This historic bed and breakfast boutique hotel provides quaint accommodations for travelers while working diligently towards environmental sustainability. The owners and innkeepers have transformed the long-standing historic El Primero Hotel into a green haven for local and international visitors and have incorporated sustainable action into nearly every aspect of its small business operations. In addition to the rooftop installation of 18 solar photovoltaic panels, which produce an average of 21 kilowatt hours of clean electricity to help run the hotel, El Primero has implemented a number of energy conservation measures, such as upgrading to ENERGY STAR® appliances and installing energy efficient lighting in each room. They have worked to conserve water by installing low-flow toilets and showerheads in each of the hotel’s bathrooms and have significantly reduced the amount of waste going to landfills through ambitious recycling efforts. These actions earned them a CoolCalifornia Small Business Excellence award in 2009.
Since that then, El Primero has gone even further by replacing all old TVs with newer LED/LCD units, changing manual light switches to those with motion sensors, and upgraded CFL lighting to LED (saving over 7% on their energy bill). They also plan to install a solar-wind hybrid power plant in 2014. In addition, they’ve established two compost bins for scrap food waste, planted palm trees to help shade the building over time, reused paint and purchased low-VOC products for maintenance, converted all watering systems to drip irrigation, and ride electric bikes for errands and meetings. Of particular importance to the innkeepers is educating guests about the hotel’s conservation efforts using placards in each room and through the food they serve. They grow fruits onsite such as pineapple, papaya and mangos that are served for breakfast, and offer seedlings to guests as a memento of their visit to their hotel. El Primero prides itself on being a rare gem in the heart of downtown Chula Vista, highlighting the local area’s historic treasures and emphasizing the importance of environmental sustainability.