Our Asheville Inn was recently recognized for its dedication to “Going Green” by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. We completed an extensive survey detailing everything we do at 1889 WhiteGate Inn to be more conscious of the environment. We were awarded “2 Dogwood Blossoms”, the second highest category. This program is through the NC Green Travel Initiative.
The NC Green Travel award is designed to encourage the tourism industry to “Go Green” by recognizing businesses that have established and energy team, recycles material, excels in water efficiency, practices energy conservation, and strives to practice green standards. A growing number of guests are asking for green products and services, and there is rising evidence that if we do not change how we do certain things, the destinations we like to visit are at risk of being permanently negatively affected.
Asheville has always been an environmentally-conscious city. It leads the state and the southeast in many areas. Recycling has always been important in Asheville. The city has recently added a program that will make it even easier. No longer do approved materials for recycling have to be separated into small bins. The city is providing a large container for recyclables for all businesses. This will make life a lot easier for employees at our Asheville inn, who have been gently prodding through the years to separate materials and place them in the proper bins. Breaking down boxes has always served as and outlet for stress relief for the staff, and we seem to have a huge amount to deal with.
One of the main areas we have concentrated on, to be more “Green” is to change our philosophy on cleaning supplies and materials used at our inn in Asheville. We no longer use harsh chemicals, but natural soaps and vinegar to clean our linens, guest rooms, bathrooms, and common areas. Many guests have sensitivities to a variety of cleaning agents so this has benefited everyone. We instituted an optional towel and linen re-use program for guests, which has been very well received. As appliances have needed to be replaced, we have sought out high efficiency replacements. Our new washers and dryers are all energy saving models.
We have never used chemicals in the greenhouse or in the gardens. We have discovered that soaps and oils are very effective in taking care of most pests. And the gardens are so full of plants that we do not worry about a few insects doing some damage!
Water efficiency has always been a priority at the Inn. One of the first things we did was have an irrigation well drilled in front of the greenhouse. We have never had to depend on city water for all of our irrigation, greenhouse, and pond system needs. And it gives us pure water without any chemical additives. One of the smartest technology advances we have taken advantage of is the installation of three tank-less instant hot-water heaters. They produce hot water as needed and do not have energy wasting water tanks. The added bonus is that guests never run out of hot water!
And finally, we have to mention one of the most effective environmental groups in Asheville, Asheville Greenworks, formally know as Quality Forward, now in their 36th year. Our Asheville Inn has been honored to participate in two Quality Forward Garden Tours, always held on Father’s Day and one of their largest fundraisers of the year. The description of this organization shown on their web site sums up how important the environment has always been in Asheville.
“Asheville Greenworks seeks to enhance the environment and quality of life for citizens in Asheville and Buncombe County through projects with our 900 members and thousands of volunteers, they engage the community in grassroots projects like tree planting, environmental cleanups, anti-litter and recycling education, creation and maintenance of green spaces, neighborhood beautification, and care and preservation of Asheville trees.”