‘Focus on green’ leads to success for Stirk House Hotel

A historic hotel is enjoying one of its most successful periods of business growth after winning an array of accolades for its innovative environmental initiatives.

Stirk House Hotel, near Clitheroe, recently won the Sustainable Business Award for SMEs category at the Lancashire Business Environment Awards, while head chef Chris Dobson was shortlisted for the Environmental Champion section.

This followed the Community Responsibility for Small Companies award at the previous year’s event, in recognition of the hotel’s pioneering conservation work with the World Owl Trust (WOT).

Nor has owner Paul Caddy and his team sat back – they took the runner up position in the Green Tourism category at the Lancashire Green Awards and are continuing to drive their low carbon agenda on a number of fronts.

“We firmly believe in the importance of sustainability and are fully committed to implementing it throughout our business,” said Paul.

A close relationship with WOT has resulted in the manor house hotel’s 20 acres of grounds becoming a wildlife haven. Paul and his team have listed 15 mammal and 49 bird species in the grounds and encourage guests and the public – including school visits – to use a wildlife hide.

‘Five-star bee hotels’ designed to help the country’s increasingly threatened bee population, are an especially innovative project.

Paul said: “The bee hotels offers us a unique selling point for sustainability. It’s a great way to get guests and the public interested in biodiversity issues.”

To broaden its environmental commitment, Stirk House Hotel has enlisted the services of sustainability specialists M4C to develop a low carbon policy.

“This policy outlines our commitments and ensures sustainability is incorporated into our day-to-day operations.” said Paul. “We have also worked with Groundwork Pennine Lancashire, who carried out surveys on our energy use, waste and water. We have used their findings to continue our improvement.”

Engaging with staff is pivotal to the success of the hotel’s green agenda. As the hotel’s environmental champion, head chef Chris Dobson is responsible for ensuring colleagues are fully aware of all sustainability objectives and activities.

Paul commented: “We encourage staff to think about opportunities to save energy during their day-to-day activity and have developed an effective strategy to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.”

As a result, Paul and his team have decreased non-recyclable waste by over 65 per cent in a 12 month period, saving £140 per week.

The hotel is also minimising water consumption. Savings from curtailing the use of bottled water are estimated at £2,800 annually, plus £540 from reduced disposal and recycling costs.

In addition, the hotel is receiving financial advice from Moore and Smalley on the potential use of bio-mass to produce heat from wood shavings or pellets in a special low carbon heating system.

Judith Dugdale, a director at Moore and Smalley, said: “Stirk House Hotel is a great example of how having a genuine and committed focus on sustainability issues can offer a compelling sales proposition, as well as offering savings that give and immediate boost to the bottom line.” Paul added: “Moore and Smalley has always taken a c