OMAKA LODGE – Sustainability
At Omaka Lodge, we are deeply committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. As a boutique lodge set amidst New Zealand’s Forgotten World, we are surrounded by nature and feel a strong sense of responsibility for maintaining and preserving the beauty and resources of our surroundings for future generations. Our sustainability efforts permeate every aspect of our operations, and by embracing sustainable practices, we are doing our best to create a positive impact on the environment, the local Ruapehu community, and our guests’ well-being. Please read on for the measures we’ve undertaken in the interests of sustainability.
1 – Managing Energy & Resources
We actively seek to identify, measure, and reduce our energy & resource consumption and the resulting environmental impact – including energy usage, fuel consumption, water usage, and emissions. Actions include the following:
- Replaced the expensive and inefficient 1970s underfloor heating system with high efficiency air-conditioning units
- Installed 24x solar panels charging a Tesla Powerwall storage battery. The house disconnects from the grid during peak power periods and runs entirely from the battery. We monitor and control our usage via Tesla’s app
- Replaced the glazing in all 75 windows and doors with high-efficiency double-glazing
- Replaced all incandescent light bulbs with low energy LED bulbs
- Replaced all downlights with low energy LED equivalents
- Added thermal lining and Bumf to all drapes
- Replaced the open fire with a high efficiency wood burner which is fuelled entirely by wood from our own trees
- Bought high-efficiency low emission motor vehicles – including one hybrid
- Installing our own water meter to monitor our water usage – our water source is a natural spring, the supply is filtered and treated, and tested regularly
- Fitted carpets are New Zealand wool
- All guest linen is cotton, bed underlays are wool, and pillows are feather and down.
2 – Waste Management & Pollution
We identify, measure, and do our best to minimise all sources of discharge and waste – including solid waste, liquid waste, hazardous substances, food waste, and light and noise pollution. Actions include the following:
- We sort and recycle all paper, glass and plastic and ask guests to separate recycling where possible. Where possible we buy products with recyclable packaging
- We reuse plastic containers
- Excess produce from our orchard and vege garden goes to the local foodbank or neighbours
- Kitchen waste goes to our sheep, ducks, compost bins or worm farm
- All the compost produced in our compost bins is used back on our gardens to improve soil health and structure.
- Plastic pots are either reused for our seedlings, donated to local growers or recycled
- All fallen branches are mulched and fed back onto the garden
- All lawn clippings and leaves are collected and left to rot down; every 6-9 months they’re fed back onto the garden
- Clearings from under neighbouring wool sheds are collected and used as a soil conditioner
- Wool dags from when our sheep are shorn are used in our vege garden as mulch
- Our sheep wool is spun and knitted into guest blankets
3 – Restoring Nature
With over 10 acres of grounds, 2.5 acres of which are landscaped gardens, we contribute positively to both environmental protection and regeneration activities in our immediate surrounds. Actions include:
- For every tree that dies, falls or is cut down, we replace it with at least 2 new trees.
- New trees and shrubs are regularly planted throughout our grounds – a high percentage being native species to cope with the unique local weather conditions
- Native seedlings that come up naturally in the garden (such as Totara, Kahikatea, Kowhai) are potted up then planted in our grounds – particularly as wind shelter along fence-lines
- Bird and bee attracting shrubs, trees and bulbs are prioritised
- We planted over 2,000 Daffodils to provide bees with winter food
- We grow all our own picking flowers for use in our guest rooms and areas
- We fenced off our driveway to prevent stock access and the driveway banks are now covered with regenerating ferns and other native seedlings (such as Manuka and Pseudopanax)
- A native revegetation project has commenced in our steep hill paddock. The boggy corner has been fenced off from stock and planted in native plants – all seedlings/cuttings/transplanted from our main garden
- For every wedding held here, we invite the married couple to plant a tree (native if possible) here to recognise their special moment and to counteract their travel impact on the environment
- All lawn clippings are used for composting purposes
- Spare seedlings and plants are donated to neighbours, for their revegetation projects.
- We donate our time once a month to a local gardening group
Omaka Lodge is a very special place, and we aspire to offer sustainable hospitality, where our guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of our Forgotten World surrounds while knowing that their stay contributes positively to the environment. We encourage everyone to embrace sustainability, in order to ensure we maintain a wonderful environment for the generations to come.
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