Sooke Harbour House has been owned and operated by Sinclair and Frederique Philip since 1979. It has been their desire to offer “luxury with a conscience” to visitors. The Innkeepers have worked to incorporate the environmental practices important to them into the daily routine of all areas of the Inn. From nontoxic cleaning products to substantial composting programs to a grass paved parking lot, the environmental impact of such is of utmost importance. 28 luxurious guestrooms, an on-site restaurant, edible organic gardens, an unconventional art gallery and spa services together provide a memorable experience for guests. Sooke Harbour House continually demonstrates that strong business and sustainable environmental practices definitely go hand in hand.
Water Reclamation System
Sooke Harbour House was able to reclaim 7,307 207 litres in 2004 and nearly one million of this reclaimed water was used for flushing (water which is reprocessed again and again) and the majority of the remaining non-chlorinated warm water was used for garden and lawn irrigation.
The wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets is collected in a trash trap and pumped into the membrane-bioreactor. It is interesting to note that sewage is 95 percent water and 5 percent solids. The treated potable water is currently reused in toilets and urinals. Sooke Harbour House also uses the recycled water to irrigate large gardens and lawns.
Recycling water results in a marked reduction in water consumption and a decrease in the volume of wastewater discharged to the disposal fields. Sooke Harbour House’s sophisticated system not only mitigates the need for septic fields and sewers, it also saves a renewable resource.
Green Parking Lot
In 2003, Sooke Harbour House created a 44 car, green parking lot. Its grass turf, as an alternative to pavement, is just the beginning of why their parking lot is one of the most environmentally sensitive in Victoria. The parking lot is built on a rock and sand base. The sand base was pressed with a heavy roller and then a recycled plastic grid was placed on the sand. A sand based grass sod was then pressed into the grid creating a durable, breathable, beautiful parking area.
Green Hotel Maintenance
To reduce the amount of water used some of our rooms have efficient shower nozzles and
low volume water toilets have been installed. Please refer to our water reclamation and recycle program for more details on our progressive work with water conservation.
Laundry and Guest Services:
Guests are encouraged to do their part with our optional towel and sheet exchange program. The signage in rooms reads: “Dear Guest, If you are staying more than one night and you would like fresh towels, please put your used towels in the bathtub.” This program conserves enormous amounts of water, energy and detergents.
Because of our dependency on our water reclamation system we have a source control program to keep our cleaning products as natural and environmentally acceptable as possible. We now use and are moving more and more towards natural cleaning solutions such as citric acid, rhubarb and vegetable based cleaning products and vinegar.
We have a comprehensive reduce, reuse and recycle program at Sooke Harbour House.
Heating and Electricity:
50% of our rooms have efficient in-floor heating, where water is heated and pumped under the floors. The heat mass of the building is kept at constant comfortable levels which is a very efficient way of heating. Our insulation, thermal pane windows and draft proofing for heat conservation is constantly being upgraded as different parts of the hotel evolve.
In January 2004 we converted from propane to natural gas. Natural Gas is a clean-burning fuel that produces the least fine particles and greenhouse gasses of any conventional fuel. Natural gas combines high efficiency with low emissions for an environmentally superior energy source.
Kitchen and Garden
Organic Gardens and Composting:
“Why would you not be organic?”- Sinclair Philip
Our garden is completely edible, organic, seasonal, and local, enabling us to serve the most natural food possible. We recycle all kitchen and garden plant matter. Sooke Harbour House has an extensive compost system, based on bins, which are turned on a regular basis producing several wheelbarrow loads of compost per week in summer.
Beyond growing their own organic produce Sooke Harbour House has a long history of influencing many other local growers and producers to become organic.
Buying Local: Less Fuel Consumption:
By buying as many supplies, for our hotel, restaurant, spa and gallery, as we can locally, we decrease fuel consumption dramatically as our products are only transported a fraction of the distance. We have built our business up from local resources and continue to support regional suppliers in everything from food products and cleaning products to art.