased due to unexpected droughts during this time period along with the members’ increased expectations for fairways and greens

The automated irrigation system, combined with the club’s ability to measure soil moisture on a daily basis to help increase irrigation efficiency in areas which are naturally damp have also proven to reduce the club´s environmental impact and increase its efficiency. The increased control in the irrigation system has positively impacted the playing surfaces´ texture and improved the overall playing conditions. The slow-released fertilizers have helped maintain the turfgrass´ color and health throughout the year. An external consulting audit for nozzle efficiency was performed by Durman Esquivel and found that the nozzles were not performing as expected. The reason why these low efficient nozzles have not been replaced is due to its high cost but the club has planned to replace them in the near future.

Energy

CRCC has the privilege of using renewable energy through the municipal power grid which is generated through hydroelectric plants. However, the club still needs to use other sources of energy to accommodate its operational needs and should focus its efforts on reduced demand on site.

During the last three years, the club saw an increase in diesel consumption due to the electric generator used for the annual ¨Copa del Café¨ tournament during the month of January to assist the club´s lighting system, as well as during the months of July and August when it is used as back up while maintenance is performed on the club´s electric system. To compensate for this added energy consumption, the club is planning on diversifying its energy supply by installing a solar water-heater for the pool and will continue substituting its incandescent lights for LED lights to reduce its energy demand.

Activities undertaken to diversify energy supply include: solar water heater for pool, Continuous substitution of incandescent lights for LED, Install occupancy sensors in 100% of bathrooms, Purchasing policy to change for energy efficiency appliances

Another activity undertaken to reduce energy consumption by the club is their initiative to provide bus transport for employees.

Supply Chain

CRCC has been exceptionally committed to its sustainable purchasing policies to try to mitigate its environmental impact and positively impact the regional economy. More than 95% of its food & beverage suppliers and 100% of its course supplies providers are found within 100 kms of the club. Furthermore, the club has made the commitment to implement preference for purchasing ISO 14001 certified suppliers.

The purchasing policies implemented by CRCC include: Local suppliers based on proximity radius (50, 100, y 100+ kms), 50% of products contain recycled content, Planned to implement purchasing policy for 14001 certified suppliers

The initiatives undertaken by CRCC to reduce turfgrass inputs include: Irrigation based on demand and increased turf length during dry season, and only herbicides are used in fairways tees and roughs. Insecticides are used sporadically where high insect concentrations are found with granular products such as Volaton or Mirex. The greens receive a preventive and corrective plague maintenance through the use of individual backpack aspersion.

The club continues to include waste management audits to evaluate, monitor and control the waste stream generated by the club´s operation. These actions not only have a positive environmental impact, but also a local economic benefit as they have decided to donate all its recyclable waste to a local NGO to help them fundraise.

Pollution Control

The club built a wash-pad during the original certification procedure and continues to maintain best practices in pollution control. The club continues to maintain its maintenance facilities in a manner that complies with best management practices to reduce pollution and employee accidents and/or hazardous conditions.

CRCC monitors its water quality through continuous water analysis (at least yearly)

CRCC provides proper waste water disposal through treatment plant, septic tank and oil separator

The club provided pictures of the chemical safety sheets, pesticide mixing zone, and fuel tanks to illustrate the proper handling used to store and use hazardous materials.

The club provided pictures of the chemical safety sheets, pesticide mixing zone, and fuel tanks to illustrate the proper handling used to store and use hazardous materials.

CRCC implements the use of slow release agents and no-spray buffer zones near water bodies to prevent pollution on the golf course.

Community

As it has been previously mentioned, the club has a deep commitment to helping its community and environment. As an additional effort to help local organizations, the club provides its facilities to store food for Hogar Divina Misericordia, a local foster home, and offers internships in technical schools for individuals in the community who wish to increase their professional education.

The club has extensive programs to promote employee wellbeing and education including: Use of paramedics on staff and a new emergency and occupational health plan developed in September 2015.

The club has a sustainability working group involving general manager and technical personnel

As part of its community relations, the club provides food storage for the foster home Hogar Divina Misericordia and also provides Internships for technical school.

The club has maintained its cultural heritage through its main building, which is 75 years old, and has been maintained as originally built.

The internal communication strategies implemented by the club include newsletter, magazine, and workshops.

The external communication channel for the club is its web site.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

CRCC continues to evolve in its operation methods to accommodate for its internal and external factors which affect its performance. Even when it has experienced major setbacks, it continues to fight for its values and prove that they can do well by doing things right.

Certification Highlights

The certification highlights for CRCC are its carbon sequestration strategy through a 6 year plan to eliminate non-native trees, and also its deep triple bottom-line community commitment (social, economic, environmental).