History » Sustainable Business Practices - Water, Recycling, Energy
Previously Vista del Sol had an old concrete water tank with some 15,000 litre storage, this was not filtered and the limited storage meant that we were using artesian bore water to top up the supply - this was replaced and the old tank was donated to a neighbour for further water storage rather than scrapped to a landfill.
We have installed new water systems with the storage capacity of 50,000 litres of rain water and have substantially increased the roof area that is used for rain water collection. The result is we do not need to draw from the artesian bore as much as we used to - this preserves the ground water supply. In fact, apart from the initial top up in early summer we have not had to draw any bore water for over 7 months so far.
Although our ground water is one of the most pure in the whole region, we have also been keeping animals off areas that affect ground water and not stocking so intensively - this has reflected in the reduction of measured pollutants in the ground water. Our bore is used as one of the measurement sites by the regional council to measure water quality of ground water.
We have installed advanced new water purification - we previously had none - this filters for sediment and ultra violet treatment for bacterial content.
We have additionally installed: shower heads that are quantity efficient, toilets that are dual flush, trickle and microspray irrigation systems throughout the garden and orchard.
Home Baking, Packaging and Recycling
We have reduced packaging waste.
We bake our own bread with good natural ingredients (bought in bulk) and offer a range of varieties - date and orange, aniseed, fruit, wheat and whole meal. Bread is baked daily rather than purchased from the supermarket which is 6 km away.
Recycling - there is no rubbish or recycling collection in our rural area so plastics, glass, tins, cans, paper and cardboard are collected, sorted and taken to a recycling depot regularly with the remaining rubbish collection paid for.
Toiletries are bought in bulk with dispensers rather than individual packets, although sachets for individual use are still available to suit guests' needs.
Reduction of energy usage
Insulation - extensive extra insulation has been added both for noise and heat, added second layer of Gib to much of original building, and where electrical, plumbing or building work was being done, added extra insulation to both the interior and exterior walls and roof. For the new building we moved away from hardi-board, which has limited insulation qualities, to polystyrene as polystyrene insulation qualities are substantially better.
Reduce transportation costs for the food supply chain
Planted an Orchard for fruit
A Vegetable garden is to be planted
We grow and home kill our own beef, this is done by registered butchers, and cattle are also in the TB testing program.
Buy baking and other items in bulk - reducing packaging - and bake own bread - less purchasing, packaging, supply chain distribution costs and trips to supermarkets.
Heating - large central heat pumps - heat large areas more efficiently
Target Individual heating of areas - we close doors off, turn off individual areas unless they are to be used - eg floors, spot heaters, towel rails
Light bulbs - the house had 100 watt bulbs which would fail constantly - sometimes within minutes of installation mainly due to poor wiring and power supply. The power supply has been rewired and the 100w bulbs replaced throughout with more energy efficient 12 volt 50 watt halogens - these are also long life, more tolerant of power fluctuations, and reduce waste - it has taken 11 months for the first of the new bulbs to fail.
Double Glazing - We have also replaced all existing windows on the original building, which was only 16 years old - with double glazed units, and have used double glazing on the new building extension.
Sensors - installed for most outdoor lighting areas
Fencing - has been improved on the entire property so we do not need the electric fences on as often as they were, now most of the time they are off. This additionally improves a potential health and safety issue as stock is now less likely to wander onto public roads, and electric fences are better off for all users of the property to reduce the chances of inadvertent shock.
Replaced the old septic tank system which was environmentally very unfriendly with an advanced light industrial sewerage system - the nearly pure water is then used for irrigation though paddocks.
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