On being an eco-friendly rental business.

Another issue very close to our heart is eco-sustainability. A lot of what & how we have rebuilt Villa Nuraghe has environmental awareness at its core.

Malcolm was a landscape gardener and tree surgeon living on Dartmoor, growing organic vegetables and campaigning for disarmament in the 70′s.

Through living in the UK for so long and living with somebody like Malc, I have grown keener & more aware of the environmental challenges of our times. Despite my mum’ s obsession for water saving and my dad coming from a farming background, I can’t cite my roots as anything to do with it. I grew greener as time went on. I have to thank England ands its great wildlife TV programs for it too. Now, when I go back to my parents in Northern France; I berate my Dad for his pesticides’ use and he mocks me for being unrealistic and some kind of hippie. We both agree though that his palet – built workshop is great … even if mum has baptised it “shanty town”.

So, in accordance with our beliefs and our concerns for best practice, we went for a minimum of A + rating for all the appliances (fridge, washing machine and dishwasher), put in a water solar panel (backed with a gas boiler if necessary) and just finished a solar powered fountain. We have also some solar powered fairy lights on the pergola.

But how does that fit in with the rental business? We don’t believe this is a major concern for potential clients. After all, we don’t necessarily check the eco-credentials of the places we stay at even though we really appreciate them when present. Whilst I don’t think people will choose us rather than another villa because of our 3 recycling bins or water saving devices , we do what we feel is right whilst trying not to be eco-evangelical about it.

In fact, the best eco features are the ones that reap the rewards without you having to do anything about it (once all the systems are in place) . For ex : put the dishwashing on eco wash, have that free hot shower thanks to the solar panel, enjoy the cooling splashing sounds of the solar powered fountain etc.

The other kind of eco rewards comes from you putting in some efforts before you reap the rewards. I guess I would say that as I was brought up in a house where the bath water was reused to wash the floor & mum always switches the lights off if you forget & tell you off. The trick in a rental setting I believe is to encourage people by making it easy for them. So we provided recycling bins at the back of the villa but we will empty them ourselves. There is a bucket near the shower so clients can fill it up before the hot water arrives and use that to either flush the loo or water the plants. My little brother had never done that before but religiously watered the plants every morning, pointing out it took no time & he seemed to appreciate the impact everyday gesture could have long term. Coming from him, that certainly is a result

So the lesson here might be ”Make it easy for your guests to be green by having the infrastructures in place and encourage environmentally friendly practices”. We shall see at the end of the season if the people who readily recycled the shower water (for ex.) already considered themselves green or whether they got round the idea quickly (or not). Will this turn out to be preaching to the choir or converting new adepts ?

The soft glow under the pergola certainly works in a subtle way.

And that solar water is so hot I made a Health and Safety warning about it in the welcome information pack !

Still, that solar fountain certainly rocks in more ways in 1 !!

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