Wednesday, Jul 11 2012
Everybody is becoming aware of environmental issues and there has been a big push towards becoming environmentally friendly, or “green”. Going green is all about preserving resources, finding more efficient ways of working and cutting down on waste. Not only is this good for the environment, but it will probably benefit your bottom line too – you’ll be saving on resource costs and attracting environmentally conscious visitors. Here are some simple tips for going green.
There are many quick and easy ways to save electricity usage and costs. Check that your appliances and your boilers are relatively new and in good working order; older or damaged ones use a lot more power. Consider swapping your electric stove for a gas-powered one, which is much cheaper to run. Small changes make a big difference: you’ll be surprised how much you save by swapping to energy-saving light bulbs, unplugging appliances (especially boilers) that are not being used and turning lights and air conditioners off when you leave the room. Also, South Africa is blessed with a lot of annual sunshine, so consider investing in solar water heaters; the government has a subsidy scheme in place to make this more affordable.
South Africa is a relatively dry country and saving water should be a top priority for everyone. The two main uses for water are in bathrooms and gardens.There are many technologies available for reducing water use in the bathroom, such as expensive toilet flushing mechanisms and grey water collectors – but there are also cheaper and quicker things you can do. First, place a brick or filled water bottle in every cistern to reduce the amount of water used when flushing. Second, install water-saving showerheads and tap nozzles, which can lower water use by up to 75%. For the garden, make sure that you keep only local indigenous plants, and keep a barrel or tank for collecting rainwater to water the garden.
Reuse and recycle
Two of the best ways to save resources are to reuse and recycle whatever you can. Don’t provide disposable cups, napkins and containers for guests; rather choose the reusable alternatives. Also, you don’t need to swap out all of the bedding and towels every day – nobody does this at home, and it isn’t necessary at a guest house either. If you swap these every third day, you’ll save 66% of your laundry and energy costs. When it comes to recycling, the key is to pick the most beneficial products to recycle – glass and metal cans are prime candidates, while paper and plastics are less worthwhile. Also, organic waste is a great source of compost for your garden, and is easy to create.
Your physical property
If you are building a guest house from scratch, do some research into the most ecologically friendly building materials. If your property is already built, consider consulting with a specialist engineer who will point out the places in your building that are wasting energy. One of the cheapest modifications to make is to install good insulation in the roof and walls, and to hang heavy curtains that keep the heat in in winter, and out in summer. Also, consider planting some trees, which not only provide shade and beauty, but also take carbon dioxide out of the air.
The 10-week, part-time University of Cape Town Guest House Management short course is ideal for existing and aspiring guest house owners and managers and is presented completely online throughout South Africa. For more information contact Anique on 021 447 7565 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.getsmarter.co.za