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polytunnel

 

green business award

 
Our Footprint
7 years of hands-on experience.
 
In order to work with integrity and advise with authority, we set about making ecological improvements in our home and premises, in our lifestyle, in our shopping habits and in our transport needs. This process evolved gradually over a 7-year period.

Far from finding it a depressing shift, we have found it to be enormous fun and very rewarding. We no longer yearn to go shopping from more consumer tat! We are proud to be different and part of the solution to global climate problems. Our actions express optimism for our children's future – and for future generations. All in all, we're leaving less of a legacy of carbon dioxide and one of a more caring, conscious and ecological lifestyle, while saving ourselves money.
 
House
 
We changed all our lighting for low-energy light bulbs, beefed-up the loft insulation and installed solar hot water (which has been hugely successful). 2 years later we installed a 1.9kilowatt PV array to generate our own electricity, using a 50% grant from the government (still a costly exercise). It can produce about one third of our needs, but it varies a great deal from summer to winter.
In addition we have a wood-burning stove to boost the heating, double glazing all round and a large conservatory which generates significant passive solar gain to the house even in winter, on sunny days.
 
Garden

 

We gradually dug up more of our lawn (mowing grass produces CO2), extending our vegetable growing beds and creating an orchard for fruit trees and bushes.
We have spent a lot of time improving the soil, encouraging wildlife and beneficial insects, creating pleasant and relaxing places to be whilst making the garden highly productive for our table as well as for our guests.
Areas of ornamental plants and shrubs flow into the vegetable beds in an organic and integrated way, which is both attractive to the eye as well as helpful to biodiversity. We use 'companion planting' to attract beneficial insects which boost pollination and reduce pests such as green fly.
The rain water from our roof flows down a pipe into a wildlife pond and on into the soft fruits.
 
Work
 
We work mainly from home and use an environmental action plan based on IS014001. Last year we were awarded a gold award for our B&B business from The Nature Trust's initiative on sustainable tourism.
 
Transport
 
We have a diesel Volkswagen which runs very well on 50% recycled cooking oil. Last year we became guinea pigs for our recycled oil supplier, when we had the VW properly converted to run on 100% recycled oil. It is a great feeling to be driving about with a CO2 neutral fuel, but our vapour trail now smells distinctly of chips!
 
Lifestyle / Consumption
 

We take pleaure in buying most of our needs locally; using Fairtrade and organic products when we can. We recycle as much as we can and we don't feel deprived of many material goodies.
If we are honest, there are times in the darkest, chilliest days of winter when we would love to jet off to somewhere warm and sunny, and when we do give in to such temptations, we offset the carbon from our air travel by planting trees (there are organisations who can arrange this for you).

Not everyone wants to make the kind of changes we have been making, but 'every little helps'  - to steal a phrase from the carbon obese world of the supermarkets. So start from where you are and see what you can do to make a difference to your footprint.
We can offer coaching and advice for both domestic and commercial situations.

 
 
Gaia Partnership
Nurses Cottage, Long Lane, Peterchurch, Hereford, HR2 0TE
0845 458 4718
 
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