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Practical Solutions for a Green Ecolodge

We have prepared this article with the aim of sharing our experiences in “Barzok House” to have a green ecotourism residence with other managers and employees of ecotourism residences, industry owners, businesses and individuals. We hope to inspire others to adopt these green practices for a more sustainable lifestyle. By sharing knowledge, we can enjoy the joy of learning and education, and we can also play our part in ‘Saving Mother Earth’.

( Targol Anvarinejad , Masoud Molaei )

-Barzok House Ecolodge-

Barzok House - A Green Ecolodge

Barzok House, among tourists, local community, related organizations and institutions, is known as a residence that tries to increase awareness and transfer of knowledge and experience about environmental protection. In line with these efforts, in the first national seminar “Challenges and opportunities of standardization of green hotels” , focusing on the development of green hotel standards in Iran, which was held in July 1401 at Parsian Evin Hotel, we won an award in “Green Idea, Green Standard”.

 

Also this idea was published in the collection of articles of the second national conference “Green Waste Management” . Now, as a basic step, in “Barzok House” We have completely removed ourselves from the bypass cycle and we intend to take effective steps in other cases as well.

Currently, the worldwide tourism trend is towards ecotourism and sustainable tourism. So more people are cautious, and  their travels are greener and they stay in a destination that is friendly to the environment and they want to promote the social responsibility of society.

To achieve our goals, which is to create an ideal eco-friendly accommodation, by doing more research and gaining experience, We will take more tests. At the same time, we would like to introduce Barzok as an attractive destination for tourists. So sustainable tourism criteria should be observed in it.

 

Get in Touch :

Address: Isfahan province, Kashan city, Barzok, Barzok House

Call: +98 912 547 2055

WhatsApp: +98 933 486 8840

Instagram : barzokhouse

Telegram : barzokhouselodge

Website : www.barzokhouse.com

Email : Info@barzokhouse.com

Introduction :

 

Although we have traveled and learned from nature as a mountaineer for many years, but since 2018, when we passed the courses of the nature tour guide, we got a new look at nature and environment. In 2013, with the establishment of a residence we have entered the field of ecology. We handed it after 3 years. But in 2018, which 5 years from our activity was passing, we became partners in “Barzok House” ecolodge, and now we are managing one of the residences with a green approach in the country in Barzok.

 

Our goal is to make our residence the greenest residence in Iran (who knows, maybe the greenest residence in the Middle East or world). Over time, experience and attention to the needs of an eco-tourism accommodation has been the most important way that has led us to take steps to reach to a green residence. We want to tell all the managers of the eco-tourism resorts to protect the environment by taking very simple steps.

 

Perhaps the most difficult task in this way is to convince people to THINK GREEN ; Changing the mentality of the local community, guests and so on; Especially for the active people in the residence, that paying attention to the environment is not a decorative matter but an obligatory attitude in life. We’ve spent a lot on this, and still teaching everyone to think green and be more sustainable, is the most important thing that we have to do.

 

At Barzok House eco-lodge, attention to the principles of environmental protection is considered in all stages. In the physical changes made in the house, tried out the native materials and based on local and sustainable architecture as much as possible. Also, in the arrangement and provision of accommodation equipment, we repair and recycle old appliances and use them as much as possible. We don’t throw away many things and instead reuse them for other purposes. Always we think of ways and tools to save energy, recycle water, and save material and energy.

 

In this booklet, we have explained the very simple steps we have taken to Green our residence. We hope this booklet be useful for our colleagues and all those who are concerned for a greener life, and one day we will all come to believe that all businesses and people should think of environmental protection as a duty.

Although construction is impossible without affecting the environment, but by reviving an old house, we tried to have the least impact on the environment and the landscape of the historical context of Barzok. It is very important for us to be able to find solutions that have the least possible impact on the environment around us. Although we cannot deal with the climate change crisis that is seriously affecting the entire planet, we can reduce its negative effects as much as we possible. We are constantly evaluating our relationship with the environment and our impact on it to ensure that the assets that we and our guests enjoy remain as they are available to us for generations that will come.

 

We want to be the leader in environmental protection education for our ecotourism accommodations and our guests by providing hosting services at a high level and best quality, and be the greenest ecotourism accommodation in Iran and the Middle East.

