I am doing my part to move towards a greener inn. But when can I say that I have a green property? Is there a formula where I can plug in all the green stuff I do and it spits back how green (or not green) I am? Maybe I’m closer to lime green than forest green and I need to do “x” number of greening items before I’m totally green. At what point can I advertise myself as a green property? These are all questions I am very interested in finding the answers to.
In the meantime, here’s what I have done, am doing, or plan to do in the very near future to help:
- water conservation – I recently bought a rain barrel to capture and reuse rain water. I bought a tankless water heater and plan to replace my hot water heaters with tankless versions. The first one to replace is the water heater in the Carriage House. I’ll have to buy 2 tankless water heaters in order to replace the one ginormous water heater in the Inn. I have notices in all guest bathrooms asking guests to reuse their towels to help conserve water.
- recycling – I have multiple recycling bins for glass, plastic, aluminum, newspapers, cardboard, and magazines. I put a recycling bin in the Breakfast Room for guests to help recycle instead of throwing out their trash. I also save shopping bags (plastic and paper) and packing materials and use them for gift shop purchases and for doggie doodie bags for our pet guests. By recycling bags, in the 3+ years of owning the Inn, I have never had to purchase gift shop bags, tissue paper, or dog pickup bags.
- energy/electricity savings – I have moved to almost 100% florescent light bulbs throughout the Inn, the Carriage House, and the property. I also have as many lights as possible on timers (inside and out). I plan to buy a clothesline so that I can line dry sheets and towels during the warmer months, thus saving on using the dryers. There is so much more that I can and need to do to save energy, but it is going to take a while to implement everything I want to do.
- organics – I have recently planted herbs, vegetables, and fruits so that I can grow some foods that I’ll use in my cooking. Depending how everything goes with the few things I have planted (my green thumb goes only as far as the middle of my thumb), I may expand in the coming months. I’m also looking into purchasing organic bedding as my current bedding wears out or needs replacement. I’m still tentative on this because organic (bamboo specifically) bedding is quite expensive. Hopefully, costs will go down. My bathroom amenities supplier is also offering some organic and eco-friendly items so I will start to switch over to those products as my current ones run out.
- other greening methods – Lastly, I love to reuse, recycle, reclaim things that people no longer want or use. Mainly, this means taking something (maybe a piece of old furniture) and refurbishing it or turning it into something else. This is probably what makes my style so eclectic. For example, I took an old cabinet door that had been removed from a bookshelf and added a mirror, a shelf from left over 2x4s, broken china and tile, and made a mosaic mirror for the Lilac Room. Much of my repurposing has been done with broken down furniture and mosaics so any time a piece of breakfast china gets broken, I don’t cry. I save it for a mosaic project.
At the end of April, I will even be recycling my hair. I have been growing it out for several years and it is almost to the my butt. I have an appointment to have 11 inches cut off and I will be donating the hair to Locks of Love so that it can be used to make hairpieces for children under 18 who have a medical illness that causes them to lose their hair. I am so ready, finally, the get rid of some of this hair!! Maybe I can find other ways to recycle me.