Eco-Friendly Features at the Inn
Eco/Earth Friendly, Green Lodging
We are sensitive to the Earth we call home and the utilization and conservation of our natural resources and provide an alternative that has less impact on the Earth’s resources than other types of lodging while maintaining a comfortable environment.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. Aldo Leopold
“Your advocacy for responsible, sustainable hospitality is inspiring.” The Laseters, Georgia
We feel that the Earth’s resources are finite and all human beings should conserve them. Our water and air are the most obvious examples of resources that mankind has chosen to not care for.
Clean water is becoming scarce in many parts of the world and the air we breathe is becoming more contaminated with automobile exhaust and pollution created by manufacturing processes.
What have we done to preserve the earth’s resources?
At the Cedar House Inn we are sensitive to the Earth we call home and the utilization of our natural resources. Since August 2003 we have been offering guests a lodging alternative that has less impact on the earth’s resources.
In deciding where to have our inn we chose to find an existing structure needing extensive cosmetic repairs versus building a new building. A new structure would have increased our carbon footprint and the impact on the environment.
The building we purchased had great “bones” but was in serious need of renovations and repairs. The realtor mentioned that many “passed” on the property due to the condition. Had we not purchased the property it most likely would have been purchased by another party for rental property and fallen into greater disrepair.
A positive we immediately noticed was that the inn was designed using passive solar principles. The structure faces south to capture the sun’s warmth with most windows located on the southern, eastern and western exposures. Larger than normal roof overhangs allow winter sunlight to reach inside the home and summer sun to be deflected. Quarry tile floors in the living room collect the winter sun’s heat thereby reducing the need for conventional heating in the day time hours.
The yurts also are fully insulated to reduce heating demands. When remodeling to add three guest rooms with private baths and the bath house, we stayed within the original footprint of the house and patio minimizing impact on the environment.
We have planted over 300 fast growing deciduous, fruit, evergreen trees and bushes to provide shade and to create a more favorable habitat for birds and wildlife and food for the innkeepers and guests.
Restoring the habitat through planting native trees has also helped in sequestering carbon dioxide and lowering the property’s carbon footprint.
National Arbor Day foundation found that trees can provide savings of more than 50% in air conditioning and associated energy costs and as much as 17% of heating bills.
We will continue adding trees over time. The property is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a “Backyard Wildlife Habitat”. We have provided food, water and shelter for birds and wildlife.
Most homes have “Industrial Lawns” that require frequent fertilizing, pest control, weed control and watering which impacts the eco system in a negative way. (from the book by Herbert Bormann, “Redesigning the American Lawn”, Yale University Press, 1993).
We have added wildflower and native plant/tree areas to reduce mowing, watering and maintenance.
Energy & Water Conservation
The average Georgian uses 25% more electricity in their home than the national average. And more than 97% of the electricity generated in the state comes from nonrenewable sources of energy.
If every American home replaced just 5 high-use incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, each family would save more than $60 every year in energy costs. Together we’d keep more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of our air – equal to the emissions of 8 million cars. That’s a $6 billion energy savings for Americans, equivalent to the annual output of more than 21 power plants. Energy Star
We wash bed and bath linens with an EnergyStar high efficiency rated washer.
During good weather a clothes line is used to dry guest linens. Sunshine serves as a great earth friendly bleach for whitening towels.
In the inn, storm windows have also been added to all windows and ceiling fans in every room to reduce heating and cooling needs. Caulking has been performed to minimize outside air filtration.
Low flow toilets & showerheads can save the average household about 30 gallons of water/day. the book “One Makes a Difference” by Julia Butterfly Hill
In the future we hope to add solar hot water heating systems and solar electric.
Rain gutters were added on the north side of the house with two large rain barrels for harvesting water for garden and plant watering.
The composting toilets evaporate the liquids and create a usable compost at the end of the composting process. Composting toilets also do not require a septic system that often requires the destruction of trees and vegetation for drain fields.
We use only organic milk and eggs. We also purchase organic coffee.
Herbs from our garden add zest to the breakfast.
The garden produces tomatoes, asparagus and herbs. Blueberries, autumn olives, cherries, plums and wineberries were also planted.
We are also mindful to purchase food that is not in containers/packaging that cannot be recycled.
We use copy paper that has recycled content.
Recycling, Reuse, Composting & Gardening
Americans dispose of 810,000 aluminum cans/year. If they were recycled 730 million gallons of oil would be saved by not making new cans from scratch.Sierra Club
Bottle trees and shrubs have been built from our guests’ used wine bottles (see picture below). They are colorful and provide an “artsy” look to the gardens.
We have also used beer bottles for flower garden edging.
Paper towels and toilet paper are made from recycled paper (from Publix GreenWise and Kroger Simple Truth) to conserve trees and use cloth napkins at breakfast that can be reused.
Compared to paper made from 100% virgin forest fiber, paper made from 100% recycled content reduces:
total energy consumption by 44%
net greenhouse gas emissions by 38%
particulate emissions by 41%
wastewater by 50%
solid waste by 49%
wood use by 100%
Environmental Defense Paper Calculator.
Cooked food waste is disposed of in our solar food composter.
Garden, vegetable scraps are composted in our composting bins.
Wild blackberries and cultivated wineberries add sweetness to summer meals.
Food waste sent to landfills generate a majority of the methane gas (worse than carbon dioxide) created by landfills and can make up as much as 40% of landfill trash. A solar food composter can help.
We only make trips to the local landfill every few months since we either compost, recycle or reuse most of what is normally discarded.
Shopping at the local nonprofit thrift store (Community Helping Place) for household items and clothing is done frequently. We in turn donate things no longer needed or use back to the thrift store.
If every household in the U.S. replaced just 1 roll of virgin toilet paper with just 1 recycled roll 424,000 trees would be saved. Kleercut.net
The average home contains 25 gallons of hazardous chemicals – a major portion of these can be found in household cleaning products. Deirdre Imus
We make most of our own cleaning products. Visit our YouTube channel for a video we made on how to make your own all purpose green cleaner.
Plastic grocery bags are recycled for trash can liners as previously noted.
Soap and shampoo dispensers reduce waste in guest bathrooms (no little plastic bottles or unused soap bars to throw away).
What Can You Do As A Guest?
At your own home consider the ” 5 R’s, Rethink your purchases, discover your consumer power; Respect life; Reduce the amount you purchase; ReUse what you already have; Recycle to save energy and water (keep paper glass, plastic and aluminum out of overflowing landfills)”. from the book “One Makes a Difference” by Julia Butterfly Hill
“Although we recycle at home, we probably waste without being aware. You have certainly given us an awareness that will help us make small changes to “Going Green” and small changes can make a big difference in the future for our girls.” The French’s, Georgia
Cedar House Inn & Yurts, 6463 Highway 19 N, Dahlonega, Ga 30533
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