THE owners of a South Devon hotel have spent almost £100,000 to go green having embarked on two major initiatives to go zero carbon and also have a zero to landfill policy.
The Edgemoor Country House Hotel in Bovey Tracey was built in the 1870s and was once a grammar school. But it has now been brought up to date with its renewable energy projects.
General manager Charles Russell explained: " We are all increasingly aware of our effect on our environment and our collective need to reduce the impact we have. At The Edgemoor we have made two major initiatives to ensure the impact on our environment is minimal.
"Our three oil-fired boilers have now been replaced by our Biomass Energy Centre. Instead of burning fossil fuel we are now burning wood chip that is now supplying all our hot water and heating. Wood chip is, of course, a renewable energy source, where replacement tree planting neutralises C02 emissions. We worked with the 5D Group to implement this initiative.
"The wood chip we source is via The Dartmoor Wood Fuel Co-operative. This ensures our fuel is locally sourced and also supports other local business initiatives."
He added: "The installation of the boiler not only helps with our carbon footprint but we estimate that the cost of wood chip will be almost half the annual cost for oil. It also means that we now have a heating system that is far more efficient than the previous oil central heating system."
As well as the biomas project, the hotel has also implemented a zero waste to landfill policy.
In conjunction with Devon Contract Waste, all food waste is collected an through Anaerobic Digestion, is turned into methane fuel. Alternatively it is used to produce an ECO Compost.
Glass is collected separately and recycled. All other waste goes to the separation plant just 17 miles from the hotel. After separation each group of materials are put back into the supply chain.
Charles said: "This is another way of ensuring products from our business are not impacting the environment. Recycling waste is of course significantly more beneficial to our environment than sending to land fill for future generations to deal with."
Speaking on the hotel's on-going green programme, Charles said: "Our decision to develop our social responsibilities in this direction is not only ethically driven. Despite initial concerns that investing in environmental initiatives would be costly, we can see that although significant up-front investment has been required, there will be long-term benefits to our business as well as our environment through reduced fuel costs, and government renewable heat incentives.
"Our environmental focus is heightened by the natural beauty of Dartmoor, and we have found that social responsibility does not have to come with a financial premium, and the contrary has actually been realised.
"Our aim is to ensure that wherever possible when introducing new systems or facilities within the hotel that environment impact is an automatic consideration in our decision making process.
" As a local business we are ensuring that we are creating less of an impact to our environment. We are also using, where possible, local suppliers to reduce food miles and also support the local economy."
The family hotel is owned by Simon and Heather Crow and Jorgen Hansen who purchased The Edgemoor five years ago.