The three main themes of sustainability are energy, water and waste. We have also added corporate social responsibility.
We have installed a150KW biomass boiler to heat the three cottages, the farmhouse and the pool. This has replaced five oil boilers and one air source heat pump. This saves over 47 tonnes of carbon a year, and smells a lot nicer too.
All bulbs are low energy bar a few oddballs (oven hob lights for example), everywhere in the cottages has underfloor heating, there is massively upgraded (above building regs) insulation and we make sure doors and windows are not leaky. High argon filled quality double glazing is throughout and AAA appliances always replace older ones, that is now the great majority. Every room has a thermostat.
We source all our water from three spring fed wells. This water is filtered and neutralised and UV sterlised, nothing is added until it goes through the water softener where a little pure salt is added. This both softens the water and reduces limescale (and cleaning time). You also need to use less soap and shampoo. The brown water is then treated in our BioDigester, simply by pumping air through it. Clean pure water is then discharged back into the stream for which we have an Environment Agency license. This means that guests create under 2 litres of water to be treated per day as opposed to a national average of 99 litres per day.
From the outset we have asked our guests to recycle and we have a large clearly laid out recycling area that makes it easy to sort glass, paper, cardboard, tetrapak, tins and plastic. This is collected monthly and professionally recycled by Bottleman, a local company. We also recycle all lightbulbs, metals and timber. Very little is taken to landfill each week, despite there being fair number of guests on site at any one time. All food waste is dealt with by the local council. We provide caddy’s in the cottages and blue bins outside the cottages for food waste. We collect this and take it to the top of the drive, where it is collected weekly. The national average to landfill is 57% of all waste, at Higher Wiscombe, over ten years this has been 16% sent to landfill.
When we were building we re-used everything we could and very little was not utilised in one form or another. We passionately buy locally in everything that we can and try and encourage our guests to do so whilst they are here. We have some of the finest food and drink in the country so it can be a really enjoyable experience.
Corporate Social Responsibility
We were made very welcome when we moved to Southleigh twelve years ago and have always taken part in in a huge range of local activities and fund raising. We organise the tea stand at the Village Fete, which has 2,500 guests a year, and organise fund raising events for the village hall for the village hall and church. These are in addition to the fund-raising we do on our charities page. Our goal in 2015 is to raise £10,000 for good causes, this is about double what we raise in a normal year.
We are constantly looking at further initiatives and aim to stay at the leading edge of sustainable tourism in the UK.
Thanks for reading.