How We’re Green
We have been promising a Green Page for years, and here it is, finally! We did a much better job going green than we have done publicizing it.
Thanks mostly to Pepper, Belle Pepper’s became the first bed and breakfast in Oregon to be recognized, in 2007, as a green lodging by Co-op America, which has since become Green America. Pepper also helped to pioneer the green lodging program for the Oregon Bed & Breakfast Guild, where we were among the first crop of green bed and breakfasts throughout Oregon.
There are many small things that any business, family, or individual can do to go green. Here are some of the things that we have done.
When we bought a 90-year-old home that we transformed into Belle Pepper’s Bed & Breakfast, we were fortunate to find a house which already had many excellent energy-saving features. These included a full basement; wood windows with storm windows and excellent eastern and southern exposure; large eaves on the third floor which help keep the house cool in the summer; a water-based, radiant heating system where a boiler can be fired by either an oil furnace or a wood stove; decent attic insulation, and a unique double air space in the exterior walls.
Our remodel included the following upgrades:
- Increasing the insulation in the attic, and wherever feasible, in the walls
- Completely re-plumbing the house, and incorporating a new hot water “loop” that minimizes the travel time of hot water to every fixture in the house, and installing a second water heater which is used only at times of high demand
- Installing low-flow toilets, faucets, and shower valves while refinishing and recycling two classic old bathtubs
- Using a timed irrigation system that minimizes water use for the grounds by watering every other day for half an hour in the middle of the night
- Re-wiring the house, saving and re-wiring classic electrical fixtures, while installing energy efficient, on-demand electric heaters in the bedrooms and bathrooms, and using CFLs in all light fixtures; Installing a new, energy-efficient propane boiler in 2012 to heat the water that runs through our radiator system. In combination with the existing wood furnace, this propane boiler allows the owners a choice of fuels – propane or wood – to fire either boiler to heat the house
- Buying new, energy-efficient water heater, refrigerators, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer
- Hiring a local plumber and electrician while doing most of the other remodel work ourselves, and buying almost all lumber, building supplies, plumbing and electrical fixtures, and most furniture and bedding from local businesses. About 90% of the money that we spent on remodeling and appointing the B&B stayed local
- Using as much recycled framing and finish lumber as possible
- Installing shades, curtains, and blinds to allow for efficient, natural heating and cooling of the house in winter and summer
- Using area rugs on our beautiful hardwood floors, and installing Marmoleum in our new bathrooms, to minimize exposure to dust and to allow easy cleaning
Here are some of our green practices:
- Avoiding harsh chemicals in any of our laundry soaps, dishwashing liquids, or other cleaning products
- Using green supplies such as Seventh Generation Paper products
- Installing liquid soap dispensers in our bathrooms to allow for minimal waste, and purchasing our soap, shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel from an excellent local soap producer, beecrowbee
- Encouraging our guests to re-use their towels rather than using new ones each day (90% of our guests are happy to hang and re-use their towels, especially if they are just staying two days)
- Supporting renewable energy through the Blue Sky program, whereby in 2011, according to Pacific Power, we provided the environmental benefit of avoiding 24,513 pounds of CO2, which equaled 24,923 miles not driven, or 288 trees planted
- Not using any synthetic chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides on our property
- Having a garden which allows us to produce some fruit and vegetables for our guests, including blueberries, apples, and potatoes
- Raising our own chickens, with a great coop and netted outdoor yard, so that our healthy chickens can happily produce large, eggs with rich golden yolks
- Buying fresh, locally produced fruit and vegetables from farmers’ markets and local grocery stores whenever possible
- Sending all our unused food scraps either to the chickens or the compost pile
- Recycling as much trash as possible, and providing small recycling bins for our guests in their bedrooms
There are probably a few other things that we do as well, but this list should be enough to give you some ideas. Feel free to email us at email@example.com and send us your suggestions as well.
Thanks, and keep taking those small steps that help everyone to move ahead!