The ‘Classic Green’ initiative was launched in June 2011 by the Helston-based specialist self-catering lettings agency to identify those holiday properties where owners have gone the extra mile to try and counter their environmental impact.
At the time of launching, only 16 of Classic Cottages’ properties across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset had been awarded the ‘Classic Green’ status – in the past year, a further 22 properties have received the grading, meaning there are now 38 ‘Classic Green’ cottages available to let in the Westcountry.
Anthony Skitt, Managing Director of Classic Cottages, says: “I’m delighted that we have more than doubled the number of properties in our portfolio with ‘Classic Green’ status, and hope that the scheme will continue to grow with more properties being added all the time. Having the Green grading system enables environmentally aware holidaymakers to choose properties which fit in with their lifestyle, and the properties can be clearly identified by the Classic Green leaf logo in our brochure and by searching on our website.”
Classic Cottages was one of the first holiday lettings companies in the UK to develop its own in-house initiative for green grading properties, which requires property owners to have taken at least 20 specific measures to qualify.
The measures fall under the headings of waste, purchasing, water, energy, social, environment and communication. There are six criteria which have been categorised as essential, which are:
• Providing recycling facilities for all guests
• Providing and using only eco-friendly and responsibly purchased cleaning materials
• Providing recycled paper goods (i.e kitchen towel and toilet roll)
• Fitting low-energy light bulbs throughout
• Fitting (or replacing with when due for replacement) appliances that carry the Energy Saving Trust Recommended Certification Mark (A, A+ or A++ rated)
• Displaying details of the Classic Green Scheme requirements within the cottage information folder so that guests are aware of the requirements
One of the most recent owners to join the scheme in March 2012 is Yvonne Hacon, who owns Beacon Top Bottom in St Agnes with her husband Jurg Ehmann. The property is a converted barn which sleeps two people, situated on the couple’s smallholding, which came second in Country Smallholding magazine’s ‘Smallholder of the Year’ awards.
Yvonne says: “It was actually Classic Cottages’ ‘Green Guide’ which made us decide to market our property with them, as it made a nice change to see a holiday lettings company trying to do something good for the environment.
“We use all recycled products and up-cycled where we could when furnishing the property and make sure all our cleaning products are environmentally friendly. When guests arrive we leave a package of things like eggs from our free-range hens and fresh produce we’ve grown ourselves, which I think people find as a really nice touch.
“We make a point of promoting the recycling facilities and asking guests to donate any leftover food to feed our animals. I do think environmentally conscious guests appreciate being able to stay somewhere on holiday where it’s easy to live as you would at home, and if it’s something they haven’t thought about before they might even take some green-living ideas home with them.
“Hopefully being considerate towards the environment and trying to reduce your carbon footprint is something that more holiday property owners are catching on to. Even if you’re not particularly eco-friendly, some things just make sense – if we didn’t recycle we would have badgers tearing through our rubbish bags every week – and it’s also really easy to do, with green and recycled products becoming more and more readily available.”
Classic Cottages has been recognised for its environmental awareness by achieving Gold status under the Green Tourism Business Scheme, and has also produced a Green Guide (www.classicgreen.co.uk
) to help property owners become more environmentally conscious. The company also supports and donates regularly to rainforest conservation charity Cool Earth and is continually introducing new measures to reduce its carbon footprint.
Classic Cottages is a specialist self catering letting agency based in Helston, Cornwall employing around 30 staff. Classic Cottages market around 700 high quality self catering holiday cottages in Cornwall
. More information can be found at www.classic.co.uk
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