 

We want to be a leading resort in green hospitality while minimizing our impact on the environment and creating value for the local community; Improving the life of the local community and the state of the environment, through research, education and interaction in a sustainable way and sharing what we have learned with other ecotourism lodges and the global community.

Five Concepts

 

In all the work we have done, we have always considered these five principles:

Rethinking , Compost , Recycle , Reuse , Reduce

 

Reduce Consumption

Reducing consumption and as a result waste management is the most basic solution to reduce waste production and a key step in joining the community of environmentalists and advocates. Preventing the production of waste or reducing the use of raw materials means less consumption and therefore less waste.

 

Reuse

Reusing devices or repairing them reduces waste. Reusing devices is always better than recycling them, because there is no need to spend energy and raw materials to reproduce a device.

 

Recycle

Separation of non-consumable items and supplies into raw materials from which they are made, makes it possible to produce new products from them. By separating recyclable materials from other wastes and delivering them to recycling centers, both the amount of waste left in nature will be reduced and the possibility of producing new products from recycled materials will be provided.

The most common recycled consumer products include aluminum (such as beverage cans), copper (such as wire), cans, old steel furniture or equipment, polyethylene plastic bottles, glass bottles and containers, cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines and light paper, fiberboard and boxes.

 

Compost

One of the proper ways to dispose of wet waste in contrast to recycling dry waste is to prepare compost from it. The residual leachate that is created in the waste disposal sites due to the waste depot is very toxic and dangerous. Therefore, we should pay attention so that the waste is either composted or used as feed for livestock and poultry.

 

Review

For this purpose, we must assume that the current system may have fundamental flaws and that creating a fully effective waste management system requires a completely different look at waste. In this regard, the most challenging task is to change people’s attitude towards waste and change their methods of waste disposal or recycling.

Actions taken

 

We have taken very simple steps to protect the environment. All actions and processes done, taking into account of the 5 concepts that is said above.

  • 1. Thatched roof with plastic protection for pavilions

 

This design allows for maximum coordination with local architecture.

A space for sitting in the open air is provided for the guests and the space is also light by the natural benefit.

The “Neypoosh mat” is purchased from a local artist and made from natural materials.

The roof is covered with plastic to prevent rain and snow from leaking.

This type of cover allows the sunlight to enter and is the most used

Natural lighting. In addition, it is resistant to wind and the repair maintenance costs low.

Thatched roof with plastic protection for pavilions
  • 2. Plastic cover for autumn and winter

 

Due to the cold weather and the desire of the guests to sit and socialize in the open air, part of the living space of the courtyard is covered with curtains for the cold seasons.

It is enclosed in plastic, so that both the kitchen area is safe from the cold and the living and serving area is at a more pleasant temperature.

It should be better than the outside and the heating devices should be turned on less. Due to this plastic cover, we have significant savings of energy consumption and as a result we have less carbon production.

While keeping the air, the plastic does not prevent the light from entering the space, and there is no need to turn on the appliances when there is no light. It has also been taken into consideration to protect the more sensitive parts with a cloth tape to avoid damaging the plastic and protect against tearing and stretching. Also, the design is done in such a way that if part of the plastic curtain is damaged, there is no need to replace or repair a large part. At the same time, the plastic curtain is installed in such a way that it can be easily installed and assembled.

  • 3. Net coverage for the summer

 

In summer, the sitting area of the courtyard is covered with a net to prevent the entry of vermin. So with the possibility of ventilation, the net does not prevent the light and air from entering the space, and there is no need to turn on the lighting devices when the air is clear. This curtain is made in such a way that it can be easily installed and assembled.

  • 4. Using plants in the open space and green wall

 

The presence of many trees and plants in the yard and also on the walls of the house help by covering the foliage on the thatched walls to reduce heat absorption. There are also two old trees in the yard and planting other trees has made the air in the yard more pleasant.

  • 5. Green roof

 

Scaffolding is created on top of the roof and using the shadow of the vine.

Some rooms are safe from the sun’s rays in the summer and the air temperature is good.

The rooms are especially pleasant at noon.

Green-Roof
  • 6. Using old wood

 

Wherever possible, we have used wood and old doors and windows. The wood is sanded and oiled, so they have been made to last and have a more beautiful effect.

  • 7. Paving the yard to absorb water

 

For the yard flooring, in some parts, uncemented bricks have been used, so that there is a possibility of subsidence and absorption of rainwater, and in favorable conditions, plants will also grow on them.

