There is much more to Terranea than meets the aesthetic eye. Underneath the resort’s obvious beauty lies a model for green and sustainable resort development. Terranea exemplifies how development and sound environmental stewardship can work collectively to achieve something remarkable.
Forty-five non-native, mature trees left behind on the Marineland complex were saved by Terranea. First they were meticulously boxed and moved to an on-premises nursery. Then they were strategically integrated into Terranea’s overall layout, becoming key focal points of the resort. The four magnificent, 30-foot coral trees standing proudly at each corner of the resort’s courtyard entrance are among these arboreal survivors.
The Long Point promontory where Terranea resides is also home to the inimitable California coastal sage scrub habitat, the natural home of many local protected species. Thus Terranea made every effort to protect the area’s natural ecosystem and further enhanced the biodiversity of the habitat.
Terranea landscaping features a drought-resistant, indigenous plant palette, cultivated locally from native plant material at a Palos Verdes seed bank and grown by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy. Among the indigenous plants are the Bright Green Dudleya and the Catalina Island Desert-Thorn, plants designated as threatened or endangered by the California Native Plant Society. These rare plants are only found in Palos Verdes, Catalina and the Channel Islands.
Terranea’s effort to enhance the coastal bluff habitat also provides a natural sanctuary for the El Segundo Blue Butterfly and the California Gnatcatcher, two indigenous species that are listed as endangered or threatened, respectively, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
During construction, Terranea had an on-site quarry providing 90,000 tons of material to build the resort. Plus 750,000 yards of earth were moved within the property; thus no land was removed. And 75% of materials from the former structures were recycled and used throughout the resort. These three measures alone saved thousands of truck trips and corresponding carbon emissions.
The cornerstone of Terranea’s sustainable practices is an emphasis on smart water management. The resort utilizes a multi-layered approach to protect and enhance local water quality, including the implementation of Best Management Practices, employing enormous underground storm filters to collect and treat 75% of storm runoff, along with bioswales to purify dry-weather and irrigation runoff.
In addition, only 25% of the resort is covered in impermeable material. The remaining 75% is “green space” that allows moisture to accumulate and drain, naturally recharging the groundwater. Even the three sparkling resort pools are treated with saltwater in lieu of chlorine, which is better for the environment and the swimmers.
Other more subtle sustainable initiatives at Terranea include sourcing food with a FLOSS philosophy of Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal and Sustainable; minimizing energy consumption with dimmers, motion detectors and CFLs (Terranea only consumes three watts of electricity per square foot to light the resort); using biodegradable golf tees; offering paperless check-in and check-out; and using low-mission vehicles throughout the resort.
There are countless eco-friendly standard operating procedures in place throughout Terranea, all striving for the ultimate goal of being a resort that is not only luxurious and beautiful but a dedicated steward of the cherished Peninsula environment.
Written by Michele Garber