With Earth Day this week and my inbox filled with messages about how to make life a little greener, eco-friendly moves have been on my mind, so I got thinking about all the ways we try to be as green as possible at our Kennebunkport bed and breakfast. Fortunately Kennebunkport Maine has a pretty darn robust single stream recycling system, and that is one easy way to help reduce our impact on the planet.
But here’s the trouble – lots of folks don’t have access to recycling systems or aren’t
familiar with them, so we sort out our recycling by hand. It takes work, but we think it is worth it. And those water bottles we leave chilling in your fridge? We take those empties (along with beer cans and wine bottles) to be recycled as well! We tried recycling the paper napkins used in breakfast delivery baskets, but that was just a little icky – so we switched to cloth instead. Plus, we always use cloth napkins in the dining room as well. But all of those napkins (plus all of our luxurious super-fine cotton linens) have to be spotless, so after stain treating, we use specially formulated laundry detergent that works with cold water.
Additionally, we have switched to LED bulbs and fixtures throughout the property, except for places with vintage fixtures that call for a particular look and we haven’t identified an environmentally friendly option that creates the same ambience. In fact, just this spring we replaced the lights dotting the expansive grounds at the Maine Stay Inn with ones that light the area even better and use far less energy. But the biggest change we’ve made to make our Kennebunkport bed and breakfast more environmentally friendly is to change our entire heating and cooling systems. We’ve switched to high-efficiency on-demand water heaters, a high-efficiency boiler (to replace the nearly 10ft x 10ft model circa 1910), and Mitsubishi heat pumps for individual comfort cooling and heating. It’s been a long process, but one we thing is worth it – to our guests for their comfort and for the planet. Despite these changes, we know there is always room for improvement in reducing our carbon footprint, and we are always looking for ways to source products made locally instead (like using Maine timbers for projects, and sourcing eggs and milk from Maine farms) – it’s a work in progress but one that is well worth it!