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Pavilions Himalayas

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tbculture 24 March 2022

● SONA Architecture Excellence Award 2020 (Category: >1000Sq. M.)

Project name: Pavilions Himalayas
Location: Pokhara
Gross Built Up area in 3000 Sq. M
Completed Year: 2016
Architect: Ar. Alex Shrestha
, Wonaw & Associates

Hotels and Resorts have an enormous appetite for resources in order for them to operate and function properly. A lot of electricity is required, either from the mains or from diesel generators; cooking gas and food are also required at mammoth scales. They consume huge amounts of water either from the municipal supply or extract from the ground, eventually depleting the water table. And in return, they produce considerable amounts of waste, pollution and put a lot of pressure on commodities and resources.

On the contrary, the recently opened Pavilions Himalayas (www.pavilionshotels.com/himalayas) is unique and first of its kind self-sustainable Eco Resort project in Nepal and probably one of the very few environment-friendly resorts in Asia. The eco-friendly design sets an unprecedented new standard in the hospitality industry with many environmentally friendly features and will be an inspiration for future resorts. Here are a few of its salient features:

The Pavilions Himalayas Eco resort is located in a valley near Phewa Lake, Pokhara, Nepal. Surrounded by farmland, forested hills, and a mountain-fed stream, the 14 luxurious eco-friendly villas form the natural landscape. Spread over organic farmland, the resort respects the natural elements, showcasing village life in Nepal.

The resort has been conceptualized to be a part of the village and eco-friendly in every sense possible with a minimal footprint on the environment from its early design stage to its construction and actual finishing. The use of local materials, workforce, indigenous technology, and local architecture blended with eco-friendly technologies and practices have been the guiding principles for the design.

Introduction

The structures are built on single and split level configurations, using the natural topography to minimize the disturbances to the flow of the land. The villas are built spaciously with the latest amenities to give a sense of comfort and luxury. Latest construction technology along with traditional architecture and local craftsmen also make the buildings safe, energy-efficient, and coherent to the local surroundings.

Ceiling: XPS insulation has been laid on top of the roof slab and clad with natural stone slates in conformity to the local architecture. The interior side also has a gypsum board ceiling with an air cavity, these measures substantially reduce energy transfer and keep the interior space comfortable during all seasons.

Walls: XPS insulation was used in between the external cavity walls; this provides excellent thermal insulation and increases the energy efficiency of the villas. Natural stones have been used for the external walls to depict the local architecture and give a rustic look. The stone pieces were also carved individually into shape by hand.

Floor: Natural hard and softwood has been laid on top of XPS insulation, which again provides excellent thermal insulation and increases the energy efficiency of the villas. This saves as much as 15% of the heat in a room.

The natural wood also gives a luxurious and warm feeling to the interior space.

Windows: Large double-glazed windows have been placed strategically to allow natural air flow into the rooms as well as to provide a clear and open view into the surrounding natural landscape.

The insulated windows also help minimize noise and maintain a comfortable temperature inside the room through all seasons without compromising comfort. 

This also means that the costs of heating and cooling are substantially reduced.

Electricity: The resort is run by solar electricity produced within the resort. Carefully selected electrical lights and appliances used in the villas are run by solar electricity produced within the resort itself. Efficient LED bulbs have an exceptionally long lifetime and give significant energy savings while enhancing the interior space, they are also controlled by infrared motion sensor switches which turn on the lights only when needed thus saving energy.

Heating and Cooling: The resort does not use Air conditioners to heat or cool the rooms. The extensive use of insulation throughout the building, natural cross ventilation through windows and louvers and passive solar design help keep the room’s temperature at around a comfortable 23 degrees centigrade throughout the year. Electric fans and a fireplace that burns natural briquettes are available if necessary.

Hot Water: Each villa has two efficient flatbed solar panels to heat water for the majority of the year.  This is a cost-effective way to generate hot water for and the fuel sunshine, is free.

If for any reason the water is not hot enough, due to overcast skies during the monsoon or winter seasons, then the centralized heat pumps automatically start to transfer the heat in the air to heat the water, thus ensuring hot water at any given time.

Water: All the structures have large roofs which collect rainwater, and are channeled by gutters to large underground tanks in every villa. This is filtered naturally and reused for all the guests’ needs, in the showers, tubs, and sinks. This undoubtedly saves a lot of water.

Rainwater harvesting provides over 50 percent of the resort’s water needs.  This not only saves water but saves money and reduces our impact on the environment.

Waste Water: The soapy ‘grey water’ produced from the shower, sinks, and bathtubs are also treated using natural methods by bio-sand filters and plants, and then reused for flushing the toilets and landscaping purposes reusing precious water.

Excess greywater is used for fishponds and farming, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies.

Black Water: The sewage from the villas flows into a centralized biogas plant, and along with the cattle manure from the farm, methane gas is produced. This gas flows into the main kitchen and is used as fuel to cook food for the resort. Currently, 6-7 gas cylinders worth of cooking gas are produced from the waste.

Food: Fresh organic food, staple crops, fruits, vegetables, milk, and meat are farmed within the resort for the guests throughout the year. The villagers are also encouraged to supply local produce to the resort thereby supporting the local economy.

The residue manure produced from the biogas plant is used as fertilizers in the fields to grow food. This not only saves money, but it allows the guest to comprehend the ecosystem in a practical way.

Swimming Pool: Rainwater is integrated into the pool and regular salt along with a salt chlorinator is used to clean the pool water.

Chlorine generators eliminate the need for most swimming pool chemical maintenance, lowering maintenance costs. Other advantages include reduced skin and eye irritation, no harsh chemical odors, and swimmer safety.

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