The Grove wins green pub challenge

The Grove wins ‘green’ pub challenge

Our St. David’s pub can lay claim to being one of the ‘greenest’ in Wales- after winning the Welsh Assembly Government’s Climate Change Pub Challenge.

The Grove, on High Street, has won the award for the progress made in reducing its carbon emissions and water use and its success in involving the local community in its efforts.

The pub, which has been competing in a friendly rivalry against The Turf in Wrexham and The Castle Inn in Caldicot, Gwent since April, has worked with Carbon Trust, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Energy Saving Trust to monitor energy and water usage.

The pub has installed low energy lights, insulated its loft, fitted effective draught excluders throughout the building, and is monitoring power use through a plug-in meter, giving managers Barry and Janette greater control over energy use and bills.

The pubs has also saved 18% volume, over 725,000 litres of water a year and over £800 on the water bill through a range of measures. Dwr Cymru Welsh Water fitted water-saving shower heads in guest rooms, which Barry finds better than the original version.

Along with water-saving devices in cisterns, The Grove is now using water collected in butts to water a vegetable and herb garden planted as part of the Challenge. The garden is being developed with the help of pupils from Ysgol Bro Dewi Church in Wales Primary School and produce being used by chef James Hogarth Jones in the kitchen.

Though all three pubs in the Challenge had made steps to reduce emissions, a judging panel of environmental experts felt that The Grove had taken the Challenge the furthest, having explored a wider range of green activities including everything from making building improvements to involving the community in events such as a ‘lights out’ Halloween night.

It was also key that plans were in place for a long-term and varied programme of green activities. Barry and Janette will continue to work with local schoolchildren to tend the vegetable and herb garden, as well as starting a poster campaign in schools to communicate greener ways of living to pupils and parents.

As a reward for its hard work, The Grove will now receive a contribution to a measure identified by the Carbon Trust which will help further mitigate its carbon emissions. The Turf and The Castle Inn will also receive help towards a carbon-cutting project.

Janette White, Manager of The Grove, said: "We’re elated to win the Welsh Assembly Government Climate Change Pub Challenge. It’s been an educational experience and is just the beginning of the journey for us.

"St. David’s is aiming to become a carbon-neutral city and it’s been great to have a support network of like-minded people. But we can’t always rely on other people, we all need to take responsibility for our own actions.

"Through speaking with the Carbon Trust, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Environment Minister Jane Davidson we’ve identified projects which can further eat away at our emissions. This is not a short-term fix, we all have a long-term commitment to cut our carbon footprints.

"The good news is that many of the things you can do can have huge cost savings. By installing water efficient shower heads in our guest rooms, we’re already set for a saving of over £800 on our water bill."

Environment Minister Jane Davidson said: "All three pubs have embraced a greener way of living, making inroads into reducing their carbon footprints and raising awareness amongst their regulars and communities.

"It was a really tough decision to choose a winner as the pubs have worked very hard and made some significant improvements. However it is with pleasure that we announce The Grove in St.David’s as the recipient of the top prize.

"The pub has made some significant steps such as insulating its loft, fitting draught excluders and water-saving showers which will contribute to reductions in carbon emissions. An 18% reduction in water usage has already been recorded.

"The Climate Change Challenge empowered local people to drive action to better the environment and is exactly what we’re trying to do to reduce greenhouse gases by 3% per year from 2011- getting into the communities and raising awareness in a fun way of the small things we can all do to make a big difference while saving money at the same time."

Rhian Morris, Water Efficiency Campaign Manager said: "We installed monitoring equipment and surveyed the pub making recommendations on ways they can save water and also save money. Barry and Janette have taken action and installed some of the recommendations making a whopping 18% saving, that’s over 725,000 litres of water a year. They have also taken the challenge into the community and local school encouraging them all to reduce their carbon footprint."

Helen Northmore, Head of Energy Saving Trust Wales said: "I’d like to congratulate all three pubs for the efforts they have made towards becoming more energy efficient – The Grove is an excellent example of how making small changes, like replacing their 100 light bulbs with energy efficient ones, can have a real impact on energy bills. I hope that as the ‘greenest pub in Wales’ the Grove is able continue their green journey by encouraging other pubs and their patrons to follow suit."

Mike Batt, manager of Carbon Trust Wales said: "Well done to all three finalists. These pubs are a great example of how SMEs can make business sense of climate change and put cost and carbon saving into action."