California B&Bs have gone green with a variety of innovative and eco-friendly practices, including using solar power and geothermal energy systems to reduce electric costs, and providing electric car charging stations for guests arriving in plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Mini E.
In Santa Cruz, The Adobe on Green Street lives up to its street address generates nearly 80 percent of its electricity from on-site solar energy, some of which is used by guests to recharge their electric vehicles, which the owners use themselves, to recharge their own plug-in vehicle. The inn’s solar panel system keeps seven tons of carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere each year. The innkeepers at the Adobe on Green Street also do most of their local shopping for the inn using a 5-foot long bicycle trailer. If you are arriving in a plug-in vehicle, let them know when you make the reservation, to reserve the parking space with the outlet.
In Sonoma County, the Victorian-style Case Ranch Inn, in Forestville, was the first B&B to be certified through Sonoma County’s green business program, due in part to the inn’s solar panels which generate approximately 40 percent of the property’s power.
Also in wine country, The Wine Country Inn in St. Helena has made a push to becoming more “green” through chickens. The innkeepers rent a chicken coop from a nearby family-owned farm, where they feed and take care of nearly 200 chickens, which in turn provide farm-fresh eggs for the inn’s daily breakfasts. Collecting the
eggs directly from the chickens saves on packaging and trips to the grocery store. Plus, the chicken manure is added to the compost, which helps feed the inn’s organic vegetable garden.
In Santa Barbara, The Simpson House Inn, which is recognized as one of the top 30 “green” businesses in the upscale resort town, also uses solar power energy. Modern solar panels on a landmark 1874 building! And like all of California’s solar powered B&Bs, the solar panels are placed out of the view of guests.
From the street, the historic Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, California, looks much as it did in the 1890s. But hidden below ground, a state-of-the-art, geothermal energy system heats and cools rooms and public areas, and generates hot water for the guestrooms, swimming pool and soaking tubs. Hidden on the roof of the restaurant, solar panels generate electricity to help run the pumps for the geothermal system, further reducing theinn’s electricity bills. The inn also composts, recycles, and uses organic cleaning products.
These California B&Bs are green, eco-friendly places year-round, not just on Earth Day, when all of us are thinking about how to help the environment. These green, family-owned inns are all members of the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns.