With the environment uppermost in most people's minds we have looked at ways in which we can lower our carbon footprint. Being in the hospitality industry, whatever we do must not impact on the comfort and enjoyment of our guests and so we have taken a sensible approach to ensure that anything we do actually improves the guest experience at Kew House. We are the only building in the immediate area with secondary glazing to keep guests comfortable on cooler nights.
We still have to heat and light the building and we still want breakfast to be an enjoyable experience so some things cannot be cut out. Britain doesn't grow oranges for orange juice or coffee and tea so these have to be imported but even here we can lessen our impact. I have listed below some of the things we have been doing over the two years.
Purchasing goods and supplies:
We try to buy furniture and furnishings made in the UK, as close to Scotland as possible. All our food is sourced from Edinburgh outwards so we look for Edinburgh, then Scottish then UK suppliers both in source and supply. Where a product is from overseas, such as bananas, coffee, tea, we will buy Fairtrade from a UK packer.
As breakfast is cooked freshly to order, we have little food waste and lower stocks. We have two water boilers for quieter and busier days so we don't waste hot boiling water.
Lighting and Heating:
We have used soft tone low energy bulbs in most commonly used areas with low energy halogen lights in others. The few remaining normal bulbs are in fittings used less frequently and are more difficult to source suitable bulbs for but they will be replaced too. Lighting effect has not been impacted at all, due to the quality and style of lighting used. We have even taken the general public computer out as it ran all day whether guests used it or not. Now we offer a laptop to our guests, which means it is only switched on as required.
With heating again and without any impact on guests we are more careful with heating levels ensuring the thermostats are controlled to suit the weather. Around 50% of showers are now fed from instant heating source and a Combi boiler in the apartment only heats water used. We ask that guests help by switching off lights when not in their room.
Linen and Laundry:
We launder our own bedding and towels using high quality polycotton sheets which dry with less heat. On good days, laundry is dried outside and we have cut our drying bill by 50% in 2009. Towels are high quality super-dry towels which, though lighter (500grms) are easier to dry both in laundry and whilst being used by guests.
In 2009, we reduced general waste by around 33%. We recycle, glass, cardboard, paper, ink cartridges, garden waste and are looking at ways to recycle plastic. As a 5 star guest house we replace furniture and fittings more often than others. We never send items to landfill unless completely broken and will always find someone locally who can use items we are replacing either personally, through charities or the internet.
We try to use effective but environmentally friendly cleaning products and even some natural products for cleaning.
Probably the most important of all is Kew House's location. If driving you will not need your car while here and if arriving by public transport we are in an ideal position both to reach from airport or station but also for local transport to and from town or just simply walking. We have also reduced the amount of driving we do in and around town by over 33%. Being green doesn't have to mean being mean and we like to think that the things we have done will actually improve the quality of your stay at Kew House whilst helping the environment.