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  • Writer's pictureSarah

It Ain't Easy Being Green?

Right, been meaning for ages to talk about how much being green means to us! Surely there’ll be others of you who are passionate about this too. We think it’s so important to make whatever changes we all can to mitigate the over-heating of the climate, respect wildlife and stop dumping garbage in landfill. The big changes are very hard to make overnight but here’s what we’ve done so far.

First, we’re committed to maintaining our 5 acre property as a woodland plantation. Trees are friends. Trees make life. The trees breathe in a mixture of gases including carbon dioxide, and help filter this from the atmosphere. We’re committed to maintaining the property as woodland as long as we here, including felling old, diseased and other select trees, and replanting. It also provides habitat for creatures we’ve spotted including tawny owls, other birds of prey, stoat, hedgehogs, all sorts of songbirds, deer, common newts, frogs, toads, quite a lot of bats, bees, wasps, and the odd stray cat or two (lol)

Next - recycling, repurposing and reusing: the Airstream itself of course being the best example of this. Rather than buying a new unit, we repaired and reimagined this old beauty. We’ve tried to use local building materials as much as possible like the old bricks that make up the hot tub base, which were dug up out of the soil on the farm during landscape works. The bridge is made from two old local telegraph poles. Inside the trailer the sofa bed, bench, kitchen table, tableware and cutlery all came pre-loved. We of course ask that guests sort their waste into the appropriate bins provided: rubbish, plastic/tins, glass, and paper.

Energy supply. This is a BIG one. Electricity supplied to the Airstream and our cottage is on a 100% renewable tariff. This powers the water heater for sinks and shower, and electric heater of course. All lights are energy-saving LEDs. No gas is used on the property though our home is heated by burning fuel oil unfortunately, something we’re keen to switch to air source heat pump as soon as possible. And of course there’s the firewood for the trailer’s stove and hot tub. Burning wood produces more greenhouse gases than burning fossil fuels but what helps mitigate this is the air-cleaning properties the tree contributes to the climate during its lifetime. Our wood is all very local which is good. It’s a mix of trees felled on site and air-dried, and kiln-dried hardwood and softwood from a supplier here in Galston with an excellent 14% moisture content. The drier the wood, the cleaner it burns.

Energy efficiency. When it comes to laundry we air-dry all the bed linens and towels for the Airstream and custom-built racks Jack made, saving a lot of energy and money not running the drier. As for heating, to maximise heat retention for cold weather stays, we jammed full the trailer's cavity walls with so much insulation it's ridiculous. Think double-stuffed oreos. We pulled out the nasty old 1970s fibreglass stuff which had fallen down in places and replaced it with 'pillows' made of aluminium bubble insulation filled with recycled polyester batten. Most of the windows are double glazed, which help to retain heat, apart from the skinny 'vista view' windows.

Waste treatment: What about the sewage from the holiday let? All the wastewater goes into a 'package sewage treatment plant' that drains directly into the burn. What's great about it is that it uses an aeration system to sustain a colony of bacteria which 'eat' the waste and effectively release clean, clarified water at the end of a process. It works differently to a septic tank. Also keeping the burn in mind, we use eco-friendly Method brand cleaning products and Ecover dish soap.

Our goals:

**install an electric charging point at the car park. We're looking at grants for this..

**Install renewable energy source such as wind turbine or solar

**Add more owl boxes and a frog pond

**Grow veg in a greenhouse which can also be enjoyed by guests

**Secure an electric vehicle ourselves for family use, supply runs and potentially picking up guests from the train station!

**Plant tree seeds to supply each willing guest with a seedling to take away and plant somewhere

In fact, I like that last idea best. If you think of other things we can do, or would like to share what you're doing to make changes we'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading xx

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