The Bio-Itzá Reserve Eco-Cottage Senior Design Team from Colorado School of Mines designed and modeled a self-sustaining eco-village to help generate a sustainable source of revenue for the Maya-Itzá community in Northern Guatemala. This initial design is being used by the Tikal-Peten Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Fort Collins to implement the design, train the community in business skill, and ensure sustainability. The project includes three systems that address water, power, and living accommodations. Extensive community engagement was used to incorporate the feelings of the villagers and to sustain the Maya-Itzá culture. The initial design team traveled to the site in Guatemala and maintained communication with the community to investigate the site, hold a community assessment meeting, and ensure that the final design represented the goals of the Bio-Itzá community. Ultimately, the team and community collaborated on a design of three cottages with rain catchment and off grid power systems to best accomplish the community's conservation goals. The design also included retrofitting an existing structure, building a storage structure to house the power system, and designing a pavilion for medicinal plant and other Mayan Culture workshops. In conjunction with the Maya-Itzá community, the project developed detailed designs and constructions drawings to contribute to the community's mission for conservation and preserving their culture.
The intent of this Global Grant is to replace the cottage buildings with more cost effective "Glamping" platforms/tents and to implement the building retrofits, the water and power systems, and the educational pavilion for the Mayan community to sustain their community and their culture through eco-tourism. Business training and maintenance training will be included to ensure sustainability of the project.
Sustainability Plans Include:
--Revenue from operations/donations will fund maintenance, road repair, fire mitigation, etc..
**Preserving the Mayan Culture
--utilizing Mayan symbols
--building a pavilion for the reserve to help educate guests on the medicinal plants used traditionally by the Maya-Itzá, traditional Mayan cooking, and the Maya-Itzá culture.
**Protecting the Environment
--maintaining the existing building, utilizing local knowledge on building materials
--restoring the wastewater system, using solar energy, and preventing new lumber from being cut down.
--education/training will be provided on business planning, financial management, marketing/promotion, etc...
--includes more formalized governance and use of an advisory board for the association.
**Ease of Maintenance
--road improvements for visitor accessibility and lower cost maintenance
--maintenance training and operations/maintenance manuals will be provided in Spanish.
note that thatched roofs are difficult to maintain but hold significant value to the community. The project will preserve some of the existing thatched roofs, but will use new corrugated metal roofs on new structures.
**Security: Theft has been an issue in the past. The design includes localizing the water treatment, batteries, and electrical equipment in one structure that will be locked.
Please see a detailed overview and design document under the "Documents" tab.