Posted by: A Part of the Solution | April 29, 2010

A Green Bed and Breakfast

If you’ve been following my posts, even occasionally, you’ll know I’m not just trying to get a Bed and Breakfast off the ground. And I’m not just trying to get a Farm Stay Bed and Breakfast going. I’m trying to get a Green Farm Stay Bed and Breakfast up and running. While this process hasn’t been easy or quick; it’s been satisfying to figure out how to make my ideals into a reality for my fulfillment and the delight of others.

So I clean with baking soda, vinegar, borax, cornstarch and Bon Ami for the most part. I use towels and kitchen rags and sponges more than I do paper towels. I’m dressing the organic mattresses with organic cotton linens, and providing towels and bathrobes that are equally organic. I’m focusing on menus that make the most of the local, sustainably produced foods available here. I’m replacing existing fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms with low-flow versions. When I repaint, I use low VOC products. The cut flowers with which I dress the guest rooms come from my own garden and not a greenhouse half-way across North America. Voila! Green Bed and Breakfast.

Now I’m prepping up to get inspected and certified and entered into registers and clearing-house organizations with widely visited websites. PA Farm Stay is a no-brainer. They aren’t ‘green’ per se, but most of the Farm Stay properties are greener in practice than any mainstream hotel or motel room you can find nearby.

I looked into getting LEEDS certification. This is the gold standard of Green in commercial properties of every sort. Sadly, that particular program is out of my reach this year. For any property with 75 rooms or fewer, the cost of the process is $1950.00 for the entry-level. It’s more if I were to choose to go for their top-level of certification.

I can’t help but think about the cost per room on this price tag: 1950 divided by 75 is 26. This is not many dollars per room to carry the desireable LEEDS seal of approval for a year. But I only have four rooms. Cost per room is $487.50!!! Maybe if I were a luxury spa/retreat I could make that back in reasonable time, but it’s a more than a little out of reach for me this year.

The Green Hotel program is much less expensive, and based solely on a self-evaluation check list. I’ll use that for now. The seal on the bottom of the website pages will assure people of something–though I’ll know it’s largely for show. In as much as I could be doing practically anything over here and still qualify by filling in the blanks and sending a check along.

Really, I’m using the LEEDs criteria to measure my greenness. I’m tracking the amount of waste we recycle instead of throwing away. I’m ensuring that our paper products contain significant post-consumer content. I’m replacing standard bulbs with compact flourescents as they burn out. I’m not putting fresh towels and linens out every day a guest stays. I’m composting kitchen and yard waste alike. It’s all good, but I would have liked to have the sticker too!


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