Environmentally friendly lodging in Freeport, Maine
What does ‘Environmentally Friendly Lodging’ mean?
For us at White Cedar Inn it means a commitment to reduce our footprint on the Earth. We are the first B&B in Freeport to be awarded the Environmental Leadership Certificate in Green Lodging by the State of Maine. To achieve this certificate we reviewed the processes surrounding our running of the Inn and chose the best practices we could to reduce our impact on the environment. We’re proud to have been awarded the Environmentally Friendly Lodging in Maine certificate.
What ‘best practices’ did we focus on?
- Water consumption
- Electricity consumption
- Trash reduction
- Fuel Oil consumption
- Cleaning supplies and
- Allergen reduction
Because we are a small B&B we do not have the large electricity or water consumption problems of a major hotel, so we chose to focus on areas that everyone could do at home. In that way, using our Inn as a model for all of our guests.
What we did –
Installed a low water usage washing machine.
Repaired all toilets and leaking faucets.
Lawns and gardens are not watered. Only window boxes and new plantings are watered.
All new, lower-flow shower heads, with better water pressure!
Water savings first year – 9,036 gallons.
What we did –
Switched 50% of the inn’s light bulbs to CFL’s. This is an ongoing project.
Put all office equipment possible on power strips that are turned off at night.
Put high electricity usage equipment (coffee maker, parking lights) on timers.
Added an old fashioned, non-portable phone to the front desk for guest use. (Non-portable phones do not require electricity to run, they run off the line voltage from the phone company. Thus, they work even during a power outage.)
This year- replaced an additional 25% of the inn’s light bulbs.
Due to record occupancy rates last year, we held steady on the electricity consumption, rather than having an increase as would have been expected.
What we did –
Recycling – Something easy to do most anywhere. We recycle your shoe boxes, shopping bags, beverage containers, newspapers, and whatever the transfer station will take!
Bottle redemption – Maine is one of the only states that allows all beverage containers excepting milk and juice boxes to be redeemed for cash. This wasn’t our idea but we take full advantage of it!
Composting – We have a central compost pickup site here in Freeport. All the scraps from breakfast go into a 5 gallon pail we empty 1 – 2 times/week.
Building supplies are recycled to the ReStore, Habitat for Humanity’s recycle center. We’ve taken light fixtures, cabinet knobs and 2 dorm-size refrigerators to them.
Old linens are taken to a variety of locations including a transitional home and local pet shelter.
What we saved: We have gone from having trash pickup of 2-50 gallon trash bins once per week to only needing to go to the transfer station once per month. Which basically means we are now recycling 50% of what was formerly tossed in the landfill.
What we did –
Each room has its own thermostat so the entire building is not heated for one guest room.
We do not pre-heat rooms for you. It takes about 10 minutes to get the room up to ‘room temperature’ once you arrive.
We ask that you turn the heat down to 60 degrees when leaving for more than an hour.
Common area thermostats are set at 60 degrees after 11 PM.
What we saved: Again, due to record occupancy, the fuel oil consumption held steady, rather than rising.
2012- replaced both oil furnaces with natural gas, high-efficiency furnaces that do not continually heat water ‘just in case’. The furnaces heat the water only when a room thermostat is turned up.
We make a conscious effort to buy cleaning supplies which are non toxic.
What we did –
We use a combination of cotton and poly-cotton for the bedding to eliminate the use of petrochemicals in cleaning.
Quilts, duvets, mattress covers and blankets are washed regularly in hot water to reduce dust mites and allergens.
We eliminated the use of fabric softeners which many people now find contain skin and eye irritants.
Tablecloths are cotton.
Bed linens (sheets and pillowcases) are not changed everyday of your stay to reduce water usage.
Towels are changed every other day of your stay unless you request otherwise.
We recycle all old, clean linens to local homeless shelters. This includes quilts, blankets, sheets and towels. We also donate the older mattresses to the same shelters.
For the future:
We are continually looking for more ways to save energy and reduce waste. We hope these few items give you some food for thought on what you can do around your own house!
Since the arrival of the Amtrak DownEaster we have been encouraging our Boston-area guests to ‘get on board!’ and take the train here. It’s a quick walk from the station to here.
What can you do?
Concerned about traveling and carbon emissions? We know lots of guests (and ourselves included) are not really sold on carbon offsets. But we do have some suggestions for ‘off setting’ your trip to Maine this year:
Walk or bike to work or school covering the distance you will drive to Maine and home again.
Do you drive your kids 100 feet to the bus stop and then sit idling your car? Let the kids walk! It burns calories for them and saves you money.
Do your teenagers (all 5 of them) drive themselves to school each in their own car? Is there a big yellow school bus driving the same route to school past your house? You know where I’m going with this…
Plan your trips in the car. Just like a grocery list helps you save money, a ‘driving plan’ will cut down on wear and tear on the car and your nerves!
If public transportation exists in your area, use it. If it doesn’t exist, find out why.
Find out more about other businesses that have been awarded this certificate and the requirements to obtain it at the state website. Look for the following logo for lodging, restaurants and stores in Maine which have received the award.