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Casa Vale da Lama
is a sustainable eco resort, and it was designed and constructed to be a perfect balance between quality hospitality and sustainability while maintaining a humble and farm-house like quality; and we pride ourselves in having almost achieved such a balance.
As you may be familiar, sustainability is at the forefront of our values, so there are a few characteristics of Casa that we want all our guest to be familiar with. These characteristics are an intrinsic part of your unique experience when staying with us.
Casa is strategically located far enough from city centres to be quiet and calm, but close enough that if you crave a bustling atmosphere, you can get it within 30 minutes of driving. But that is not the only reason. Here you are also close to the beach (Meia Praia), close to Ria de Alvor (an estuary with an extremely diverse ecosystem) and to the calm country side, to which you can easily bike to. Making this a place where you can experience a little bit of everything without having to travel too far.
“…sustainability is at the forefront of our values…”
Casa is also enclosed inside an organic farm, Quinta Vale da Lama. Quinta is a farm dedicated to the regeneration of their soils and ecosystem, the farm practices sustainable techniques every day, and is committed to offering its community quality produce, powerful knowledge and unique experiences “closer to nature”.
Quinta Vale da Lama is Casa’s most important partner, beacuse it provides:
× The 43 hectares of land Casa stands on;
× Fresh organic and sustainably grown fruits, vegetables and herbs to our kitchen, that make part of your breakfasts, snacks and your meals at our restaurant;
× Experiences with its knowledgeable farmers and land carers in contact with its beautiful nature;
× Contact with its farm animals: sheep, donkeys and chicken;
× Paths and spaces for anyone to explore and marvel in.
Beyond being located on a farm that works hard to be conscientious and respectful of the land, this sustainable eco resort puts in a lot of effort in respecting and giving back to nature.
Starting with its construction
… although Casa had to legally be built with conventional methods, it is a sustainable building beacuse of the use of solar-passive designs and sustainable water systems that help keeping the consumption of energy low:
× Its architecture includes a curved long corridor that, in the warm months, allows the breeze that runs through it to cool down and keep the house cool.
× In the colder months, we stop this breeze, and the angle that the windows face helps harbouring the low laying sunlight to warm the house.
× Casa also uses a powerful custom-made fireplace that burns wood slowly while absorbing the heat and releasing it long after the fire is extinguished, this way we use less wood for more heat.
× Included in its construction is floor heating, small pipes of water run through the floor of Casa, this water is heated with solar energy; or natural gas as a back up for when the sun is not shining.
× The electricity running through the house comes from our rotating solar panels.
There is still a lot more about what makes Casa a sustainable eco resort.
Keep reading on…
A lot happens bellow the ground
and inside the pipes of Casa, more specifically our water system. We source our water from the local grid, just like any other house, but its how we use it that makes the difference:
× The water from the taps and showers, called grey water, is treated in farm on our own water treatment facility.
× This grey water, once it is treated is used for irrigation and to flush the toilets.
× The black water, is the water that comes from the toilets, are also treated in our farm but they are only used for irrigating non-fruiting trees;
× This way, we are reusing water that would other wise be wasted.
There is also a lot happening with our waste and trash too:
× We are adamant about recycling all plastics, tins, glasses and paper; but still our main goal is to keep the use of these materials very low, especially plastic.
× We provide recycling bins on our property for our clients to dispose of their trash;
× As for organic waste such as food scraps, we have our own composting bin that slowly breaks down the waste over many months and turns it into a nutrient rich compost, that once ready, we put back in the soil when we plant trees or new plants on the gardens;
× Some of these food scraps, such as veggie peels, tops and old leaves, dry bread, and other leftovers, are fed to the chickens, this way there is no waste of food;
Inside your rooms
you will notice differences too:
× The soaps are biodegradable, refillable and natural, which not only helps keep waste low and is better for our water treatment system, but is also softer on your skin and hair;
× The furniture is timeless, hand made and repurposed, thus avoiding trends and prolonging their life;
× By default, we do not change towels daily, unless our guests request it;
× We use organic, biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning products;
× We do not have air conditioning. Instead, like mentioned before, we use shade and wind to cool the rooms. And sunlight and solar powered floor heating to warm the rooms, this what we call solar passive heating and cooling.
× We don’t have televisions, this detail is not for sustainability, but for mindfulness and slow traveling: a concept that Casa embodies in its fullness as we aim to provide our guests with a regenerative stay for the body, mind and soul.
And last but not least, our outdoor pool has got some interesting characteristics:
× The treatment of the water is done through a salinisation process that allows us to avoid the use of strong chemicals like chlorine, keeping it chemical free,
× The pool is not heated, however the way it has been designed keeps the cold north winds away from it and it faces south for maximum sun exposure, making its temperature pleasant.
Lets talk food, beacuse we all know that going on holiday is half about experiences and 100% about food.
× All meals are exclusively vegetarian to keep our carbon footprint low and not contribute to industrial animal farming,
× This includes our breakfast, meaning we don’t serve meats or cold cuts. But worry not because we have plenty of local cheeses and eggs that will take good care of your rumbling stomach every morning;
× Our restaurant aims to serve dishes made entirely with local and seasonal ingredients to avoid industrial farming and support the local economy;
× To keep our waste low we have: soup of the day, made with the “ugly” veggies;
× We avoid packaged goods whenever possible, and prioritise buying in bulk or making it ourselves.