Today’s article is a guest post by Jakob Barry. Jakob is a green living journalist for Networx.com. Networx.com helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From roofers and carpenters to tile contractors, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.
Making your bed and breakfast a more eco-friendly establishment can have several significant benefits to you, your guests and the environment. Most importantly it can help you lower your monthly bills and can also help attract new guests who wish to support businesses that care for the environment.
There are many different levels of going green. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to bite off more than you can chew. Consider implementing the following practical tips towards a greener bed and breakfast:
- Go paperless. Set up a system that will allow paper items, such as receipts, to be sent digitally. This may mean purchasing a program that keeps all records digitally organized or simply placing a document in an email. Either way, hold on to the old printer for those clients who prefer hard copies, but do your best to try and print less.
- Switch out your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) may cost more initially, however they use up to 80% less energy and since there are certain spaces of a business which need constant lighting they are the perfect choice. They also typically last 8-15 times longer than standard light bulbs.
- Upgrade water faucets and toilets. Installing low flow faucets and toilets can save tremendous amounts of water and in turn, greatly lower your monthly water bill. This may be a particularly important change to implement for inns in regions of the country that are experiencing extreme droughts.
- Seal drafts around windows and doors. Allowing guests control over heating and air-conditioning in their rooms is important, especially on those very hot or cold days. In order to ensure the air HVAC systems produce isn’t being lost, inspect for drafts around windows and doors. Drafts compromise indoor temperatures wasting lots of energy but in most cases can be sealed easily from the exterior with caulk.
- Install ceiling fans in guest rooms. Compared to air conditioning, ceiling fans use much smaller amounts of electricity. Installing one in each room can provide a nice refreshing breeze that can replace the need to turn on the AC. As with many things there may be an initial financial consideration but the savings down the road will eventually outweigh the cost.
- Use eco-friendly cleaners. Replace standard cleaners with their eco-friendly equivalents. Switch out noxious smelling cleaners for more eco-friendly, healthier brands.
- Switch to low maintenance gardens. Not every bed and breakfast needs to worry about landscaping but when it’s an issue try using low maintenance plants like herbs which require minimal water and little other care. Succulents can also be a good alternative to high-maintenance greenery.
- Use eco-friendly pesticides/herbicides. Sometimes even with low maintenance plants pests or weeds become an issue. Before using poisonous pesticides and herbicides research greener options. Sometimes the solution may be as simple as mixing dish soap with water in a spray bottle and spraying problematic areas.
- Recycle. Last but not least, one of the most basic ways to green your bed and breakfast is to set up recycling bins. Place the bins in spots where everyone can access them easily and let guests know to that recycling is important to you.
For more info on how to make your inn more eco-friendly, check out other B&Bs that have been recognized for their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.
What are you doing in your inn to go green? Share your tips with other innkeepers in the comments below.