Low Carbon Living - Support local businesses and communities to keep the Blue Mountains beautiful
The Escarpment Groups ‘Hydro Majestic Hotel’ at Medlow Bath has entered a new phase of sustainability with five direct injection compost units, or ‘Macerators’ to be installed at the Hydro Majestic, Lilianfels Resort & Spa and Echoes Boutique Hotel this month to manage the vast amount of organic waste produced.
The macerator grinds up all kitchen food waste and pumps it into a tank that is electronically monitored. When approaching full capacity, notification is received by the service company and a truck takes the reduced contents to an organic ‘pulp’ to an EPA approved broad acre farm to be ‘directly’ injected onto a paddock
The Hydro Majestic produces 1.5 tonnes of food waste weekly. A national hospitality sector food waste study estimates 40% of restaurant and hotel food ends up in landfill annually. Escarpment Group’s Chief Engineer, Peter Redman, has spent 7 years researching sustainability options to lower the Group’s large amount of food waste, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The decision was prompted by a $127,000 NSW government’s Bin Trim Business Grant, to invest in direct injection units for their commercial kitchens at a total cost of $300,000. “Considering we spend $311 per tonne sending food waste to landfill, and produce two to three tonnes of food waste across Lilianfels, Echoes and the Hydro Majestic Hotels, the gross savings amount to $75,000 a year. The investment will be recuperated in two years, the venture is commercially and environmentally viable and sets a precedent’. says Peter.
Also moving towards low carbon operations, Blue Mountains City Council’s Carbon Abatement Action will identify “carbon hotspots” within Council operations, and develop and fund projects to reduce carbon emissions in those areas. Council’s introduced green bin service and ongoing education and capacity building programs have reduced domestic organic waste going to landfill.
Business organic waste to landfill remains an issue. Council is supporting and promoting the NSW EPAs highly successful Bin Trim program for businesses interested in reducing carbon emissions due to waste going to landfill go to: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/resources/managewaste/120792-bin-trim.pdf
One Escarpment Group long-term goal is to develop their Parklands’ 3000sqm kitchen garden to fully supply all four local properties. Another goal is to invest in solar energy. General Manager, Ralf Bruegger, explains that design, durability and investment return are all factors being considered. Hydro Majestic’s current energy provider is Origin Energy. “The hotels’ energy consumption is predominantly during off-peak times (night and weekends) so gas and electricity bills are not exorbitant”,
Ralf argues that “it is important to meet our guests’ expectations of a luxurious experience, but also be conscientious of our carbon footprint”. Ralf is confident guests are aware of what can be achieved without lowering standards or compromising on comfort.
Katoomba’s Shelton-Lea Bed & Breakfast’s owners, Jenny and Paul McLaughlin, manage four self-contained private suites at their classic Blue Mountains bungalow. They are Gold rated LCL members with solar panels, a water tank, LED light bulbs, waste recycling, energy-efficient fridges and appliances, separately zoned central heating, environmentally-friendly toiletries in the bathrooms, free-range meat, eggs and local produce-sourced breakfasts, worm farming and composting. They have a TripAdvisor ‘Green Leaders’ Platinum level distinction.
Jenny and Paul began worm farming four years ago with two worm farms shaded at the rear of the property. Worm farms can consume large quantities of food waste and produce copious amounts of ‘worm tea’ and castings, an ideal nutrient-rich garden fertiliser. “The worms came with the starter kits and we have thousands of worms now”, says Jenny. They are fed food scraps from the B&B with the exception of meat, citrus and eggshells.Read More ...
Katoomba North Public School (KNPS) is the first school to join the Blue Mountains - Low Carbon Living program, committing to reducing its carbon footprint. Whilst constrains of the public school system make localised change challenging, the KNPS community are determined to make a change. KNPS’s Principal, Cathy Clark, has embarked on a sustainability plan involving the whole school community. Encouraging environmental awareness, providing ongoing educational opportunities, and encouraging community contributions towards developing a wholehearted sustainable living mindset and practices, are key.Read More ...
Local owner of the award winning Rooster Restaurant and Jamison Guesthouse, Ross Delaney has made significant renovations to the heritage-listed building to ensure energy efficiency without compromising the 1890s Edwardian architecture or structure. Double-glazing, time regulated central heating, waste management, LED lighting and energy efficient globes he been installed since joining the LCL Program 2 years ago.Read More ...
Katoomba’s Bendigo Bank is the first Upper Blue Mountains bank to invest in solar panels. The bank is making a conscious effort to reduce its carbon footprint, commit to helping the environment and set an example for other businesses.
“Renewable energy isn’t just an environmental statement, it’s economically smart,” proclaims a billboard mounted on the pavement outside its branch.Read More ...