California B&Bs Ensure More Environmentally-Friendly Lodging Choices for Travelers

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From the street, the historic Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California, looks much as it did in the 1890s. But hidden below ground, a state-of-the-art, geothermal energy system heats and cools the property and generates hot water for the guestrooms, swimming pool and soaking tubs. Hidden on the roof of the restaurant, solar panels generate electricity to help run the pumps for the geothermal system, reducing the inn's electricity bills. The inn also composts, recycles, and uses organic cleaning products. The Tallman Hotel is one of many members of California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns whose "green" innovations and practices are ensuring more environmentally-friendly lodging choices for travelers.

From the street, the historic Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California, looks much as it did in the 1890s. But hidden below ground, a state-of-the-art, geothermal energy system heats and cools the property and generates hot water for the guestrooms, swimming pool and soaking tubs. Hidden on the roof of the restaurant, solar panels generate electricity to help run the pumps for the geothermal system, reducing the inn's electricity bills. The inn also composts, recycles, and uses organic cleaning products.

The Tallman Hotel is one of many members of California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns whose "green" innovations and practices are ensuring more environmentally-friendly lodging choices for travelers.

Solar Energy and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
The Adobe on Green Street in Santa Cruz generates 80 percent of their electricity on-site with a solar panel system that keeps seven tons of carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere each year. The Victorian-style Case Ranch Inn in Forestville was the first B&B in Sonoma County to be certified through Sonoma County's green business program, due in part to the inn's solar panels which generate approximately 40 percent of the property's power. The Inn at Locke House in Lockeford installed solar panels which now provide two-thirds of inn's electricity. The Simpson House Inn, which is recognized as one of the top 30 "green" businesses in Santa Barbara, also uses solar power energy.

In addition to solar energy, both the Adobe on Green Street and the Case Ranch Inn also offer electric vehicle charging stations for their guests to drive emissions-free. Innkeepers at the Adobe on Green Street do most of their shopping for the inn using a 5-foot long bicycle trailer. But for those occasions when they have to drive a car, they use a plug-in hybrid vehicle, and since the car is charged off the solar panels, many of their miles are truly zero emissions.

Energy Efficiency and Water-Saving Devices
Case Ranch Inn, Inn at Locke House, Simpson House Inn, and many other inns have installed energy-saving and water-saving devices such as low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads, timers and motion sensors for exterior lighting, and more energy efficient lighting and appliances. The Grateful Bed in Chico, which was certified "Green Lodging" by the California Green Lodging Program in 2010, and features a host of energy and water-saving devices, including timers for lighting and its irrigation system.

The Martine Inn in Monterey features many similar devices as well. In addition, the inn uses hot water circulating pumps to reduce water usage, fresh fruit is stored in a California cooler requiring no electricity, and the antique lamps have been rebuilt to accommodate electronic ballast fluorescent or compact fluorescent bulbs.

Re-using, Recycling and Composting
Many inns in California recycle all of their recyclable waste and compost on site. The Adobe on Green Street composts all their food waste on site and grows all of the flowers for inn in their organic garden. The Martine Inn recycles everything and grows its own edible flowers. Inn at Locke House uses glass carafes for cold water in place of bottled water and cloth napkins instead of paper. Similarly, the Case Ranch Inn uses reusable dishes, glasses and linens.

In Sacramento, the Villas at Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa uses compostable cups made of 100 percent corn product at its onsite café and at various water stations. The cups compost in just 45-60 days.

Sorenson's Resort south of Lake Tahoe and the Inn at Locke House both participate in the Clean the World program. The program collects used soaps and shampoos from the hospitality industry, sanitizes and repurposes them, and then redistributes them to impoverished people worldwide, helping to prevent hygiene-related deaths and illnesses.

The Wine Country Inn in St. Helena has made a push to becoming more "green" through chickens. The innkeepers are renting a chicken coop from a small, nearby farm, where they feed and take care of nearly 200 chickens, which in turn provide farm-fresh eggs for the inn's daily breakfasts. Collecting the eggs from the chicken saves on packaging and trips to the grocery store. Plus, the chicken manure is added to the compost, which ultimately gets added to the inn's ever-growing, organic vegetable garden.

For more information about bed and breakfast inns in California, visit http://www.cabbi.com.

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