  • 8. Using natural materials to make the rooms smell good

 

To scent the rooms, natural materials such as roses, dried lavender and rosemary are placed in cloth bags.

Using-natural-materials-to-make-the-rooms-smell-good
  • 9. Using old dishes

 

For better use of resources, many containers are being used in Barzok House; For example, old dishes that are mostly unused in the houses of friends. These containers are still usable for many people and reminds us of past memories.

Using-old-dishes
  • 10. Use of natural cleaners

 

Currently, strong chemical detergents are removed and replaced by natural solution of water, vinegar and baking soda is used for cleaning. Vinegar and baking soda both have anti-inflammatory properties and they are also disinfectants. These two substances are also the basis of many chemical detergents.

Use-of-natural-cleaners
  • 11. Making cleaning cloth from old and recycled clothes

 

Handkerchiefs are used for cleaning in Barzok House, all from the clothes that are old; and new material is not used for this kind of works.

Making-cleaning-cloth-from-old-and-recycled-clothes
  • 12. A bottle for cigarette butts

 

Cigarette filter is one of the most dangerous wastes, which can pollute water and heavily contaminate soil sources. For this reason, we collect and store all the filters in empty bottles.

A-bottle-for-cigarette-butts
  • 13. Use of long-lasting scotches with natural ingredients

 

The use of knitted scotches, which are both more durable and homemade, in contrast to scotches that cannot be recycled, it is on our agenda.

To prevent contamination, these scotches will be washed continuously in the washing machine. there are also plants that can be used for this work, although they are less durable than knitted scotches, but they will be completely recycled.

Use-of-long-lasting-scotches-with-natural-ingredients
  • 14. Irrigation of gardens with gray water

 

The water used in the kitchen is collected and used to irrigate the gardens.

Because strong chemical detergents are NOT used for washing,

It won’t make anything bad and it doesn’t have negative effects on the plants or the underground water.

Irrigation-of-gardens-with-gray-water
  • 15. Provision of food ingredients in bulk and from local producers

 

Consumables in the residence are purchased in bulk from small local stores. Also food is prepared with as much material as possible from home and small producers. This work, in addition to reducing the carbon effect, helps the economy of families in the region.

  • 16. Separation of waste and complete removal of more waste

 

Wet waste in the residence is completely separated and delivered separately :

  • Dry waste that is delivered for recycling.
  • Sanitary waste in closed plastics, are thrown away in municipal bins.

 

We can claim that for a long time and in different conditions, we were able to reduce the waste in the residence to zero. It is important that in different seasons of the year, hot and cold, as well as in different crowded or quiet conditions, there is no residue in the residence.

 

Since Barzok House residence and a large number of residences are located in or near rural areas, the use of food for the livestock and poultry feed is a solution that is simple and useful for the local community.

 

As mentioned, the best way to recycle organic waste is to produce compost. But in Barzok House, because of the water and in the cold mountain air, it takes an average of 6 months for the materials to rot. Hence the residence needs to at least 2 relatively large compost pits to be able to use them alternately. But there is not this enough space here, so the second solution is to dry the waste and produce dry waste, which is also due to the constant traffic of guests, as well as the lack of hot weather in most seasons of the year, as well as the need for a space that does not create an inappropriate view. It doesn’t seem like an effective solution. It should be noted that these two problems exist in many residences and therefore there is an alternative solution that the waste will be used for animal feed.

  • 17. Planting native plants

 

To create a green space outside and inside the residence, we have used native plants that match the climate and are compatible with the region. Rosemary as the most prominent product of the region and the blackberry, the second major product of Barzok are planted outside. Planting trees is for creating a greener and cooler environment for the summer, also with the aim of creating a green wall next to the yard wall and that the street has been planted to reduce noise pollution and car smoke.

Planting native plants
  • 18. Reducing water consumption

 

In order to save tap water and white water, gray water is used as much as possible to irrigate the gardens.

Also, to save water, a dishwasher is used to wash dishes. According to research, dishwasher saves water consumption up to 85% compared to washing by hand. For washing clothes, bedding and cleaning cloths, washing machine is used. In both of these devices, in addition to reducing water consumption, less detergent is used compared to other ways.

  • 19. Reducing use of electricity

 

To reduce electricity consumption, in the lighting of all the spaces of the house, low consumption LED lamps and lanterns are used. It has also been tried to avoid excessive lighting of the spaces and for this reason, the possibility of using lamps with less lighting is also available in the rooms.

