I was reading our Green Hotels newsletter yesterday and there was a short article on water footprints. We have all heard about carbon footprint but water footprint was new to me. Water is a resource that should be conserved. Some say water will be the next oil in terms of scarcity of fresh water supplies.
At Cedar House Inn we value water and try to conserve it as much as we can. Low flow shower heads and sink aerators have been installed in all bathrooms. Guest reminder stickers are in the bathroom asking guests not to waste water. We use low flush toilets throughout the property and have composting toilets that require no water. Guest bed and bath linens are not changed daily (unless requested) to save laundry water. An Energy Star washing machine and dishwasher have also been installed that use less water compared to conventional appliances.
In our owner’s area we have a bucket to catch the cold water coming out of the bathtub faucet prior to the warm shower water arriving. We use it to flush the toilet or water the plants. We also use the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” philosophy in our bathroom. I save my “liquid gold” for reuse as nitrogen fertilizer (see earlier blog post on this topic). We turn off the sink when we brush our teeth is another water saving tip. Such measures could lower your water footprint.
A few months ago we installed a new metal roof to capture rainwater more efficiently. We installed rain gutters and barrels. Our yard is a freedom lawn that requires no water. Native drought tolerant plants have been planted as well. This lowered our water footprint. For more eco friendly methods visit our web site.
In terms of shopping the Green Hotels article mentioned the water footprint of products we purchase. For example 20 gallons of water to make a pint of beer, 132 gallons for 2 liters of soda, 500 gallons to make a pair of Levi’s stonewashed jeans. Even some foods have a higher water footprint depending on where they are grown and the type of plant.
I am not suggesting we give up beer or quit wearing bluejeans. I do think we all need to be more mindful of our water usage and water footprint.
The Green Hotels newsletter referenced an article on this topic published in Currents, The Wall Street Journal, 2/17/2009 by Alexandra Alter.
We had a great weekend with a full house for Saturday night. With check out Sunday morning we normally start the process of stripping the beds and doing the laundry. Yesterday was a cold and blustery day so we waited until today to start the laundry.
Our main reason for wanting to do the laundry on a sunny day like today is so that we can use our solar dryer instead of the electric clothes dryer.
Our washing machine is a Maytag high efficiency machine that uses little water and has a high speed spin cycle. The high spin gives us linens that our not totally wet but damp. This is perfect for our solar clothes dryer.
Our solar dryer, aka clothes line, not only saves energy since we are using the sun but also acts like a bleaching mechanism since the sun bleaches out the whites. Things hanging on the line also smell good.
Unfortunately many municipalities and neighborhoods do not allow for backyard clothes lines. They think they are ugly which I disagree. I like the money we are saving and the eco-friendly aspect of using the sun.
For more eco friendly methods we use at the inn visit our web site.
Cedar House Inn and Yurts has found a new way to recycle wine bottles. We have created bottle trees and shrubs. In the past we took our glass wine bottles to have them recycled. On television we noticed that a PBS show had a feature on making bottle trees.
Apparently bottle trees originated in Africa. People thought that evil spirits would fly up the neck of the bottle and become trapped. For a complete history about bottle trees visit this web site
We made ours out of fence posts you can purchase at the local lumber yard or Home Depot. We used long nails or gutter spikes to hang the bottles on the trunk.
We try to use wine bottles that guests leave in their room recycling bins. Many of the bottles are from the area local wineries as seen on the labels. Wolf Mountain is a favorite because they do not use paper labels that come off the bottle after being outside on the tree for a period of time. Their label is embossed or etched into the glass.
My wife really gets excited when a guest leave a Reisling bottle since they are always a vivid blue color. One guest years ago was a huge University of Georgia fan and also a graduate. He was excited because he found Bulldog wine in a bulldog red bottle. He shared the wine with us and we all agreed that the wine was not that good but the bottle was great! That bottle still maintains the top position of one of our wine bottle trees.
Bottle trees do need periodic care. Mainly pruning and cleaning. By pruning we replace old dirty bottles with missing labels with new bottles. Those Wolf Mountain bottles with the etched labels are cleaned and put back on the tree.
The great thing about the trees is that the never need watering and are always colorful. The are very pretty in the sunlight and sometimes make a slight ringing sound on windy days.
Bottle trees are a great recycling idea that adds a little art and color to the yard.
For more information on our eco friendly practices visit our green page.