Our effect on the environment is especially apparent when you’re this close to the sea. We have some of the best beaches in the country in Newquay – we want to keep them that way and where possible make them even better. So here we’re going to tell you what we’re doing to help protect the environment.
Lots of hotels and holiday lets provide a toiletry pack: tiny plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, showergel and bars of soap wrapped in plastic. A large hotel with 200 rooms can expect to use 300,000 pieces of single use plastic every month [Source]. We don’t want to contribute to that problem and we don’t think our guests want to either. So no single serving toiletries, and our soap dispensers are refilled from larger containers, reducing waste. We are working with our cleaners to avoid single use plastics where possible: we recently purchased a laser cutter and after spotting plastic bags being used to store dishwasher and laundry tablets we designed and made this wooden box for them instead. If you really want to do your part, shops such as The Sprout and The Good Lyfe offer plastic free local produce, and its a great way to help the environment whilst supporting local businesses.
In a past life I was an Electrical Engineer specialising in LED lighting so forgive me if I get carried away here. Everyone grew up with filament bulbs, its what we know and love, then along came compact fluorescent which were…meh sort of lights. Now LED bulbs have smashed the competition, the same light output for 1/10th of the power usage, literally 20 times longer life, I wont bore you with R9 values, the colour rendering index and spectrum analysers but if you know what you’re looking for, a good quality light output. I have designed the lighting to be efficient and functional but without sacrificing any of the comfort. Our appliances are all modern, efficient and are regularly checked to ensure correct operation, and of course they’re turned off whenever we don’t have a booking.
Heating is a trickier one to manage, heating requires a lot of energy. For now the best we’ve been able to do is install new modern heaters: these are efficient and have modern control systems with energy saving features, for example they will detect when a door or window has been opened and turn themselves off. The towel heaters in the bathrooms operate on a timer, on demand, so they only come on when needed. Being electric, 100% of the energy supplying them is converted to heat, compared with around 85% for a typical gas condensing boiler. We are always looking into improvements that we can make in future, such as heat pumps, better control of our extraction, and improving our insulation.
We have also put several things in place to reduce water waste. All of our taps are fitted with aerators, reducing the amount of water required for most uses without compromising functionality. We have dual flush toilets. We have a full size dishwasher and have provided enough tableware to fill it, so you’re not running the dishwasher several times a day because you don’t have any mugs left. With two showers the whole family can very quickly wash off the saltwater without using the large amounts of water taken up by a bath. Because we regularly stay here ourselves its easy for us to stay on top of maintenance replacing any leaking seals etc quickly.
All our energy comes from renewable sources. We don’t use gas: all our power is provided by electricity on a 100% renewable tariff. This doesn’t mean that we are “off the grid” though, our power still comes from the National Grid but our supplier uses the money from renewable tariffs like ours to purchase certificates for electricity from renewable sources. Therefore we’re not paying the huge coal fired power plant for providing electricity, our money is more likely to end up in the hands of a farmer who has turned one of his fields over to solar panels and sheep, or a wind turbine or two.
Its too easy to buy a bodyboard for £5, use it for a day or two then throw it in the bin, or worse leave it on the beach. Ocean Recovery Project kindly let us use their video, that’s 216 bodyboards that they collected, in 26 days, on a single beach in Devon. I’d love to tell you that this was an isolated incident but BeachCare collected 600 bodyboards from 3 Cornish beaches in 1 month, which gives an idea of the scale of the problem.
You don’t need to buy a bodyboard to use for a week though, we spoke to the guys at Karma Surfboards and got a couple of old-school Dick Pearce plywood bodyboards. They cost about £70 each so please don’t leave them on the beach but there going to last for 50 years easily, they perform much better in the surf than foam boards, they are hand made in Newquay, and when they finally die they compost.
If we have 20 bookings a year and each family of 4 buys 2 body boards, that’s potentially 40 body boards a year that aren’t getting shipped around the world, used for a week and then sent to landfill. Over the 50 year life of our boards that’s… a lot of polystyrene.
Going out litter picking might sound more like a court order than a fun holiday activity, but hear us out. Your first holiday in Newquay is all about having fun but the more times you visit the more you feel part of the community – you don’t see your self as a tourist – your heart lives in Newquay, its just unfortunate that your body currently resides in…Slough. You want to give something back. Maybe you’re walking along the beach and see a fishing hook, and think “That’s a bit dangerous, I’ll shift it” or you see the plastic from a 6 pack and remember Peanut the turtle, or mistake a packet of crisps for a fish and wonder what chance a bird would have. Or you could just enjoy walking up and down our beautiful beaches in the sun seeing what you can find. Whatever it is we provide litter pickers so if you want to join a beach clean, or even by your self, you can. Just don’t touch anything that looks like it might “go off”.
I recently found myself not busy, there’s a lot of that in 2020. Fortunately the Open University offer loads of free courses on all kinds of subjects, from Marine Mammals to Astronomy With An Online Telescope. I’m currently working my way through Energy in Buildings, which is giving us some good ideas, so next we’re going to look into heat recovery extractors, rather than heating the apartment whilst sucking all the hot air out.
If you have any ideas for us we would love to hear them. Maybe if you have read this far you have found some ideas you can take home with you.
Maybe you’re one of our competitors here for a bit of industrial espionage thinking “Yeah, we could provide belly boards too” that’s ok we will let you have that one for free it benefits all of us. In fact if you do let us know – maybe we could start a campaign to get more holiday lets providing boards and get the polystyrene off our beaches.
Its really hard to find a picture of the future, so here’s Mr Pringle and our belly boards, and a box full of beach toys and wet-suits left by previous guests for our future guests.