  • 20. Reducing energy consumption

 

Because Barzok House is an old house, the amount of energy loss is very low due to the large diameter of the walls. So the temperature inside

the rooms are not wasted in this way. But because the doors and windows are old, through the seams of the doors or windows, we have energy loss. Currently, we have tried to prevent air exchange from the existing pores by using sealing tapes or curtains.

 

Since Barzok is in a cold region, we do not have air conditioners in Barzok House, and because of the traditional and suitable structure that

the geography of the region has, the houses are not sunny and therefore it has a suitable temperature during the hot days of the year.

  • 21. Washing less bedsheets

 

In order to use less water, all guests are asked to bring their own bedding sheet and towels if possible.

The number of times that washing the bed sheets of the residence has decreased, less water and detergents are used.

Processes

 

In this section, we describe the steps we have taken to achieve practical solutions.

Separation of wastes and removal of wet waste

 

In order to achieve the most optimal state in recycling and less pollution of the environment, first of all wastes are separated into several categories :

 

Dry waste

 

Recyclable materials are separated from other waste. If the materials are reusable, they are reused and otherwise they are delivered for recycling. At this stage, waste is separated and delivered as follows :

 

  • Hazardous waste : Such as batteries, which are very rarely present in the accommodation and in limited cases may be accompanied by guests have brought these, are delivered separately to dry waste centers in big cities. Some times, half-used batteries or rechargeable batteries are used in the residence.

 

  • Electronic waste : This category is also rarely produced in the residence, but if it is in the residence for any reason, all these wastes are delivered separately to dry waste centers in big cities.

 

  • Paper and plastic : This category of waste is also collected separately in large bins and delivered to the related agent on site.

 

  • Metals : Are sold to the garbage truck.

 

  • Glass : Glass containers are used to store food if they are safe. Otherwise, in order not to cause damage, it is delivered separately to dry waste centers in big cities.

 

Cigarette butts

 

Cigarette ashtrays has been placed in all the open spaces of the residence, on the tables and walls and all of the guests are requested to

put their cigarette ashes in them. The cigarette ashes are collected and stored in soda bottles. Posters are also installed in the Ecolodge to inform the guests.

 

Sanitary waste

 

To prevent polluting the environment and other waste, sanitary waste is collected separately and are thrown away in closed plastic bags into municipal bins.

 

Wet waste

 

The final category is organic waste. As mentioned, one of the best ways to recycle organic waste is to produce compost.

The second solution is to dry the waste and produce dry waste, which requires a suitable space out of the guests’ sight. Since Barzok House ecolodge and most of the other residences are located in rural areas or close to it, the use of food for livestock and poultry feed is a simple solution that is also useful for the local community. So the alternative solution is to use the waste for animal feed. Of course for this, it should be noted that if all types of food waste are mixed together, they will not be usable.

For example, bread must either be delivered fresh or dried, and it becomes wet and mixed with other ingredients, so that livestock and poultry do not consume it. Therefore, in Barzok House, for the delivery of organic waste, first we separate it into the following categories and each one is delivered separately :

Tea and coffee grounds :

 

These two substances are poured and drained separately in special containers, then dried and used as garden soil.

Tea and coffee grounds
Eggshell :
 

This material is also poured into a separate container to avoid contaminating other food and smelling them. Eggshells are also dry and mixed with soil and can be completely powdered, as a substance we can give supplements to the chickens.

Eggshell
Bread :

 

Because the residence cannot reuse bread, there is a daily waste of bread. So they are kept in separate containers and used for chicken feed or are given to dogs.

Bread
Vegetables, fruits, leftover rice :

 

Which is the category that produces the largest volume of garbage in residences and even houses. Although in Barzok House, because the food is not served on a plate, the amount of food waste is very little, but unfortunately it is not zero. This kind of waste will be delivered individually and daily for livestock consumption.

Vegetables, fruits, leftover rice
Proteinaceous material :

 

Such as leftover meat and bones, these materials also are categorized separately as dog food.

