Environmental and Ethical Policies
"We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will."
- Quaker Advice
It is important to us that we minimise any negative contribution to climate change, material waste, poor working conditions and animal welfare. Please read on as these policies will affect your stay - they might even save you some money.
We are a Carbon Negative Business
We accept the mass of evidence that climate change is real, that CO2 emissions contribute to it, and that action is needed urgently. Therefore this is where we spend a fair bit of our income.
Estimates of our annual 'carbon footprint', based on 4000 miles car travel, no flights, and a 'green supplier' energy supplier, are around 9-15 tonnes/year but this doesn't take account of fact that our energy supply is entirely carbon-neutral so the actual figure will be much lower.
The calculator at carbonfootprint.com suggests our footprint is around 5 tonnes including all our purchasing etc. Estimates of the carbon capture of the number and size of the trees in the garden is around 1 tonne.
Thus, it's nigh impossible to tell if we are nearly carbon neutral already, or if we have work to do. To be completely sure that we have a net-negative carbon footprint we buy carbon offsetting from Carbon Neutral Britain to the tune of 60 tonnes per year.
Websites also cost energy. This one is designed to be better than most (and faster to load). Currently...
Supporting Car-Free Lifestyles
Malvern is well connected by railway but we are three miles from the station. Once here, there is plenty for a relaxing break without using a car. There is a pub in walking distance and we are amenable to guests ordering a take-away to eat in the dining room (we'll provide plates and cutlery, and wash up)
For those coming by train (or other non-car means) for a stay of 2 nights or more, we offer a £20 discount, which is approximately the cost of travelling to here from the station, and back, by taxi.
Sadly, there is no bus service here, though visiting Worcester is relatively easy by train.
Energy, and Room Temperatures
We're sure you will understand that a building of this size and age, despite considerable investment in insulation, is very expensive to heat and that is a major factor in our pricing.
The room temperature is set to be comfortable assuming you are wearing clothes appropriate to the season.
All of our gas and electricity is provided by Good Energy. The electricity is 100% from renewable sources and the gas supply is carbon-neutral. All the lighting is LED. All four gas boilers have been replaced with high efficiency ones.
We considered biomass heating (insufficient space, questionable long term supply), solar (insufficient 'sun time' on roof due to the trees & hills), and air/ground heat pumps (we may revisit these now that technology has moved on).
B&B: Bins & Towels
When Covid imposed restrictions on entering guest rooms we stopped providing daily servicing of rooms. We have continued this practice as guests have appreciated the privacy. Thus, bins are not emptied daily which reduces plastic waste (as bin liners are one of the few 'single use' plastics we use when we've run out of re-usable bags). If full, please leave outside your door. There is a bin for bulk recyclables (papers, cans, bottles,..) on the landing.
We will not normally refresh towels during your stay. The energy, water and time cost of laundering a towel after only a day or two's use is unacceptable these days.
Our standard prices reflect these practices. A higher level of service is available at extra charge.
We launder most towels here and, weather allowing, they are dried in the open air.
For larger groups, we may offer a Bring Your Own Towel discount.
There is little that can't be 'recycled' in some way. Guests are encouraged to keep recyclable items separate. Specific bins are provided in each apartment and the B&B waste is sorted by us. Suitable food waste is composted on site for use in the garden. Bulky and awkward recyclables (batteries, cardboard crates, ..) are stored and taken to the Recycling Centre when we are passing that way.
Any redundant items, from towels to furniture, are 'recycled' via charities or Freecycle as appropriate.
Plastic bags are re-used. You may find your bin liner is a magazine wrapper.
We prefer to use small local traders and suppliers such that the local economy benefits directly from our expenditure. All of our contractors (cleaners, laundry, roofers, decorators, electricians, plumbers, builders,...), and thus a spend into the local economy of many tens of thousands of pounds, are within a radius of 6 miles.
Eggs, bacon, sausages, apple juice and soft fruit are provided by small independent suppliers within 6 miles of here. Flour is organic and sourced from Shipton Mill 30 miles away.
Tea & coffee is Fairtrade. Animal-derived products are free range.
We happily source items from charity shops and other re-use sources, be that furniture, additional mugs or more books for the bookshelves.
The use of paper 'disposable' products is kept to a minimum, and when used they are composted or recycled as appropriate. Toilet rolls are sourced from Who Gives a Crap who donate 50% of profits to providing toilets to the 2 billion people who don't have access to one.
Where viable, products are purchased in larger sizes to reduce the quantity of packaging material needed per kilo.
We bank with the Co-op Bank, with savings held in the Triodos bank, a bank that only lends to environmentally conscious companies and projects.
Our phone and broadband are provided by YourCoop (formerly The Phone Coop) and our website hosting by Mythic Beasts, a small, no-nonsense, technically-competent hosting company in Cambridge.
The 19th Century was not a time when energy efficiency was high on the agenda, nor indeed were modern expectations of warmth.
We regard ourselves as custodians of the house. Any changes, improvements and restorations are done with as much respect for the historic workmanship as possible. That said, rather more than you might expect actually dates from works in the 70's, and the 90's where the workmanship was less inspiring .
Our first major task was to restore the roof and complete the roof insulation. As many as possible of the original slates and tiles were re-used, and failing timbers carefully and selectively replaced.
The large timber windows have been carefully restored and, while doing so, the panes replaced with double glazing. Others have had secondary glazing fitted where this does not impact visually and the rest have been draughtproofed during restoration. This, we were advised, was a greater benefit per cost than having them double-glazed (which would also have meant the loss of much of the original timber).
Much of the energy-saving work was supported by a 30% grant from the EU.
In 2020 we re-carpeted the hall, stairs, landing and Nursery apartment hallway. For exactly all the reasons on this page we chose to buy a wool carpet manufactured in Worcestershire and not a plastic one manufactured abroad despite the substantial cost difference.
We donate substantially to a number of charities including Oxfam, Unicef, Christian Aid, and Medicin sans Frontieres.
There are two, perhaps lesser-known, charities that we particularly contribute time and activity to support. One is the National Garden Scheme for whom we open the gardens here. They distribute donations (typically amounting to around £3million) to a number of nursing and benevolent charities.
The other is a Birmingham based charity, CYEN (Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network), that does extraordinary work with the children from poor rural areas in Uganda, providing support and education in an area where attending secondary school is not the norm.