Sandpearl Resort , A Leader in Sustainability


Sandpearl Resort- Clearwater Beach, Florida

**I interviewed the resort’s Director of Engineering Brian Grant for this assignment.


The Sandpearl resort is a waterfront 253 room upscale AAA 4 diamond resort. The property is 5.5 acres and is nestled directly on Clearwater Beach. The resort offers their guests 25,000 sq. ft. of function space, a 12,000 sq. ft. spa, a AAA 4 Diamond on site restaurant (Caretta’s on the Gulf), private boat slips, a 140,000 gallon lagoon style pool and enrichment programs tailored to guests of all ages. The resort was built 10 years ago by JMC Communities, replacing The Clearwater Beach Hotel. The Sandpearl Resort is a Florida Green Lodging member and the first resort in the state of Florida to become Silver LEED certified. The property hosts several programs designed to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water conservation and natural resource conservation. Since Sandpearl’s conception, we knew we would incorporate green building materials and energy management systems to limit our impact on the environment,” stated Stuart Arp, general manager of the Sandpearl Resort (Travel Agent Central Contributor, 2009).

The resort’s LEED Silver certification was earned by scoring points on these main features: chilled water air-conditioning system; in-room energy management system; common areas thermal comfort; heat recovery exhaust system; special glazing for windows/glass doors; low emission construction materials; construction waste conservation, geothermal pool heating system; ozone pool sanitizing system; extensive water conservation systems and waste conservation.


Low emission construction materials were used in the construction of Sandpearl Resort. Wood finishes, floor coatings, carpet adhesives, duct sealants, and interior paints were selected for their low chemical component emissions. The benefits of using these types of materials vs. standard materials are: improved air quality, reduces sick building syndrome symptoms/incidents and improves employee safety and health.

24 million pounds of construction materials, from the previous structure of The Clearwater Beach Hotel and from the building process of the new structure, were recycled for use in other construction projects locally. This amount could build around 80 2,000 sq. ft. homes. This saves from buying and using new materials, saves energy, reduces emissions and eliminates sending material to a landfill.

Climate Control and Energy Management

The resort is equipped with a state of the chilled water air conditioning system that uses water instead of Freon, which is typically used as a conventional cooler medium. This system saves around 30% of energy compared to other conventional cooling methods. The humidity is controlled in all spaces at 56 %, never higher or lower, keeping the indoor spaces healthy by being mold and mildew free. Every 60 minutes, the entire volume of indoor air is replaced by filtered air. This procedure reduces the air contaminates at a rate of around 100 cubic feet per minute. This healthy air also correlates with the use of low emission building materials previously mentioned above in the report.

All (guest) rooms heating and cooling units are motion activated (at the main door) when guests enter and leave their rooms. The temperature is adjusted to 76 degrees (hotel pre-set) when they leave the space. When the guests enter back into the room, the temperature adjusts to what they have individually set the temperature to. When rooms are not occupied with guests during low occupancy periods, the rooms are kept at 78 degrees. This type of in room management system, saves roughly 30% of energy consumption within the rooms (compared to not having any system at all).

A heat recovery exhaust system is used to capture energy from the already conditioned air before it is captured and returned outside as fresh air. The recovered energy is then transferred to the incoming air, before it enters the inside of the building. By transferring this energy, there is a savings of at least 75% in the preconditioning stage of the return of air back into building.

35% of the building’s roof being covered by a “false” roof, not only helped in scoring more points for their LEED certification, but most importantly helps in energy savings by preventing the Florida sun from beating down on the main roof all day.

All resort windows and sliding glass doors are glazed glass, double pane laminated, tinted, pressure and impact resistance, have a high level of UV protection and an improved insulation value. These features help with protection from the sun, impact resistance, storms, noise and energy savings.


Their water conservation system includes water saving faucets, toilets and showerheads. Using these fixtures alone, water savings are over 20%. The property also uses an advanced technology irrigation system on the property grounds. The property did have a state of the art laundry facility previously, but now ships their laundry out to a local company. A laundry truck comes once a day to drop off and pick up all laundry from the property. By using an outside company, this has cut costs tremendously by saving man hours, energy used with washers/dryers, detergents, maintenance, space, etc.


The resort has a beautiful zero entry 140,000 gallon lagoon style pool overlooking the beach and Gulf of Mexico. A special ozone pool sanitizing system is used as an alternative water purifier. This is a sanitizer that reverts back to its natural state, after eliminating contaminants. There are no residual chemicals in the water by using this system, so guests will not experience the typical chlorine smell and burning eyes associated with conventional chlorine/chemical systems.

The pool and spa both have a geothermal heating system. This type of system utilizes natural interaction of the Florida sun and the earth itself. Piping is drilled deep into a well in the ground drawing on the soil’s constant temperature. The absorbed heat of the earth is then pumped to the surface and keeps the resort’s pool and spa warm in cooler months. The system works in reverse in the summertime, adding some coolness to the summer waters. Using this type of system is free energy, like the heat recovery system used, for the property. Using the geothermal heating system, instead of a conventional natural gas system, the savings are equivalent to 1.5 million kilowatt- hours per year. This is a reduction of around 80% of energy use.

Sandpearl resort not only has sustainability in the structure of their property, but also in their practices as well. They have their own recycling system throughout the property. There are bins throughout and guests have a green bag in their rooms to put recyclables in. All of these items are placed down a chute, sorted and sent out to be recycled. They also participate in the Clean the World program, where they donate partially used soap and/or shampoo/conditioner to impoverished communities. Guests can use bicycles during their stay, it is included in their resort fee. If employees take the city bus to and from work, the resort will pay for their fare each way. They also have a share and ride program set up for their employees. The resort has great education boards, promoting their sustainability efforts, in the main lobby for all guests to see. They even do “green tours” twice a week or on request for guests wanting to learn more about all of their green efforts and practices. I was very impressed with the property itself and their commitment to sustainability all around.


Travel Agent Central Contributor. (2009, May 5th). Sandpearl Resort Earns Florida's LEED Green Building Certificate. Retrieved from Travel Agent Central :




Allen, H. (2018). Sandpearl Resort , A Leader in Sustainability. Retrieved from

1 Comment

To add a comment, please Log In.

Heather Van Allen (Author) wrote: 01-30-2018 23:04:46

My pictures would not copy over into the site!