 

Proteinaceous material
Reusing of equipment

Most of the ecolodge items are second-hand items that have been bought or donated by people. Most people have things in their houses which can be used, but for various reasons, they are no longer used in homes. By announcing the need for people, many items have been donated by friends and other people to the residence. For example we can mention the bed, bedding, table and chair, Iranian backrest, washing machine and etc. Which are used currently in the residence. Also most of the residence’s dishes are old dishes that are no longer used in homes for various reasons.

 

Recharging the bottles of soap and shampoo

Containers for soap and shampoo are placed in the bathroom and toilets. Liquid soap and shampoo are purchased in large packages and filled when needed, so there is no need to use small packages or throw away the remaining materials.

 

A Library to donate books

In all the rooms, there are books for guests to read. Guests can Donate the books they don’t need to. These books can also be used by the people of Barzok.

 

Use of packaging containers

Instead of using disposable freezer bags, food packaging containers are washed and reused for food storage.

 

Using white one-sided papers for notes

To prepare the guest list and notes, old notebooks or white one-sided papers are used and as much as possible, papers or new notebook is not used.

 

Making detergents

Natural detergents are used to wash and clean surfaces. 50% vinegar and water, are a solution for cleaning us surfaces, and compounding vinegar, baking soda and water are suitable for washing and disinfecting toilets.

 

Saving Water

The water obtained from washing dishes or vegetables, rice, etc. is collected in a container during washing and the gardens are irrigated with it. Because this water has very little detergent and is close to zero, it does not have any pollution or danger for plants. Because at the time of reconstruction, no provision has been made to collect washing wastewater, currently we have to collect water manually.

Another thing we do is to use a dishwasher to wash the dishes. At the same time, we are careful every time we use it to use the maximum volume of the car and the car is full. We also use as little tablets or detergent as possible to prevent the contamination to enter the water resources. We use a washing machine to wash clothes, bedding and cleaning cloths. In this case, all the clothes, the white, colored and dark categories are divided and each time the washing machine is filled as much as possible and according to the amount of dirt, the detergent is used.

We have asked the guests to pay attention to less water consumption. In addition, we request guests that if possible, bring their own bedding to help reduce water consumption.

Saving electricity and energy

Since a dishwasher is used to wash the dishes, we allow the dishes to be washed by turning off the machine after rinsing, to dry naturally so that the heater and fan of the dishwasher are used less.

To save electricity, energy-saving lamps are used throughout the house. Also, LED lamps are used in all rooms to inform and pay attention to the correct consumption of energy. We have asked the guests to turn off the lamps when leaving the room and put the heating devices on low flame to avoid wasting energy.

 

Send messages to inform guests

For all guests and groups who are going to come to the residence, before coming, they receive messages to get informed about the environmental activities of the ecolodge and we request the guests to accompany us by taking simple steps.

In addition, guests were asked to bring at least one day of their wet waste to take a small step in reducing the generated waste.

Cooperation with the local community and Education

 

Cooperation and education are among the pillars of social activities and sustainable development. Educating employees, guests and the local community is one of the most important activities in Barzok House. The importance of paying attention to environmental protection and its constant reminder is one of the most important things to us. In this regard, there are three groups of people who are our audience :

 

Residence colleagues and activists

The first group that should be with us and believe in this cooperation are our colleagues in the residence. These people should have received sufficient training in this field and believe in it, otherwise the planned activities will be carried out completely.

Therefore, education, reminding of the need to pay attention to preserve the environment and doing the five “reduce consumption, reuse, recycle, compost and review” is always reminded.

 

Guests

Another audience group are the guests who visit the residence.

To persuade them, the following actions are taken :

  • 1. Description of the activities that are carried out in the residence
  • 2. Reminding the role of guests through information, such as brochures and…
  • 3. Installation of information sheets for the importance of reducing consumption in the rooms
  • 4. Placing garbage bins and…
  • 5. Encouraging guests to do small and simple activities for practice, such as removing part of wet waste, such as tea and coffee grounds

 

Local community

A group that may not be directly involved in the residence, but should never be forgotten in educational and collaborative activities, are the local community.

To attract the participation of the local community, the following actions have been done :

  • 1. Introducing the activities of Barzok House, through brochures, boards and face-to-face explanations
  • 2. Implementation of “Cleaning on Tuesdays” in the city and weekly cleaning of different parts of the city
  • 3. Encouraging small and simple activities such as removing part of the garbage or using it for livestock and poultry feed

All the rights of this documentary belongs to Barzok House Ecolodge and any use is permitted and welcomed by mentioning the source.