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Dorset House and the Environment

It's tough to balance travel with protecting the environment. Tourism is often accused of having a heavy footprint. Dorset House has a range of initiatives in place to help reduce our impact on New Zealand's beautiful environment. Many of our guests choose to participate in these initiatives for reducing waste and lowering our energy and water consumption.Some of our ideas in action include...

Solar Panels
When we replaced our roof in early 2015 we decided to go all out and install a great number of solar panels on the north facing side of our roof. Sunshine is a brilliant source of energy to generate electricity or heating. Check out our video to see our solar panels in action! 


We have installed low-energy light bulbs throughout the hostel.Some lighting in the hostel now operates on timers.We encourage our guests and staff to turn off lights and heaters when leaving rooms.Insulation blankets around cylinders to reduce energy used heating hot water. Our hot water cylinders are also temperature controlled to maximise energy efficiency.During our 2012 renovation, we added extra insulation into wall spaces to keep rooms warm and to keep heat in. 

Waste and Pollution Reduction
We have placed recycling bins in the kitchen and in all bedrooms and encourage our guests to help us recycle - the city council will collect and process paper, most plastics, metal, shopping bags and cardboard. No food scraps though! An organic composting bin in the kitchen to recycle food scraps for composting.We buy our cleaning products in bulk to reduce packaging.We return 5l packaging containers to the supplier for re-use.We do not use pesticides on our garden – it is entirely organic.We use a gas heater instead of lighting the log fire, this is in support of Christchurch’s “Clean Heat” programme and helps to reduce smog.

Water Use 
We have installed dual-flush toilet cisterns that use less water - 3 litres instead of 12. We encourage guests to be careful with water – turn off taps and use plugs. Christchurch water is incredibly pure, but it's under pressure. We're lucky to have this level of water quality - fill up your water bottle.We have fitted our showers with flow-control valves to prevent wastage of water.We wash all our laundry on site instead of sending it out, we are careful to hold over half-loads of laundry.We water the gardens on a timer and do so in the cooler part of the day to reduce evaporation (our gardener Helen says it's better for the plants too). It's not that easy being green (but it's worth it!). We consider these initiatives a work in progress. We'd love to receive guest comments on how we can keep improving our performance.