“Your creativity is truly amazing. All mod cons with
old world and eco sensitive charm.”
Carol and John
Shorrock - Minneapolis USA
“Enjoyed most the integration
of old with new and natural with man made, the positioning
of the building to take most advantage of aspect and sunlight,
the creativity and lateral thinking around a unified theme
(the place has integrity).”
Character filled recycled materials have
been used, where feasible, in the renovations and construction of
We have resurrected all manner of things from structural materials
(about 8,500 metres of timber), old fence palings, all the doors
and windows to rusty old cast iron tubs and ancient cream urns.
The passive solar design of The Straw Bale House ensures minimal
use of our precious resources due to the huge insulation value (approximately
R43) of the straw bale walls, and design features that maximize
collection of heat in the winter and minimise heat ingress in the
summer. The aspect of the buildings allow the sun’s warming
rays to enter the house in winter, heating the thermal mass of the
tile floors and mud brick walls. This heat is, in turn, released
back into the room at night and so a more constant ambient temperature
is maintained. The mud brick walls also collect the heat generated
by the fireplaces.
The central cooling tower has the
function of both beauty (it IS beautiful!) and creating an airflow
channel within the house. The hot summer air rises up the tower
and out the open vents while drawing air in from the cooler southern
side of the house.
Our garden has been restored to life from a weed infested paddock
to the hive of activity that it is now. A beautiful blend of native
plants and a few fruit trees and flowers has seen a healing influx
of native birds, reptiles and animals.
From the beginning the property was
planned to be self perpetuating. All storm water from the roofs
is channelled into gravel pits and returns to the water table instead
of running off into gutters. Features of the natives planted are
the ability to stabilize the soil, drought tolerance, food sources
and growth cycles that ensure continuity of life. By providing shelter
for insects, birds and animals we are kick starting the natural
rythm of life again.
To continue on this line of thinking we stock only recycled toilet
paper, organic aloe vera soap, and environmentally friendly “detergents”
in our properties. In cleaning our properties we use colloidal cleaning
products – the most friendly cleaning products available.
We encourage our guests to recycle where possible, and to use our
compost bags for their fruit and vegetable scraps so we can feed
We have created an environment that is healthier
for our world. As importantly we believe we have created an environment
that is healing for our souls.
Old Leura Dairy Sustainability Policy
This policy has been formulated as a conscious effort to formalize a structured approach to the pursuit of sustainability at OLD. It is intended that this policy will align our vision with practical actions.
We have a belief at Old Leura Dairy that comfort can exist in harmony with “environmentally friendly”. We aim to be as gentle on our world as possible, without detracting from our guest’s experiences.
Our Definition of Sustainability
We see Sustainability as respecting the right of all living things to live in a way that meets their needs, both now and for future generations.
At OLD we recognize the importance and significance of a business that is operating in a World Heritage Area. This brings environmental, social and economic responsibilities both to our surroundings and the community in which we operate.
We understand and recognize the risks that climate change places on our business and on the Blue Mountains communities. We undertake to mitigate those risks to the best of our ability and to adapt to our changing environment.
Central to our sustainability policy is an action plan which documents and pulls together key actions which collectively represent OLD’s current sustainability activities and commitment across the triple bottom line. In addition to the action plan we also demonstrate our commitment to being “environmentally friendly” by our Ecotourism accreditation and by our membership to EIANZ (Environmental Institute of Australia and NZ).
Our Actions - Environmental
We continually increase the awareness and understanding of sustainability (which incorporates climate change) with our staff, as demonstrated through their actions and attitudes, and with our customers and stakeholders.
o Carbon Footprint
We measure our carbon footprint and put in place strategies to reduce our carbon footprint.
We reduce waste to landfill by collecting and composting organic waste and by using recyclable materials wherever possible.
We operate our premises in an energy efficient manner through use of passive solar design and by using energy efficient appliances and practices.
We reduce water use through water capture and reuse onsite, by encouraging our guests to be water wise and through planting of a water tolerant garden.
We will use our purchasing power to encourage sustainable practices whenever possible.
o Pesticides and Chemicals
We do not use pesticides on our garden and we choose environmentally friendly cleaning products as far as possible without sacrificing hygiene.
We reuse our office paper and recycle our waste paper. The majority of paper products used within OLD are made from recycled paper.
We assist our guests to minimize their carbon footprint by offering them carbon credits to offset their transport emissions associated with their visit to OLD.
Our Actions – Social
o Act Local
We employ local staff and source food and resources locally as far as possible.
o Get Involved
We are an active member of the local bush fire service.
We are an active member of the Blue Mountains Cittaslow (Slow Food) committee
We are an accredited member of the BMBA (Blue Mountains Business Advantage Program).
We are members of BOOMPA – Blue Mountains Performing Arts Association
o Respect Cultural Diversity
We respect the values and different cultural practices and beliefs of our staff, our customers and our stakeholders.
We have our Sustainability Policy on display for our guests and visitors and we encourage feedback from our customers on our commitment to this policy.
Our Actions – Economic
o Customer Satisfaction
We own all customer complaints and work tirelessly to ensure customer satisfaction.
We operate our business with integrity and are financially responsible.
We are active members of Blue Mountains Tourism Limited.
We are active members of Blue Mountains Accommodation Association.
We are members of Biznet, the Blue Mountains Business Network.
o Ethical Investment
We invest our savings in ethical funds.
o Self Improvement
We will monitor the actions set out in this Policy, and will periodically review their efficacy and promote their continued development in the spirit of continual improvement.
The carbon footprint of Old Leura Dairy (23.4 tonnes CO2 –e) is relatively small compared to other businesses of a similar size2. The carbon footprint reflects the eco-design principles such as passive solar heating employed on the site and the efficient use of resources such as fuel and gas.