Hydrangea House recognises that it is has a responsibility to the environment beyond legal and regulatory requirements. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and continually improving our environmental performance as an integral part of our business strategy and operating methods. A symbol of this commitment is our membership of the Green Tourism Business Scheme. https://www.green-tourism.com/pages/home The scheme provides accreditation and encouragement for tourism businesses to reduce the environmental impact of their activities. In addition we've reviewed the European Commissions BEMP Guidance (Best Environmental Management Practice).
Our lovely home was not so lovely when we first viewed it, relatively untouched since the 1950's it was a museum to it's era and owners but it had an unquantifiable charm and soul. As heartbreaking as it was, in order to modernise and make the building safe we had to tear down some of it's internal structure and rebuild. We rebuilt using FSC registered timber, removed lead piping, improved & replaced insulation, glazing, heating, and lighting systems and in doing so we've taken the original poor EPC F Rating to a comfortable Energy Efficient C Rating.
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY, HEATING & LIGHTING
Unfortunately the building wasn't suited to solar; biomass boiler or air source heat pump but we do have an efficient boiler with upstairs/downstairs Nest thermostats, which we can also control remotely when guests depart. We're committed to using Green Tariffs for our energy supply to further reduce our carbon footprint and installed a Smart Meter, to help us monitor usage. Curtains are fully lined and all radiators are thermostatically controllable and of course the Log Burner earns its keep on cold days. Electrical appliances are A - A+++ Rated and Televisions automatically adjust their light output to reduce power consumption and Quooker Tap means kettles aren't repeatedly boiled. LED lighting is used throughout.
We've taken advantage of Solar Generation on our office building with any excess electricity generated returning to the grid. It's also where we do our laundry, air drying linen, robes and towels which are fluffed at the last minute for the shortest time.
Dual Flush Loos; showers and taps with flow control help us all reduce wasting water. We appreciate the Hot Tub could be argued an unnecessary luxury but we use Bromine to keep it sanitized which is kinder to both humans and the environment and we drench our thirsty eucalyptus trees with the water when it's drained for cleaning, harvesting rainwater for watering other plants to reduce our reliance on tap water. We have refillable water and milk bottles in our room fridges to reduce the reliance on single portion containers but it means our guests also get to make a really good cuppa in the morning with the milk of their choice.
Our cleaning products for both home and human are environmentally friendly, sustainable, recyclable & cruelty free; our loo roll is made from luxury bamboo fibres and beanbags filled with natural husks not polystyrene. Beds and duvets filled with natural hypoallergenic wool offer a sumptuous sleep whilst regulating body temperature the whole year round. We shred and recycle paper in the office and keep it's use to a minimum.
It can be a royal pain we know with every council operating different schemes. We've tried to make it as simple as possible with co-ordinated labels inside and out, to recycle, card & paper, glass, tins & plastics and compostable food waste. Bin bags are recycled, or compostable.
You'll be relieved to know our beds weren't sourced this way but you'll be hard pushed to work out which decorative items were carefully selected by 'Mum' in our local charity shops. She's got a keen eye!
We've sought out suppliers that share our values, using local trades and services; homemade, fair trade and/or organic goods feature heavily. Hythe has the longest High Street in Kent with a wealth of antique, vintage, individual cafes and restaurants. Our visitor guide has more detail.
We've planted four beautiful eucalyptus trees in handmade containers which we hope in time will build a private canopy for our guests and a haven for wildlife. Our hope to create year round fauna beneath with the Hydrangeas as the summer's feature bloom but we've also scattered our local bluebell seeds to create a little oasis for this endangered native species. We must address the issue of our astro turf, as it may raise an eyebrow, it was a difficult decision but one made with family and pets in mind for hygiene and maintenance considerations - who wants mud & grass in the Hot Tub?
NOISE AND LIGHT POLLUTION
Whilst we love the ambience of our garden lighting it's on a timer to switch off, giving wildlife the nighttime dark skies they need to thrive. Our 'Quiet Zone' between 22.30 and 09.00, is respectful to our neighbours, it's a quiet residential area and loud music and voices can resonate unreasonably.
We know the majority of guests will arrive by car (we have to) but our home is ideally located for weekend commuters with fast links from London St Pancreas to Folkestone, with a quick change onto a bus, you can hop off at the end of Twiss Road. We recommend http://www.traveline.info to plan journeys. Consider ditching the car on arrival, we've shops within walking distance and a wheeled trolley to carry supplies to/from the beach. Pack the walking boots, scooters or bikes we've a boot box, rack and lock available for your convenience alternatively hire some bikes using https://www.click2cycle.com/ For those ahead of the game check out local electric car charging points on https://www.zap-map.com/locations/hythe-charging-points/(we don't qualify for our own charging station yet). Once settled in simply grab the binoculars and nature book, you're set to go and explore.
At the end of the day we take our friendly hound out for a reviving walk, with an extra bag in tow to 'litter pick'. We don't always have time for committees and formal societies/events but every little bit helps.
Help us by being responsible guests. Support our 'Green' ambitions above simply by:
- being water wise;
- being energy aware, turn off lights or the thermostat down by 1degree;
- recycling, where ever possible;
- respect our 'Quiet Zone', just jump out the hot tub and turn the volume down;
- respect nature and wildlife by not littering, guarding against fire and using footpaths and coastal paths responsibly. Leave only your footprints.
Have you discovered City to Sea, the award winning organisation leading the campaign against plastics in our Seas - it's a no brainer! Check out the link for simple ideas that make a world of difference.
or download a Refill App to use whilst out and about instead of buying another plastic bottle.