Peer into our “Truth Window” and you’ll see the truth! The walls really are made of straw! These straw walls have an extremely high insulation value and are bushfire, wind and rain resistant. They make the perfect shelter!
We have a belief at Old Leura Dairy that comfort can exist in harmony with “environmentally friendly”.
Our philosophy in the creation of Old Leura Dairy has been to be as gentle on our world as possible, without detracting from our guests’ experiences.
Character filled recycled materials have been used, where feasible, in the renovations and construction of the dwellings (approximately 80%!!).
All manner of things were resurrected 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.
The 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 hand mixed lotions and washes, 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 our earth!
I have created an environment that is healthier for our world. As importantly I 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.
• 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.
• 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
• Act Local
We employ local staff and source food and resources locally as far as possible.
• 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
• 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
• 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.
• Ethical Investment
We invest our savings in ethical funds.
• 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.
Carbon Footprint for Old Leura Dairy
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.