Highland hotelier trials carbon footprinting initiative

3 October 2009

A Highland hotelier has been the inspiration for the application of a ground-breaking American web project to travel and hospitality businesses.

Caroline Gregory, Managing Partner of The Lovat, Loch Ness is working with the developers of the Sourcemap website, which is being trialled in the Highlands of Scotland as the result of a tie up between the research developers from the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The new free website is a technological first for carbon footprinting in the Highlands and Islands; Sourcemap software allows businesses to input information on where they get various commodities and then provides them with a calculation and a map which they can put on their own websites or marketing material.

Caroline has been accounting for the emissions incurred by her guests’ travel to the hotel for several years, specifically in terms of mode of transport and starting point of each guest in an effort to offer a carbon-neutral destination; Sourcemap is now a valuable aid in gathering and monitoring this data.

Leo Bonnani, one of the researchers behind Sourcemap said that the Highlands and Islands, where they are working with progressive small companies concerned with supporting local communities and the environment, is an excellent place to pilot the project.

“Caroline inspired the application of Sourcemap to travel and hospitality businesses. Her meticulous accounting for the energy use of the hotel and the carbon footprint of her guests is driven by a respect for the regional and global environment, part of an ethos she shares on her website.

“When presented with Sourcemap, she proposed to map her guests’ yearly journeys to the hotel and include the map on her site to reassure future guests that their travel footprint was being accounted for.”

The Lovat is an independent eco-conscious hotel overlooking Loch Ness, and Caroline has embedded environmental awareness into her everyday business activity, including offering price reductions to guests travelling on public transport, walking or cycling to the hotel.

Amongst other practices she gives a carbon conscious donation for each room booked at The Lovat to Trees for Life, uses degradable cleaning products, eco-conscious appliances and design, monitors and minimises waste daily, and controls a revolutionary central heating and hot water system fuelled by a computerised biomass wood chip burner.

Further information on The Lovat, Loch Ness, visit thelovat.com .

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