Green Building in St John USVI

Building Green in the USVI

St John in the US Virgin Islands has a reputation of being a natural paradise with two-thirds of the island being preserved as a National Park. Living in harmony with the environment is critical on such a small island which is only 9 miles long and 3 miles wide. To maintain the beauty of the island and its environmental integrity there is a push for private developers and owners to adopt an ecological approach to living on the island.

This year a comprehensive guide book was produced to advise all on all aspects of green living on the island. The contents of this booklet includes an outline of the native trees and vegetation, an overview of eco-friendly building, recipes to make green household cleaners and insights into the recycling and disposal of solid waste.

There are also a range of insightful tips for those who are new to the island and ways that visitors can minimize their environmental impact whilst on vacation. The booklet was produced by the Unitarian Universalist Church Green Committee and can be easily downloaded from their website.

St John also has some “Environmental Guidelines for Sustainable Residential Development” which aim to ‘promote the building of structures on St. John in balance and harmony with nature.’ This PDF guide instructs on all aspects of green building from site planning to the avoidance of light pollution and erosion control recommendations.

St John is well known for pioneering in the eco-building field with Maho Bay, one of the worlds first ecolodges constructed in 1976, still going strong. The newer sister operation, Concordia Eco-tents, has built on their successes and consists of site sensitive which utilize innovative technology and renewable energy systems to coexist with minimal impact on the fragile ecosystem.

Much of the information contained in these resources and examples are widely applicable to other Caribbean islands, so wherever you are in the region, take a look and go green!

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