Here at the Sandhill Crane we do our best to conserve, reuse and recycle. We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our impact on the environment. We want to share with you some of the ways we try to reduce our carbon footprint.
Water Corrales, located in the high desert, receives a limited amount of rain and snow during the year. Water is a precious commodity and we do what we can to conserve. The inn uses low flow toilets and shower heads in all of the bathrooms. Guests have provided favorable feedback on our Oxygenics shower heads that use oxygen to deliver a stronger water flow.
Cleaning linens and bedding is a big part of running a bed and breakfast. We ask our guests to help us conserve water and the energy required to run the washer and dryer by reusing their towels. For our longer term guests we change bed linens every four days. Of course, bedding and towels are always changed when they are soiled!
Our yard and garden are watered by drip irrigation and timed sprinklers. We have installed a rain barrel and rain chain to capture water from the roof during our summer monsoons. We also drain the evaporative cooler into the rain barrel. This water is used on ornamental plants in the garden.
Water is served at the breakfast table on request. Any water left behind goes immediately into the pots containing my geraniums.
Here in Corrales all homes are served by private wells and septic tanks. We condition our water with a product called K-Life. It takes the place of salt in a water softener. The resulting treated water is much easier on the septic system and our land because no salts leach out.
We recycle cans, plastic bottles, newspapers, cardboard and paper bags at the recycling center in Corrales. We also recycle egg cartons, plastic clam shells (strawberries come in these) and large potting containers by turning them over to our friends at the growers market. They, in turn, use them to bring their produce to market. We very seldom have plastic bags as I use cloth bags to pack my groceries when shopping at the grocery store. I have a special basket I use when we go to the farmers market; eliminating the need for any bags to transport my purchases.
As you can imagine we go through alot of bedding, towels and washcloths. Over the course of time they become frayed at the edges. While we can no longer use them on guests beds at the inn, several homeless shelters are always happy to put them to good use. Our towels and washcloths go either to the homeless shelter or to the animal rescue shelters where towels are always in demand.
Those of you that read the Innkeepers Corner know that I have taken up worm composting. All of the food waste, with the exception of meats, cheese or fats, goes into the worm composter. The worms also seem to like paper from our shredder, coffee filters and tea bags. It takes them about a week to digest a produce sized plastic bag of garbage and turn it into wonderful compost.
We also compost our garden waste. We have several cottonwoods and a very large ash tree on our property. Come the fall we have an abundant amount of leaves that we rake up, grind up and turn into mulch. Sometimes we end up supplying our farmers market friends with our excess.
We have replaced all of our hall lighting with energy efficient fluorescent lights. It can be a bit disconcerting when you flip the switch and it takes a few seconds for the light to come on, but they do save energy. Solar lamps are used as accent lighting in our garden and along the walk and parking area. While not exceptionally bright they provide some light and are fairly maintenance free.