Over the last 6 years, 008 Villa has been incredibly busy investing in and implementing a number of sustainability initiatives. Reducing our impact on the environment and enriching lives within our community is a core ethos for our business.
The objective of this post is to share some of the progress that we have made to date. Whilst we have had some fantastic results, we are constantly evolving and strive to implement more initiatives in the future. Our ultimate goal is to run a carbon neutral property without affecting the guest experience.
In 2019, Cape Town faced the worst water crisis in history. The city was days away from being the first metropolitan in the world to run out of its fresh water supply. We narrowly escaped this outcome thanks to the implementation of water restrictions, fast tracking infrastructure and through education and encouraging behaviour change.
Before the crisis hit, we had installed 12 500 litres of water storage tanks for the harvesting of rain water as well as flush mates in the toilets and flow restrictors in shower heads and compatible faucets. We then fast tracked the drilling of a fresh water borehole and installed an on-site water purification plant. The result being that we are completely independent of the municipal water supply.
We have the following in place to ensure that we use the minimum amount of water possible: Linen reuse policy to reduce the unnecessary washing of linen and towelling, grey water system in the laundry which is used to irrigate the garden, water pebbles to encourage shorter showering times and waterless hand sanitiser in the bathrooms and kitchens.
Over the last few years, South Africa has faced major interruptions (Load Shedding) to its electricity supply. Scheduled power outages of up to seven and a half hours a day are experienced on an intermittent basis.
Reducing electricity consumption and producing clean power was high on our agenda. The power supply problems convinced us to invest sooner rather than later. We decided to start with a grid-tied solar system and smart metering in order to analyse our consumption patters. In tandem to the installation of the solar system, we converted lighting, appliances and other high usage items to low energy alternatives.
The solar system and electrical conversions reduced our electricity consumption by 50%. The return on investment is expected within 3 years. Based on these tangible results, we upgraded the system to include higher output panels, a battery bank and an inverter. The result is that the villa runs predominantly on solar during the day, draws from the batteries at night and any excess power generated is fed back into the national grid.
Every effort is made to reduce waste in our operations. We recycle and compost whatever waste we can. Wherever possible, products, amenities and chemicals are environmentally friendly and locally sourced. We are constantly evaluating suppliers and products to reduce our impact and the aim is to prevent any waste from our operations going into landfill.
008 Villa is actively involved in the local communities and we have made charitable donations to a number of foundations.
Our main charities are StreetSmart South Africa who’s aim is to to raise funds for street children’s education, skills training and family reunification, and Freedom Walkers who manufacture low cost mobility devices for children with special needs.
We donate condemned linen and towelling to the Domestic Animal Rescue Group (D.A.R.G) which is either used in the animal enclosures or sold through their charity shops to raise funds.
We are proud of our achievements and have made this commitment to the environment and local communities a core ethos of our business model.