Peaks and Pods’ Environmental Policy
At Peaks and Pods we take our responsibility for the environment seriously and have measures in place to ensure that our sustainable tourism venture makes the minimum impact possible here on our beautiful site on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Peaks and Pods is a new luxury camping pod business on our small family-run dairy farm in a rural area. Before beginning the project, we had already taken steps to become more environmentally responsible and to reduce our carbon footprint. In April 2018 we were awarded Green Tourism’s top ‘Gold Award’ for our commitment to sustainability.
We aim to review, improve and update our environmental policy regularly and pledge to keep thinking of ways in which we can always push forward with our ‘green’ commitment.
In August 2014, we installed a 50kWh wind turbine, which, by February 2017, had produced over 350,000kWh of electricity – saving the equivalent of 186 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 30 months – an average of over six tonnes of CO2 a month.
We decided in December 2015 that we needed an alternative renewable energy source to support our farm’s electricity demands when the turbine wasn’t generating. We installed solar panels on the roof of our large cowshed – leaving gaps to allow light in for our resident ladies! By February 2017, the photovoltaic system had produced more than 30,000kWh – saving the equivalent of nearly 16 tonnes of CO2 – an average of just over one tonne of CO2 per month.
We use much of the electricity that we generate, and any surplus energy is exported to the grid. It was important to us that our pod site was powered entirely by electricity to make the best use of our own energy. When we are not able to use our own electricity to power Peaks and Pods, we use electricity from business suppliers Opus Energy. In 2016 an average of 96% of electricity supplied to its customers was from renewable, responsible sources. We also sell the unused electricity we generate to Opus Energy.
In the 12 months from April 2017 to March 2018 we produced 177,550kWh – that’s enough to power 38 average homes in the UK.
Lighting the Way
Inside our five camping pods are low energy LED lights, and each pod’s single external LED light is on a motion sensor to minimise both the use of energy and the amount of light pollution generated.
We feel that it is important for the site to look as natural as possible without prominent external lighting, so guests are provided with torches to make their way around safely, and solar powered stakes providing extra low-level lighting on the paths. The lights inside the shower block are low energy LED bulbs on motion sensors with automatic timers, and the two external lights are LEDs on a photocell sensor, allowing guests to access the facilities in safety at night but with minimal energy use and light pollution. Signs are in place to encourage guests to switch off internal lights when not in use.
All our pods contain high-quality kitchenettes, which include efficient A+ rated fridges. The pods have fully insulted walls and floors and they are so energy efficient that they are suitable for year-round use. Pods have curtains and blackout blinds for added efficiency.
Keeping it Clean
Our cleaning products are environmentally friendly, wherever possible, and we leave our high quality eco-products for guests to keep their pods clean during their stay. We make bulk orders for cleaning products to cut down the number of road miles we travel. The washing machine for the Peaks and Pods ‘Little Laundry’ runs on an ‘eco’ setting and we provide eco-friendly laundry detergent and fabric conditioner.
We provide recycling bins next to The Hub and ask our guests to sort their waste before they leave Peaks and Pods. We support Craven District Council’s ‘Cleaner Craven’ initiative, which encourages residents to recycle plastic, tins and cans, paper and cardboard, glass, aerosols and cartons. We also take waste paper and cardboard to a drop-off point in Settle run by local charity The Friends of Settle Swimming Pool. In 2015, around 361 tonnes of waste was packed into seven skips a month, generating £21,000 for the pool.
Heating the Tubs
Two of our pods have hot tubs on the patio. We use environmentally-friendly air source heat pumps to warm the water in the hot tubs. The pumps, which use surrounding warm air, can provide up to 5.5kWh each using a 1.1kWh electric supply. Our electricity is produced, whenever possible, by our renewable energy sources. The hot tub water is de-chlorinated before being emptied.
Peaks and Pods has a detailed and concise website, which provides guests with information about our services and facilities. We decided to print a limited number leaflets (to reach the people who might not find us online) on 100% recycled card. All our office paper is recycled.
We encourage the use of bikes by providing secure cycle storage, bike wash and maintenance area. We have plotted a selection of cycling routes from Peaks and Pods for all abilities, and welcome touring cyclists with flexible booking options and facilities. The cycle routes are available to our guests either as a digital download or as a physical map with markers. We also provide a web link to the Forestry Commission’s Gisburn Forest – one of the UK’s ‘Super Six’ forests for cyclists, only five miles from Peaks and Pods. We have also planned country walks from the Peaks and Pods site, offering visitors a selection of routes of varying difficulty. Gisburn Forest also has designated walks for its visitors.
We provide information about public transport to the local area. The nearest train station is at Giggleswick – five miles away, and the nearest bus stops are at Rathmell and Tosside – both two miles away.
High five for shopping local
We aim to promote local businesses – shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants – by featuring them on our website, in our welcome packs, and by stocking marketing leaflets. The welcome packs contain information about where to buy Fair Trade locally, and suggests places to shop such as nearby ‘Growing with Grace’ – suppliers of fresh, seasonal, organic fruit and vegetables – a community owned co-operative and Social Enterprise.
We have fire pits and barbecues on site. We have chosen to use eco-friendly wood briquettes made from virgin softwood, which meet all the top standards of sustainability and quality such as FSC, Grown in Britain and HETAS Woodsure+. We are also working to secure a local supplier of charcoal, produced using coppiced wood. Our wood-fired ‘Fire Stone’ outdoor oven, which also uses briquettes, was designed and built in a local foundry less than 20 miles away.