Greener InsideIndoor actions to reduce CO2 emissions, reduce pollution and waste at Aurora
- The village has a hydro-electric scheme that sells energy to the national grid. We buy 100% renewable energy through the Ecotricity – they re-invest in renewable energy schemes.
- We constantly monitor our energy use and made electricity consumption reductions of around 32% over the last two years.
- Using a Wetekom meter to measure the energy consumption (phantom and in use) of individual appliances, is allowing us to make informed changes on how and when to use appliances.
- Low energy lighting systems and energy saving bulbs have been installed throughout.
- We have completed a program to replace old appliances to A rated or higher. Changing the freezers and washing machine has made a big difference to the quarterly electricity bill.
- We increased the loft insulation in 2007 to 300mm – what an instant difference.
- Windows have been replaced with more energy efficient glazing - U value 1.1
- Blinds and curtains have thermal linings to retain heat when drawn.
- Removed an open fire (which sucked the heat out of the building) and fitted two wood-burners. This has reduced our LPG use by over 60%, replaced with burning wood (a renewable, carbon source).
- Line-dry laundry as much as possible. We only finish indoor dried towels in the A rated tumble dryer on a 30 minute programme.
- The old boiler was replaced with a more energy efficient one – over 90% efficiency.
- Separate hot water tank and central heating systems installed for up and downstairs, controlled by sophisticated programmable timers, which we adjust with the seasons.
- We only heat occupied rooms and installed new thermostatic valves in each room.
- We now open seasonally. Not running heating and hot water supplies upstairs, in the cold / low season reduces energy use considerably, without impacting on the business overall. If occupancy is only one room this requires a disproportionate amount of energy for comfort versus total bed nights.
- Introduced 500ml water bottles (re-used) to toilet cisterns for flush reduction.
- Use laundry wash balls with 50% of washing.
- Replaced washing machine for triple A rated (wash, spin and water consumption) large capacity machine and only wash laundry using full loads.
- We encourage guests to re-use their towels and bed linen, asking guests staying four or more nights, when they require a change. Our aim is to change at the end of stay or at seven nights.
- Policy of pre-booking minimum two night stays reduces number of laundry loads.
- Only turn the A-rated dishwasher on when it is full and use economy programme.
- Discourage the flushing of inorganic refuse down toilets, with a Bag it Bin it message.
- Water harvest for watering pots and use in the fruit and vegetable garden.
- We have showers fitted in the en-suites rather than baths to reduce water use.
Cleaning and Laundry
- Only use environmentally friendly products with no phosphates, such as ecover laundry, dishwasher, washing up and hand liquids.
- Use white vinegar instead of fabric softeners in laundry and rinse aid in the dishwasher.
- Invested in micro-fibre e-cloths so no chemicals are used in day to day cleaning.
- Experiment with natural cleaners for spills – bicarbonate of soda, hydrogen peroxide, distilled vinegar and diluted soap solutions.
- Purchased an Ionator XP which only uses tap water, yet is HACCP approved killing 99.9% of micro-organisms on kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
- Make our own natural air fresheners.
- Use left-over lemon for a multitude of cleaning tasks.
- Use tumble dryer balls to speed drying, eliminated the need for fabric softeners other than white vinegar.
- Stated bathroom policy re: washing towels and sheets, therefore reducing washing liquid.
- Use no chlorine bleaches – instead make our own germ-busting cleaners with essential oils.
- Have a lower allergen household.
- We buy as much of our food and ingredients from local suppliers as we can, to support their businesses, cut down on food miles and keep money in the local economy.
- Grow some of our own chemical free produce and pick fresh.
- Ask for organic – this can be a bit of a struggle in the Highlands, but is gradually improving.
- Cook all our food from fresh as we believe in slow food.
- Bulk buying – reduces packaging and journeys to purchase more.
- Preserving produce in seasonal – jams, chutney, freeze fresh home grown.
- Buy and use Fair trade products with unavoidable imports such as tea and coffee.
- Ask guests to give advanced notice of packed lunch and evening meal requirements – this helps with planning and cuts last minute trips down.
- Looking into the carbon footprint of lots of food products – orange juices and out of season tomatoes will be replaced with UK produce such as Highland apple juice and Scottish mushrooms.
- Use guides such as Ethical Consumer to inform our choices.
- Purchase housekeeping paper products such as Traidcraft kitchen towel and toilet roll from UK 100% recycled paper. It is a bit more fragile but very adequate.
- Buy the best quality we can afford as it will last longer.
- Try to purchase ethically and locally, buying from small businesses to keep the pound in the Highlands. If not local, then from Scotland. If not Scotland, the UK.
- Reduce purchases from supermarkets – of every £10 spent only £2 will stay local.
- Invested in a comprehensive website for our business which is updated annually. We do not print any brochures – have provided a PDF brochure on the website should guests require one.
- We decided the biggest impact to our business in terms of our energy use is the number of nights guests stay. One night stays means all the laundry is changed on a daily basis. Same guests stay two nights - laundry reduced by 50%. Reduced energy and less laundry products used, fewer miles travelled, carbon emissions reduced and everybody is more relaxed – win win.
- We now rarely take one night stays and are encouraging people to stay three or more nights with our price structure. Two nights only gives one full day here and guests feedback is that one day is not enough time in this fabulous area.
- We only use internet based marketing - we print no marketing literature other than business cards and the odd permanent notice board advert.
- Partner with organic and green partners for widest promotion of business – Organic holidays, Green Traveller and Sawdays.
- As most of our business is via the internet we are able to email 99% of guests with booking confirmations and joining instructions.
- Promote local activities, have a wealth of information on our website, in the house - in guest areas and via guests computer. Have a dedicated walks and activity folder, and have weather forecast available each morning.
- Have a Green Information folder, so that anyone wanting more information on what and how, can access the detail.
- We provide links on our website with local timetables if guests wish to use public transport. Village booklet in each bedroom contains public transport information for easy reference. Guests have access to a dedicated laptop and WiFi connectivity here.
- Have joined the schemes for cyclist and walkers welcome.
- Cutting down on what we buy in the first place reduces waste. Buy some things 2nd hand e.g the six-person toaster. Use the waste hierarchy thinking of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair and Recycle.
- Old bits of paper are made into notepads – which may take your breakfast order!
- We have eliminated sachet waste. We do not buy individually portioned supplies – especially not little cartons of milk.
- Reduced food waste. Allowing guests to choose their breakfast and portion size by cooking to order, rather than serving a standard plate of food.
- We turn food waste into nutritious compost – which then becomes a resource.
- Reduce what we buy, buying in bulk and unpackaged.
- Reusing or offering locally for reuse, any equipment, furniture, linens that we have finished with.
“Another excellent stay – environment, hospitality – so relaxing – feel very...”