We have had more big news here at the Addison this week. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has recognized the Addison with a Green Lodging Certification. Several of the bigger hotels on the island have achieved this designation but we are the first B&B on the island to be recognized as a Green Lodging business.
Everything we do at the inn has some element of environmental thought put into it, from cleaning product and amenity selection to maintenance and landscaping. We recycle everything we can and we encourage our guests to do so as well by placing recycle bins in the guest rooms. Our Environmental Practices are on our web site and we do take them seriously.
We minimize the need for little bars of soap and little bottles of shampoo by placing dispensers of soap, shampoo and conditioner in most guest rooms. How big of an impact do the little bars and bottles have on the environment? The B&Bs in one of our northern states used to donate all of the once used bottles and bars to their State prison system. After a few months they were asked to stop as the prisoners had all they could ever use.
As Kermit sang “It’s not easy being green”. There is a balance between totally green practices and the provision of a luxury guest experience. We could reduce our propane consumption by reducing the temperature at our hot water tanks but that would diminish the bathing experience in our water guzzling double-sixed jaccuzi tubs. We ask our guests to consider re-use of the towels but we always have fresh, thirsty Turkish cotton towels on hand. We also provide make-up removal cloths that are washable and do not require bleaching
All of these small efforts at reducing consumption, recycling where possible and re-using what we can do make an impact on the carbon footprint of our inn but what I’d really like to do is something that makes a big impact. We have looked at a few projects and I like the solar water heater the best. We have a big south-facing roof that is out of street view and is right above our hot water tanks. The project would reduce our consumption of propane by about 1800 gallons per year. The solar water heating system would pay for itself in 4 years even without government grants, rebates and tax credits. Unfortunately, you have to spend the money up front in order to get the payback later and that is where we are stuck right now.
Meanwhile though, we continue to monitor our energy usage, reduce our consumption and recycle what we can. If any of you have some good ideas about Green Lodging that you would like to share with us please let me know. We are committed to continued improvement in our practices and we would like to hear any new ideas.