In the past six years major efforts have been made to adopt greener business practices at the 19-bedroom Kitley House hotel near Plymouth - with huge cost savings as a result.
General manager Andrew Huckerby explains: "I'm not an environmentalist - it just makes good business sense. However, the more you go into it, the more you become aware of how much extra you can do. You do need to have your hand held a bit to start with, and we had the benefit of being part of the green tourism pilot scheme in south Devon in 2000, which is now being rolled out by South West Tourism. Environmental consultants were made available to work with us and provide advice, and we now have a Green Tourism Silver Award."
A new heating system was installed at a cost of £3,000 enabling the 500-year-old Grade I-listed building to be heated by zone and saving £2,000 to £3,000 a year. New light fittings that use one-eighth of the amount of power needed by standard light fittings cost £700 in total but will save the hotel up to £4,000 a year.
Other measures have included swapping chemical cleaning products for cheaper eco-friendly ones (saving £5,000 a year) and changing to chemical-free guest toiletries in dispensers (saving £1,000 a year). "A lot of our water wastage was caused by a very high-pressure system. So we put in a pressure-reducing valve for £300 and we've ended up saving £2,000 a year," says Huckerby.
"Six years ago we were using 11 general waste bins every week, and now we're using five, but doing twice the business, with occupancy now at 78.5%. The difference is recycled card and bottles, which are taken away at a far lower cost than normal waste - saving us £5,000 a year."
For more green issues go to Caterer's Green Zone