Your Water Footprint

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 water footprint reduction with rain barrelsefficiently. 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.

Composting Toilets at the Inn


Many guests that stay in one of our yurts find the composting toilets interesting. We decided to have them in the yurts since we did not have water or septic to the area. We also wanted to give yurt guests the convenience of not having to go tocomposting toilets the bathhouse in the middle of the night to use the toilet.

The composting toilets are made by Sun Mar in Canada. They require no water, septic and have no odor. A fan in the toilet pulls air through the toilet and is vented to the outside. The air also helps dry out the liquids. Liquids also go to the bottom of the toilet in an enclosed drying area with a heater.

Solids and toilet paper stay in the bio drum chamber and compost over time. Bacteria is added to the unit occasionally to help eat the toilet paper. When the bio drum starts to fill we remove some of the contents into the finishing drawer where the substance finishes composting.

You can use a composting toilet by staying in one of our yurts.

Our yurts also have a private bath house up the hill with regular flush toilets.

The finished compost is placed in our flower gardens and around the trees.

This is one of the ways Cedar House Inn and Yurts is using composting.