Environmental Improvement Status Report – December 2014
In endeavoring to protect the environment, reduce our carbon footprint, and reduce the use of toxic materials, West Hill House B&B has, so far, made the following changes and improvements. (Note also below our Environmental Policy and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy statements.)
- Replaced the oil boiler and two direct fired propane water heaters in 2007 with a high efficiency condensing propane boiler and an indirect hot water tank heated by the same boiler. This change has not only reduced energy usage, it has also significantly improved the availability of hot water for our guests at peak times due to the much faster recovery performance of the indirect hot water heater. The Logan Suite and the innkeepers’ apartment use high efficiency on demand water heaters.
- Added a solar hot water pre-heating system in February 2009 on our south facing roof, designed to supply up to two thirds of our hot water year round, reducing our propane use further.
- Replaced non-dimmable light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs). The subsidies provided by Efficiency Vermont made this change a very cost effective undertaking.
- We are now in process of selectively replacing failed CFLs with LED bulbs which offer similar or higher efficiencies and dramatically longer lifetimes. Our kitchen is now 100% lit by LEDs, as well as virtually all of the common areas and most guest rooms. See our related blog entries: LED Light bulbs – have they arrived? & A breakthrough in LED light bulbs. All failed CFLs are recycled through state sponsored collection points to ensure no mercury is released.
- Outside lights are controlled by photocells and/or timers to optimize usage.
- All landscaping lights have been changed to LEDs for even more dramatic energy savings.
- While West Hill House B&B has evolved from an original building constructed around 1856 and was not designed to be energy efficient, we continue to make improvements to insulation.
- We have added an “air lock” at the front door and added a storm door to the Garden Room entrance to minimize drafts and the escape of warmed air in the winter time. We have added insulation and sealed identifiable sources of drafts where feasible.
- We have replaced most cleaning products with environmentally friendly cleaners and we continue to evaluate alternatives.
- We recycle all items accepted for recycling by our Waste Disposal company. This list includes paper, glass, cans, and most plastics. All guest rooms have recycling bins to encourage guests to recycle where possible. Approximately one half of our garbage (by volume) is now recycled.
- We compost. Virtually all left-overs and food waste is collected and taken to a centralized composting service, where it is processed and sold to farmers and gardeners. Using this service allows us to compost year round.
- Guests visiting during the ski season have the option of taking the shuttle bus to Sugarbush in ski season each morning and back in the afternoon, eliminating unnecessary car trips.
- Our main company vehicle is now a Toyota Plug-in Prius, which is particularly economical on short trips using virtually no gas. Our first Prius served us well over 5 years of operation coping with the hills of the Mad River Valley, our seasonal weather and doing mainly short trips while averaging about 43 mpg, or 5.5l/100km. The Plug-in Prius has averaged about 59 mpg, or 4l/100km (plus lots of electrons!) over its first 9 months. We have also been impressed by the performance of the Prius in the winter – with good snow tires of course.
- We provide complimentary EV charging for our guests, both 80A for Tesla and 220V J1772 at 20A.
- To discourage the use of bottled water, which has a significant environmental impact through the one-time use of plastic bottles and the energy for transportation, we strongly encourage guests to make use of our excellent spring-fed well water – see our related blog entry: Time to Retire Bottled water. We provide complimentary re-useable water bottles for our guests to use during their visit, and to take home if they wish.
- West Hill House B&B was recognized in November 2008 as a “Green Hotel” by the Vermont Environmental & Regulatory Assistance Program.
West Hill House B&B remains committed to taking ongoing actions to reduce our environmental impact, while continuing to provide an attractive place to relax in the beautiful Green Mountains for our guests.
West Hill House B&B is committed to protecting and supporting the environment, the health and safety of our employees and guests, and the community in which we conduct our business. It is our policy to seek and implement improvements throughout our business operations to lessen our impact on the local and global environment by conserving energy, water, and other natural resources; reducing waste generation; recycling and purchasing recycled products; and reducing our use of toxic materials. We are committed to pollution prevention, continual improvement and meeting or exceeding all environmental regulatory requirements.
We will accomplish this while maintaining or improving the experience for our guests staying at the Inn, and providing a neutral or positive ROI for our shareholders.
The Management team is committed to reporting annually on the steps taken to support this policy, and to publish this policy and relevant parts of the annual report on our website.
Adopted July 2008
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy
- Purchase from suppliers in single larger orders cooperatively with other local businesses to minimize delivery costs and environmental impact of trucking, when possible.
- Purchase bulk packaged items of dry goods to minimize packaging waste, when possible.
- Research and use, where possible, products with reduced packaging, reduced environmental impact and use of post consumer waste.
The Management team is committed to reporting annually on the steps taken to support this policy, to to publish this policy and to provide relevant updates in the Environmental Improvement Status Report at the top of this page..
Updated April 2014