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April 2007

Our Members Speak Out

Chez Sven B&B, Wellfleet, MA

Question for May: What's the silliest question you've ever been asked by a guest

Email your responses to
Sandy@BedandBreakfast.com. If we publish your comments, we’ll thank you with a $25 credit in our Featured Properties Auction program!

You were asked: Many B&Bs are leading the way with environmentally-friendly practices; what do you do to promote a green environment?

“Weatherbury Farm’s eco-friendly practices reflect our family’s quarter-century-old personal philosophy, forged while living in Germany in the early ‘80s. Information about how Weatherbury Farm is environmentally friendly is on our own website and other eco-friendly websites, as well as listed as specials on B&B websites. The information is in our newsletters and guest materials. Most importantly, we promote our eco-friendly environment by personally living it.

“Our newest promotion will be ‘240,000 miles of fuel.’ That is the number of miles a 30-mpg car could drive because of our operational change from a traditional cow-calf operation to grass-fed beef. Each pound of beef represents half a gallon of fuel saved (fuel that is not used to plant, fertilize and harvest corn to be fed to cattle in feedlots and fuel that is not used to transport cattle to feedlots). If we sell 16,000 pounds of beef in 2007, that is 8,000 gallons of fuel, or 240,000 miles.” – Marcy Tudor, Weatherbury Farm, Avella, PA

”We have a whole page on our website about green practices. Besides bringing us guests who really care about the environment, recently it motivated an invitation to be on a panel about eco-tourism. We also introduce our guests to The Green Guide and provide a shelf of books about the environment.” – Alexandra Grabbe, Chez Sven Bed & Breakfast, Wellfleet, MA

“Our laundry products and light bulbs are environmentally friendly, and we conserve water by reusing towels. Our guests and our family recycle, and we follow the practices of http://www.travelgreenwisconsin.com.” – Steve and Jennifer Dunn, The Franklin Victorian Bed & Breakfast, Sparta, WI

“Adaptive reuse of historic properties is indeed in itself major recycling. Many 10,000+square-foot homes would not be preserved and respected with the integrity they have if it were not for the B&B industry. In Minnesota, we have churches, two jails, a tugboat, two Pullman dining cars, a caboose, an old mill, an old brewery, a round barn and even a sod house all "living" again because of the industry.

“The bricks in our home were made here in Hastings, MN, from clay from this area. The wood was from the local mill. Whether it be the marble we rescued from another building, the double pedestal sink from an old barber shop, or even the jewelry we make from square nails or the wind chimes we make from old electric connectors, we cannot be here without feeling purposeful and humble and recyclers.

“One green practice we apply is the use of energy efficient light bulbs, even though some guests think they look "strange" in our antique light fixtures. We remind them Tom Edison did not invent the light bulb to burn out; General Electric did that.

“It is a good feeling to share with guests that we care about recycling, sustainable agriculture, serving organic produce, and buying local. As you probably know, B&Bers choose this mode of travel because they respect a slower pace, a respect for the environment and history and preservation of it. Most often we are preaching to the choir when we do share our environmental philosophy with guests. We realize how very lucky we are to live where we work, to know our local grocer, hardware man and farmers at the Farmer's Market. It’s easy to live the green life when you’re an innkeeper.

“I serve on a committee involved in an effort in Minnesota called Green Routes (where visits to local farms, small town restaurants, cafes and B&Bs that support sustainable agriculture are encouraged) and is a very serious tourism promotion in itself. Five nonprofits, including one I am very involved in, are starting a new nonprofit called Heartland Food and Wine Learning Center. The classes will revolve around teaching and connecting those with the mission of supporting local foods and organics. Connecting all of this to B&Bs is a natural.” – Pam Thorsen, Classic Rosewood - a thorwood property, Hastings, MN

“In 2004, the Gillum House was one of 15 West Virginia businesses accepted into the WV DEP Office of Innovation Environmental Management System training program. We committed to one year of monthly classes in the state capitol. We learned about ISO 14001 and had a site visit by a member of the Office of Innovation to assess our environmental practices and make suggestions for improvements. These classes proved that no matter how large or small the business, environmental practices were relevant.

“One of the tenets of the program was to strive for continual improvement, and we were already doing just about everything we could already. It was suggested we replace our 40-watt light bulbs (used to preserve our antique lighting globes) with the new low watt fluorescent bulbs. We did that and also acquired a composter, which reduced our garbage output each week from three bags of trash to one, as our largest source of garbage was the fruit and vegetable waste from our breakfasts. We were awarded five green triangles by www.bestgreenhotels.com.

“We use colored linens so we can wash in cold water and do only full loads. We use perfume-free, dye-free detergent to avoid triggering anyone’s allergies. We line dry as much as possible (only "fluff" towels and robes in dryer). We serve homemade from scratch breakfasts so there is little packaging to discard. We heat or cool only rooms in use. We use soap/shampoo/conditioner dispensers in our bathrooms. We buy one newspaper to share. We recycle all that our area will recycle - cans, plastic and paper. These are just a few of our environmental practices.

“The Gillum House had adopted these practices from opening day because “eco” does not just mean ecological; it also means economical. We saved on our bottom line this way.” – Kathleen A. Panek, Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, WV

"We've discovered a wonderful Canadian company called Norwex Enviro Products that makes antibacterial microfiber "rags" designed to clean and eliminate 99.9% of bacteria on flat surfaces using only water. By using Norwex antibacterial "rags" and their wonderful microfiber mop to clean, we've been able to do away with heavily-scented, environmentally-harmful chemicals like furniture polish, window cleaner, carpet cleaner, kitchen cleaners, floor cleaners, etc. We also use Norwex's drier balls to eliminate the need for fabric softener sheets, and many other of their natural products (mattress cleaner, odor eliminator, descaler) in place of their harmful chemical counterparts. Because of Norwex Enviro Products, our house is more clean than it has been in years, we're helping instead of hindering the health of our environment, and most important, we're able to be a safe haven for all of our guests, even those with allergies and sensitivities." Sherrie Hansen Decker, The Blue Belle Inn, St. Ansgar, IA

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