Do you consider yourself to be “green;” as in conserving resources? When I was an Extension Agent, I recall teaching 4-Hers about energy efficiency in the day when we were rationing gas! I have practiced preserving our precious clean water to be a good steward of our natural resources. But last week, when I was asked to light the pilot light for the gas logs in a guest room (while the temperature outside was 90 degrees), I was a rather uncomfortable, knowing that the ambiance would be coupled with the overworked air conditioner for this lovely couple. We did it …but I cringed!
When we designed and built Bedford Landings to be a Bed and Breakfast, we paid attention to being energy efficient. We purchased energy efficient windows and installed Structural Insulated Panels as walls and installed heating and cooling units with the highest SEER rating at the time.
We installed Energy Star rated appliances, we use LED bulbs, and we manage the guest rooms in terms of heating and cooling so they are not using a great deal of energy when nobody in in the room. We designed the house to be situated on the lot to take advantage of the passive solar benefits and designed a sort of outrigger to shade the hot sun in the summer and allow the sun in the windows during the winter months.
This August (next month) we are installing solar panels on the hangar to collect and convert the warmth of the beautiful sun to not only offset our heating and cooling bills but, also to use a renewable resource that does not emit any greenhouse gases. Yes, we have to take out a loan to do so, but as we understand it, the savings will be realized within about 7 years.
Speaking of Greenhouse gas, what are they? Perhaps you have heard the term in the news and bantered around as believable or unbelievable, but what does it mean? And what is a carbon footprint?
A Greenhouse Gas (GHG) causes a greenhouse effect. Have you walked into a greenhouse? Mainly that is the production of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. We need these to maintain the Earth’s temperature. However human activities (since the mid 1700’s) have produced an increase in GHG. Of course this is where the Global Warming arguments occur so I will stop there.
Your Carbon Footprint is the total amount of GHG each individual produces and is usually expressed in tons of carbon dioxide (Co2). This includes your usage of all forms of transportation, heating and cooling homes, use of plastics, etc. It is your personal consumption of things that cause fuel consumption.
My husband is a pilot, we own a plane and have 4 vehicles, and we manage a business in our large home. My Carbon Footprint must be the size of Big Foot! As American’s, are we too self-centered to do a lot to make a difference? Really? Recently I saw a friend in a restaurant pull out of her purse, a recyclable (stainless steel) straw. And it made it think that there are at least small personal choice we can all make that could add up to make a pinpoint of a difference.
As a business owner and one who cares about her environment, I feel I must at least do my part. These seem so small in the big scheme of things, but I recall the Starfish story and realize that even the small steps matter! We are trying to be responsible at Bedford Landings.
One step is to grow locally. We serve wonderful omelets and I grow my own basil and tomatoes. Right outside the kitchen door, I can grab these organic items and collect my chicken eggs! It’s just a small something, but it’s something.
We have always recycled. We can recycle plastic, aluminum, tin, glass and cardboard in Bedford County. We have to separate it and collect it in the same manner.
But we are announcing our biggest change yet! If you come to Bedford Landings, we are no longer offering plastic water bottles. Sorry, even though we recycle them, we go through a ton of these! Instead, we will offer water bottle usage while you are here. Sure, you can purchase one if you like, but we will wash and recycle these wonderful aluminum water bottles for guest use.
We use only cloth napkins and reusable hand towels. We just throw these into the laundry (only a full load) to sanitize and reuse them.
Small steps yes, but we are trying. Maybe you would like to share other creative ideas with us about your practices and how we can continue to improve our carbon footprint. Sell a plane? That’s probably not gonna happen! In fact Jack will be test flying his 12 year project next week after the (hopeful) Tuesday inspection! We wish him luck and congratulate him on conserving funds by building his own GREEN plane!
In the meantime, we will continue to consider personal practices that will make even a small difference. How about you?