A Green Retreat on a Greek Island
Photo: Hotel Americana
When you live in a place where three-fourths of the population makes its living from tourism, it only makes sense to try to preserve what people come to enjoy. At the popular beach destination of Kos, one of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, "the concept of 'going green' is still fairly strange," says Hotel Americana proprietor Chris Kordistos, but she's been taking small, steady steps to reduce her business's impact on the island’s natural environment.
A Kos native who grew up in New York, Kordistos returned to the island about 15 years ago and has run the Americana for the past four years. Last winter, she embarked on a renovation project that included some green initiatives. I asked her to tell me a little bit about the process.
"One of my pet peeves was the oil-burning boiler that supplied the hotel with hot water," Kordistos says. She had the old system torn out and gave it to a local man who collects scrap metal and sells it to recycling plants on the mainland, then installed six 200-liter drums and solar panels on the roof to provide hot water for the hotel. "It worked like a treat!" she says. "In case of bad weather, the system is backed up by electricity, but thankfully, we haven’t had to use it with the glorious weather we have on Kos!"
"It’s a slow process to get things as green as I can. Any change calls for an initial outlay of money and time, but I'm always researching things that will be realistic to do and I'm always open to new ideas," Kordistos says. "Rome wasn't built in a day and I figure that if I can do a little bit at a time, it will eventually all come together."
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