The award winning Glenuig Inn, situated on the route north from Oban via Mull to Skye and just off the Road to the Isles, is a traditional highland inn with modern, practical accommodation and serves locally sourced seasonal modern Scottish food. It attracts visitors from all over the world and is the great base for doing things on the West Coast of Scotland as well as having impressive sustainability credentials.
In 2007 when Steve Macfarlane purchased Glenuig Inn, his vision was that environmental sustainability should be at the forefront of the business. He aimed to demonstrate that it is possible to run a leisure and tourism business efficiently and profitably with minimal environmental footprint.
Today Glenuig Inn runs on 100% renewable energy and generates minimal waste which cannot be recycled or repurposed. All the food waste and food contaminated waste from the restaurant and kitchen is dried, sterilised and co-mingled with wood pellet before being used as part of the biomass fuel.
• 100% renewable energy – local hydro- electricity and biomass
• Zero food waste leaving site – dried & sterilised for fuel
• 96% reduction in waste to landfill
• Sustainable supply chain management
• Lower energy bills in winter than summer
• Passive ventilation in the main building
The vision was to develop an energy efficient building from existing building stock rather than starting from scratch with an eco-build. From a 2008 baseline, Glenuig Inn has reduced its carbon emissions by 84% to November 2011 and by February 2015 it was a 100% renewable energy business. Nett energy costs were almost half in 2016 compared to 2008 despite raw energy costs increasing three – fold and turnover more than doubling.
An array of integrated energy efficient measures have been implemented.
• To conserve heat and create a stable ambient temperature using existing thermal mass, the main Inn building was wrapped in breathable, wood fibre insulation which also acts as a carbon sink.
• Heat produced from refrigeration and cooking is retained within the building and circulated from the kitchen, cellar and cool store to other areas of the Inn using a simple system of extraction and ventilation fans. Waste heat is recycled and used to heat the building overnight.
• Induction hobs are installed with automatic power shut-off. No deep fat fryers.
• Low energy, dimmable LED lighting is used throughout both internally and externally.
• 100% green electricity is purchased from local hydro schemes.
• Heat and hot water is generated from the biomass boiler using wood pellet and 10% by volume of dried food waste
• The natural heat loss from the district heating system is captured to create the drying room to provide a facility to support water based outdoor activities.
• All the food waste and food-contaminated organic waste produced in site is sterilised and dried, the output is co-mingled with the wood pellet as the biomass fuel at approximately 10% by volume.
• The consumption of ‘bought in’ biomass fuel is reduced as well as the associated costs of delivery in terms of carbon footprint and actual transport costs; the dried food waste eliminates one whole pellet delivery per annum
• Dried food waste as part of the biomass mix has 25% more calorific output per kg than the wood pellet it replaces.
Reducing waste from food, drinks and packaging
The amount of food waste generated on site has been significantly reduced through effective supply chain management whereby products are purchased in as little packaging as possible. This was not only driven by environmental considerations, but also the lack of local economically viable waste collection services available for different waste streams.
All food is prepared and cooked onsite from locally sourced ingredients, therefore packaging is kept to an absolute minimum. All bar snacks are bought in bulk and stored in kilner jars and served as individual portions, immediately avoiding wasteful individual bags. The focus on real ale means that the need for man-made CO2 is removed.
Recycling is often a challenge in rural areas, this one is no exception: glass collection is not available and to arrange a scheduled collection solely for cardboard is uneconomical. Therefore, Glenuig Inn separates glass, paper and card into separate waste streams which are then taken on demand for recycling eight times a year. Guests are encouraged to recycle all waste brought onto site through some simple measures.
New technology helps reduce food waste
Since March 2015 Glenuig Inn has operated a zero food-waste policy. After exploring options such as composting and onsite anaerobic digestion, a food waste dryer was purchased which was small enough to be used on site. This is used in conjunction with the biomass boiler, which uses standard wood pellets. All the food waste and food-contaminated organic waste is dried, sterilised and co-mingled with the wood pellet in the biomass boiler, at approximately 10% by volume, and
provides all the heating and hot water on site.
Glenuig Inn proprietor Steve Macfarlane shows us his innovative solution for rural food waste energy recovery; using his new food dryer to convert food waste into biofuel to heat his Inn.
It is clear, that the combined infrastructure measures, and integrated operating procedures have not only significantly reduced carbon emissions from the whole site, but also reduced total energy consumption to almost half whilst growing the business substantially.
“We’ve demonstrated that incorporating sustainability is sound business sense – sustainability and profitability are parts of the same approach. Doing so has turned this into a more profitable, efficient and sustainable business, making us very different from other businesses, and saving us money whilst reducing our environmental footprint.” Steve Macfarlane, Glenuig Inn
Scottish Environment Awards – VIBES: 2011 and 2016: Best Micro Business
Scottish Environment Awards – VIBES 2016 Finalist Environment Management Award
Scottish Environment Awards – VIBES 2011: Finalist Energy Award.
Highland Business Awards 2016: Lochaber Business of the Year
Highland Business Awards 2016: Finalist Best Low Carbon Business
Highland Business Awards 2015: Best Low Carbon Business
Scotland Green Energy Awards 2016 Finalist Sustainable Scotland
Green Tourism Business Scheme: Gold 2011- present 2107
Visit Scotland – 3 Star Inn, Taste our Best,
Welcome Schemes: Pets, Classic Cars, Bikers, Cyclists, Walkers, Groups.