Nanny Brow

A LUXURY bed and breakfast has proved that being environmentally friendly cam attract new business.

Owner of Nanny Brow Susan Robinson said guests had chosen the guest house after reading the venue's environmental policy online.

When she set about restoring the 1904 building, of Clappersgate, Ambleside, Mrs Robinson wanted to keep the historic arts and crafts architecture but establish as many energy- saving devices as possible.

The premises’ grounds have been designed to increase biodiversity, with native plants in the gardens, letting hedges grow while in flower and working to re-establish red squirrels into the woodland.

This is something Mrs Robinson says guests like to see and helps the environment at the same time.

She also keeps a diary recording rarer animals that appear in the grounds.

"We live in an area of outstanding natural beauty and we need to preserve it for generations to come otherwise it will be ruined," said Mrs Robinson. "Guests often ask to see our biomass boiler. They like to learn how it all works. We get all the fuel for it from Penrith to cut excess mileage."

The 10-bedroom accommodation has thermally insulated curtains and black-out interlining. There are also thermal blinds on all single glazed windows. Radiators are fitted with thermostatic valves or turned down to frost setting in rooms not occupied Another addition to the bed and breakfast is stylish recycled bins for guests to use. In the rooms most of the products are from recycled materials where possible, including toilet rolls, tissues and paper.

Guests are also encouraged by staff to travel to local beauty spots either on foot or by using public transport. And all the food served at Nanny Brow is sourced from within 20 miles of Ambleside.

"Quite a lot of guests say they came to us because they saw our environmental policy," said Mrs Robinson. "People really like the recycling bins."

Elim Lodge Guest House

PIONEERING the way for a greener future, bosses at the Elim Lodge Guest House are on a mission to promote innovative methods of preserving the Lake District's beauty spots.

Nestled in the hills surrounding Bowness, owners of the family-run business said they first became interested in environmental issues in the 1970s when they decided to be resourceful and always re-use things where possible.

Graham Woodroffe, joint owner of the guest house along with his partner Linda Woodroffe, said over the past decade, the pair had been developing their tactics for a greener business.

They have found making small changes create a big difference in terms of their carbon footprint and have been leaders in spreading their knowledge around the business world.

"Many of the things that we do are simple, many are cost neutral or cost saving and could be adopted by most businesses," said Mr Woodroffe, who arranges, runs and speaks at a number of seminars across the county, advising people on the best way to be more sustainable.

Within the last five years the lodge has cut its gas usage by 24.9 per cent by installing a new boiler.

They have reduced their electricity usage by 10.7 per cent after introducing low energy bulbs.

All their fruit and vegetables are composted and their showers have restrictions on tap feeds and lower flow showers, which has helped save 15.2 per cent of their water usage in the last five years.

Mr Woodroffe hopes his methods of turning green will inspire other businesses to follow suit.

"This cannot but help protect the most precious business resource we all have in South Lakes, the beautiful surroundings," said Mr Woodroffe.

RSR Total Solutions

WHEN you are helping the likes of Heinz, Morrisons, and Sainsburys save energy, you are certaintly making a difference.

And this is just what Milnthorpe-based RSR Total Solutions do.

Set-up by Phil Goodfellow and his wife Michelle in 2005, the firm specialises in helping other businesses with their energy management, particularly supermarkets and those in food processing.

“We look at existing systems and see how people can improve their energy efficiency,” said company secretary Mrs Goodfellow.

“We can see where they are using most energy and where they can save most, and can put in energy efficient equipment to ensure this happens.

“Phil also goes to the companies to give talks on the systems, in relation to how they are environmentally-friendly.”

She explained that the changes they make could save thousands of pounds to those who used the service.

“Most people want the payback time for start-up costs to be within three years and this happens because the amount saved on bills is so large.”

And it seems that RSR may be one of the few companies to have benefitted from the recent economic crisis that the county has suffered.

“Because of the recession people have been looking at how money can be saved and as we can offer them a solution, it has probably made us busier,” said Mrs Goodfellow.

Subsequently, between 2009 and 2011, the firm employed nine extra staff, who she said ranged from the age of 18 to 68.

“Age is not a barrier to us, we have a nice mixture of different people and everybody is based on their own merit.”

And at RSR Total Solutions, employees are treated like members of the family.

Mrs Goodfellow said: “We are a small company that has a family feel and I think this makes people happier when they are getting on with their work - it’s more relaxing and nice to know you are not just a number.”