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The environmental initiatives at the Taupo DeBretts are many and varied - everything from worm farms to water use regulators. And the best part is that none of them have impacted on guest safety and enjoyment or service quality.
- Kitchen waste, lawn clippings and garden cuttings going into bins which produce rich compost for use around the entire 7.75 hectare property and act as home to thousands of soil-improving earthworms. Even lint (fluff) from the clothes driers goes into the compost bins.
- Herb gardens - the produce from which is used in catering at the on-site cafe
- Use of tree lucerne to enrich the poor pumice soils found in what is New Zealand's biggest volcanic zone, the Central North Island
- Trees and shrubs planted - 18,000 so far - and extensive landscaping undertaken in what was, two decades ago, an almost derelict facility long devoid of any tender loving care.
- Development of an on-site plant nursery, which many different varieties are propagated from seed for use around the entire site
- A switch to on-demand water in urinals, substantially reducing use and saving electricity for pumps
- Reduction in water flows from showers and a move to on-demand hot water using gas, rather than electricity. This has resulted in a 40% reduction in water use in this area of the operation
- Movement to a new, regimented regime for use of chemicals and cleaning agents, with no harmful effects on the environment now
- Assignment of individual baskets to each member of the housekeeping staff, with pre-mixed cleaning materials and logging of who is doing what
- Automatic dispensing of liquid cleaners into washing machines for guest laundry, with a significant cost reduction and better result.
- Adjustments to washing machines, with a subsequent saving of 16 minutes per cycle - without any negative impact on the cleanliness and hygiene of the laundry
- Replacement of petrol-driven golf buggies used for client servicing with battery-powered machines
- Introduction of energy-saving security lights throughout the site - all equipped with motion sensors
- New accommodation facilities all feature double glazing on windows and glass doors and the latest insulation materials, keeping noise levels down, providing cooling in the summer and retaining warmth in the winter.
- Conversion of all accommodation units from oil-fired heaters to electric heat pumps, with significant savings in electricity use
- Use of gravel on the campervan sites, replacing traditional concrete. This is more in-keeping with the physical environment of the Volcanic Zone.
- Replacement of old traditional light bulbs with new energy-efficient lighting
The whole site of the Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort lends itself to providing a unique New Zealand experience and these environmental initiatives - and those that will be introduced as part of an on-going enhancement process - are now firmly entrenched in our company's operating psyche.
We have a geothermal valley which is very special in terms of its people, its environment and its location. It is a very natural place and we are treating it with the environmental protection it deserves. We are taking a multi-tentacle approach to everything we do here because, like nature itself, everything is inter-related.
We see this as part of an environmental journey and it's exciting to keep thinking of new ways to further these aims, which are not only good for us as a business, but for the future of the planet.