We believe we are responsible for the environment, and so we want to play our part in a sustainable future. Our intention is to minimise the environmental impact of the house and help those who visit Varis to do the same. We are also keen to use and promote local businesses. We need the environment, the economy and society to be mutually supportive.
We are therefore delighted to have been awarded a Silver Green Tourism Award in our first season and will continue to improve the environmental performance of the house - with the hlp of our guests.
We are taking the following actions in order to work in the most sustainable way we can:
We would like our guests to help us. The House Manual has suggestions on what you can do to be a greener visitor (look out for green backgrounds) and the remainder of this statement outlines actions we have taken to make your stay as sustainable and enjoyable as possible.
Core heating is via our newly installed air source heat pump. This produces lower intensity heat than a conventional system to the radiators that are installed throughout the property and therefore runs for longer. The temperature can be controlled by guests. The wood burning stove in the sitting room is a secondary source of heat. An initial basket of locally sourced wood is provided.
Our electricity supplier is a 100% renewables supplier, Good Energy, and we generate electricity from the photovoltaic panels installed on the roof. Using the dishwasher and washing machine during the day where possible (ideally when the sun shines!) makes the best use of the electricity generated. There is a tumble dryer but there is plenty of indoor and outdoor drying space so we ask guests to minimise use.
Our policy is to replace existing electrical goods with 'A' rated goods or better, though this is only done when equipment malfunctions. We have made a start with a new washing machine (A++) and the TV (A), fridge (A+), and dishwasher (A+)
Almost all the bulbs in the house are energy efficient LED light bulbs. As well as using very little electricity, LED bulbs have a long life which means it is highly unlikely that any bulb will fail during your visit and reduces waste.
We have installed a monitor to see how much electricity is being used and what the internal temperature is. With the air source heat pump being new technology to us, we are very keen to see how it performs both in terms of energy consumption and in keeping the house warm. We would never compromise the comfort and enjoyment of our guests but the information logged will help us understand more about energy consumption in the house and how we can minimise this.
Water is mains water treated to drinking water standards. Being the west coast, it is rare that there is a restriction on supply but a lot of energy goes into treating water. Please do not leave taps running. The toilet in the bathroom is dual flush and we encourage guests to be responsible about their water usage.
We provide environmentally friendly materials for clothes washing, dishwasher tablets and toilet cleaner as well as household cleaning. Our septic tank works best if harsh chemicals are avoided. We ask guests to use the bins in the shower room and bathroom: nothing should be put down the toilet except toilet paper and human waste. We use a steam cleaner to maintain high standards of hygiene.
It helps the local economy and environment if we buy local, especially locally produced food. We provide information on local suppliers to guests, on our website and via tweets.
Making the most of your holiday without using a car is difficult: the public transport is relatively infrequent. But we encourage guests to have a car-free or car-light day and provide suggestions in the information provided in the house. Secure storage in the garage is available for guests who bring bicycles or boats with them.
Bins are provided for kerbside recycling and general household waste with information provided about where other wastes can be recycled.
We are indebted to Skye and Lochalsh Environmental Forum and Buglife for providing superb factsheets which we have made available to our visitors, alongside other information on the local enviornment.
We leave wild areas of vegetation on steep slopes at the back and front of the house to help biodiversity
We leave fat balls for guests to put out on our bird feeder.