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  • Writer's pictureQuenda Guesthouse

Sustainability at Quenda

We are a small family business offering eco accommodation in the Perth Hills. Launched in 2015, our guesthouse was built & designed to have minimal environmental footprint. As a business, caring for the environment underpins everything we do. Guests can enjoy a luxurious getaway in nature, without compromising our beautiful, biodiverse environment.

Recently, we were recognised for our sustainability efforts by Switch Your Thinking, in their Switched On Business Awards. Yay! This great initiative recognises business who are working hard to make their business operations more environmentally sustainable.

We are proud of the steps we have taken to reduce emissions, reduce water usage, and reduce waste. You can read about our actions below!

1) Our accommodation features walls made of Weathertex cladding, which is comprised of 97% timber and 3% natural wax. This cladding has no thermal mass, which allows the dwellings to cool down after a hot summer day. The walls are painted with Ecolour zero volatile organic compounds (VOC) paint, producing no off-gassing. VOCs are the most common form of indoor air pollutants, and off-gassing can occur for up to 5 years after application. We chose this Australian made paint as it doesn’t compromise the environment or the health of our guests.

2) Our wastewater treatment system is an eco friendly worm farm, and requires no chemicals in its operation. Everything that goes into our toilets or down the drain is recycled in our Biolytix system, and all treated water is fed to our garden beds. The power consumption of the Biolytix for treatment is approximately 0.12kWh per day. It uses less than 5% of the energy needed to run a typical onsite wastewater treatment system, saving around 1000kWh pa. This solution is also important for our location, as a standard septic system would leach excessive nutrients into the creek line.

3) Water in our guest rooms is heated by a solar hot water system. When boosting is required, our solar panels generate considerable power savings with our 5.5KW PV system.

4) We have a freshwater pool onsite for guest use. It is a freshwater pool, and is sanitised using copper/silver ionisation. This reduces the need for chemical disinfectants such as chlorine, by 80%. Less chemicals results in less maintenance, which benefits our power usage. A freshwater pool extends the life of our pool surrounds, & equipment. When backwashing the filter, all water going onto the gardens is freshwater which is important, especially with Jane Brook running through the property.

5) We have banned the use of single use water bottles at Quenda. We supply guests with rainwater from our rainwater tank, and provide refills throughout their stay. Prior to arriving, every guest is asked to bring a reusable water bottle, as single use ones are not welcome at Quenda. We generally have found a very high level of compliance from guests as a result of this request.

6) We ensure waste is kept to a minimum by providing 3 separate recycling points adjacent to the guest rooms for guest use. They are labelled as landfill, recycling, and compost. With these visual reminders, most guests use the compost and recycling bin, rather than just the landfill one. Composting goes into our composter and is then used on the garden. We only provide a small bin in the guest room itself, and we do not use plastic bin liners. We use the paper toilet roll wrappers from ‘Who Gives A Crap’ instead.

7) Where possible, we use recycled and natural materials for landscaping. For example: recycled hardwood timbers for fencing, rock for garden edging, newspaper and mulch for weed control.

8) We only serve vegetarian food at Quenda. We offer plant-based breakfasts, featuring locally sourced produce where possible. Livestock production negatively impacts our environment through green house gas emissions, water footprint, water pollution, and water scarcity. We are proud not to contribute to this.

9) All floors throughout the accommodation are honed concrete (burnished). The floors have not been sealed with the standard polyurethane but with natural olive husk soap. Every time we mop the floors, we’re adding to this sealed layer. This is much better than synthetic concrete floor sealers as it lasts longer, requires no chemical stripping and re-sealing and produces no toxic odours.

10) Appliances in the guest rooms feature a high energy rating, and we have not installed air conditioning. Instead we rely on ceiling fans, and window louvres and wide doors which allow the breeze to travel through the rooms. Additionally, our Weathertex walls have no thermal mass, which also helps keep the rooms cooler. As our nights are generally cool in the valley, this works well.

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