The World is in Trouble: Is Your Inn Part of the Problem?

By: Kathy Steinemann

Changes that are FREE

If your guestrooms have individual climate control, adjust the temperature in unoccupied rooms in order to conserve energy. Readjust to comfortable levels an hour or so before guests arrive.

Many historic bed and breakfast inns have older plumbing fixtures such as claw-foot tubs. The tubs add ambiance, but older toilets waste water. Placing a brick in each toilet tank will reduce the amount of water needed for flushing.

Too high a temperature on your hot water tank is wasteful. Adjusting to 130? Fahrenheit (55? Celsius) will conserve energy. However, this temperature will burn a child's skin very quickly. If you allow young children in your inn, a much safer temperature is 120? Fahrenheit (49? Celsius) - still hot enough for showers, laundry, and washing dishes.

Check your cleaning supplies, and when possible replace them with environmentally-friendly products such as vinegar and water, baking soda, and pure orange oil.

Check the internet or your local library for microwave recipes, and use the microwave whenever possible instead of an electrical range or gas stove.

Don't use the heat cycle on your dryer unless absolutely necessary.

Reuse disposable electrostatic dusting cloths. When dirty, wash in plain cold water and air-dry in your dryer. They may look dingy - but they will continue to work for several more cycles. When they are finally worn out, wash one last time (with laundry detergent and bleach).

The cloths can be used for stuffing handicrafts such as children's teddy bears.

Inexpensive Changes

Instead of using disposable dusting cloths, purchase microfiber equivalents. Specialized microfiber cleaning cloths are available for specific jobs such as window washing, dusting, and cleaning up greasy messes. Try them without cleaning fluids first. The cloths often work well dry or with just a bit of water. When dirty, launder and reuse.

As incandescent lights burn out, replace with fluorescent bulbs. The initial cost is a bit high, but over time they will pay for themselves in energy savings.

Is your inn's attic insulated to modern standards? A little change here can make a big change in your bed and breakfast's heating and air conditioning bills.

Public hallways and guest bathrooms are areas where lights are often left on by accident. Installing motion-sensing receptacles is a good idea. Be aware of their range, however, and avoid placing too close to sleeping quarters.

When your refrigerator or other major appliance breaks down, purchase Energy Star equipment to replace it. This can save you 10% to 50% in operating costs.

Free coffee in rooms is a nice touch for your guests. However, be sure that coffee makers turn off automatically for energy savings and fire safety.

More Expensive Changes

Modern windows with gas-filled spaces between panes can dramatically reduce heat transfer. Replacing all the windows in an inn is a large expense. However, over time new windows will pay for themselves in energy savings.

When the exterior paint on your bed and breakfast starts to peel, it's time to repaint - or is it? Consider switching to aluminum or vinyl siding. This type of siding usually has a layer of insulation installed between the old exterior and the new material - increasing your climate control efficiency. An added plus: you won't have to repaint your inn every few years.

If you are designing a brand new inn, keep the above tips in mind and investigate other eco-friendly features: solar panels, extra insulation and soundproofing between guestrooms, careful placement of windows to augment climate control, balcony gardens ... Use your imagination!

Your Inn's Guests Can be a Valuable Resource

Prepare a brochure outlining your inn's commitment to the environment, and ask guests for their assistance. Make sure that your brochure has a 'suggestion' section where guests can share their eco-friendly ideas.

The Future is Up to All of Us

Stay on the alert for new ways to protect the environment as you go about your daily routine; we can all make a difference!

?Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the bylineFree Reprint Articles, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.

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