Our first night in Jackson, WY had us staying at the amazing Amangani Resort. The Amangani was constructed to blend in to the natural habitat and look as if it is part of the mountain. The builders did a very good job achieving that! By building the resort into the hill it is able to achieve considerable savings in its heating bills by relying on the hill for thermal mass. All the rooms face West, which provides the residents with amazing sunset views, but also provides much needed heat for the rooms in the Winter.
The coolest thing about the Amangani is the heated pool and Jacuzzi. I was out in 30 deg. F weather swimming laps! I also enjoyed sipping beer (Snake River pale ale is delicious) while watching the sun fall behind snow covered mountains.
These features are necessary for the world class resort that Amangani is, but I couldn't help thinking how much energy is used to heat the water 24 hrs a day in the winter.
What they really need is Solar Thermal heating for their pool. Why burn fossil fuel for 100% of your water heating needs, when you can use the Sun for a large portion of it?