What is green tourism?
Sep 15, 2013 / 5:00 am
We’ve had a good look at some of the ways we can GREEN up our real estate, now let’s see what’s what in the GREEN business world. GreenStep Solutions is a local company that's dedicated to "change the world by making business more profitable than business as usual". Their specific purpose is to deliver sustainability solutions for small and medium sized organizations. Local business Kelowna Toyota had GreenStep Solutions in to develop a sustainability strategy. Their goals were to reduce waste, water consumption, and energy use. They succeeded on all levels and save about $12,000 per year in energy costs with a 3 year payback period that they're almost through as this was done in 2011! Congratulations Kelowna Toyota!
GreenStep has recently been contracted by Green Tourism Canada to work with local businesses in Kelowna to assess their sustainability using a plan that has 10 categories and 140 possible items to be graded in such as energy and water consumption, waste and recycling. Green Tourism started in the UK 15 years ago and there are currently 2,500 certified operators who on average save 20% on their operating costs while providing services with sustainability in mind. Once graded, these operators will receive a Gold, Silver, or Bronze.
Leading the Pack
There are currently 4 businesses in Kelowna that are looking to explore the Green Tourism Canada designation.
House of Rose Winery in Black Mountain
Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Upper Mission
Best Western Hotel in Kelowna
Kelowna Mountain in Upper Mission
I had a chance to speak with Aura Rose, owner of House of Rose and they are getting busy for their Green Tourism assessment. Funded by Live Smart BC through the Small Business Champion Program, the Rose's received a grant and with some of their own money upgraded the following to their facility:
- Air Source Heat Pump
- New Energy Efficient Fans and Lighting
- Solar Hot Water System
- Moveable Walls
Their estimated payback for these upgrades was originally 6 years which has now been reduced to 3-4 years with larger than anticipated energy savings already obtained! One of the hurdles they needed to overcome was specific to the wine industry. The fermentation stage of wine production needs heat and to heat the entire 3,000 square foot building with 22' ceilings has been a big energy waster. Moveable walls were purchased and when the fermentation process is needed, the walls go up to create a smaller area for this stage. Also, a lot of water is needed in wine making primarily for cleaning and sterilizing and the solar hot water system has been not only efficient but has been one of the larger cost savings. House of Rose also follows organic practices. They buy eco-bottles to reduce glass and shipping weight and use cork closures, as cork is a good renewable resource. They also donate $3 for every case of wine sold to Fresh Outlook Foundation a locally run foundation dedicated to building sustainable communities. Aura estimates that they have reduced their energy costs by at least 50% and in fact their energy bills are less for the winery than their home which is about half the size. Well done!
Living in Kelowna offers such opportunity to conserve and think long term through sustainability. Sustainability in our homes is a perfect place to start! If you’re thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Okanagan Valley, phone me on my direct line 250-862-6464.
Read more Real Estate and Going Green articles
- Triple certification for Green home Dec 1
- Five of the world's greenest homes Oct 11
- What is green tourism? Sep 15
- Some green eye candy Aug 13
- Australia's first living building Jul 9
- Eco-friendly kitchens Jun 4
- Green Housing Expo coming up! May 26
- Congratulations Cranbrook! May 7
(Click for RSS instructions.)