Jacks Alt-Stays Climate Action Plan

Our Climate Action Plan 🌎

Jacks Alt-Stays Climate Action Plan

Who sets up a Climate Action Plan before they even set up their business?

We do.

Why? Because it’s just the right thing to do. Every individual and business needs to do their bit in the fight against climate change.

The environment is something that we take personally, and since the early days of concept development, we’ve been determined to create a genuinely environmentally sustainable business.

Here are 11 ways we’re doing our bit for the planet.


1. One Stay = 1 Tree Planted 🌱

Through partnering with Ecologi, we fund the planting of a tree for every single booking at Jack’s Alt-Stays!

These trees are planted in low-cost, high-impact areas around the world, because it’s “Save the Planet“, right?

So, unfortunately (or fortunately) you won’t see Adam and I running around with spades covering the whole island in trees, but as well as the tree planting through Ecologi, we get involved in local community environmental initiatives, which I’ll touch on later in the blog.

Ecologi also runs environmental projects closer to home, such as this reforestation project in Dalry, North Ayrshire.

Ecologi Jacks Alt-Stays Tree Planting


2. Proudly Powered by 100% Renewable Electricity ⚡️

Our Cabins are powered by 100% solar, hydro, and wind-generated electricity.

Primarily, we’re powered by solar energy, self-generated by 40x solar PV panels mounted on top of our cabins, with 2x Tesla Powerwall batteries which store energy during high gain, low use periods, for use in lower gain, higher use periods.

Jack's Alt-Stays Solar Panel Installation

This week (late April 2023) our five cabins have been powered 95% by the sun! ☀️ It feels amazing to be able to self-generate almost all of our electricity, and know our guests can kick back and relax with environmental peace of mind 🌎

Through this infrastructure, we’re hoping to achieve annual carbon savings of 2.7 tonnes of CO2e!

[Thanks to the Ayrshire Rural Islands Ambition (ARIA) Fund and the Scottish Government for making our solar panels possible]

If the sun doesn’t shine (the sun always shines in Millport btw 😉), we’ll be supplied by Octopus Business Energy – a 100% Green energy provider.

We don’t do fossil fuels.

Jacks Alt-Stays Eco-Cabin Renewable Wind Energy


3. Ambitious Eco Goals 🎯

For a wee tourism business on a wee Scottish island, we have set ourselves some pretty big eco-goals.

By the end of 2023, we aim to:

🌲 Plant 3,000 trees.

💨 Avoid 40T CO2e from being emitted

In the near future, we’ll be aiming for carbon neutrality status by third-party verification in line with PAS 2060 standards.


Fancy a Unique Stay on The Isle of Cumbrae?…

We’ve JUST launched bookings for our One-of-a-kind Cabin Concept in Millport.

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

Bookings are now OFFICIALLY LIVE! 🚀

👉 Discover The Cabins

 


4. Sustainably Built Cabins 🛠

We’ve been keen to get things right from the very start. Our cabins were designed and built locally in North Ayrshire – all within a 40-mile radius of our site in Millport

Fewer logistics = less CO2 emitted.

We’ve worked with Largs-based Architects to bring the Cabin concept to its final design stage, and with Stevenston-based builders, who have a real focus on sustainable building processes.

Eco Cabin Build

The timbers used for the cabin structure and cladding are sustainably sourced and PEFC and/or FSC-certified. FSC, or the Forest Stewardship Council, certifies forests all over the world to ensure they meet the highest environmental and social standards. Products made with wood and paper from FSC forests are marked with their well-recognised tick tree’ logo, which means we can be confident that when using these materials to build our cabins, we won’t be harming the world’s forests. FSC certification is well recognised in the UK and has a more strict focus on the farmed forest management and chain of custody side of things. Once a tree is harvested, three more are planted in its place.

For the insulation, we’ve opted for market-leading EcoTherm®, resulting in a highly efficient thermal performance.

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco Cabin Build Progress

We have also carefully selected the Cabins’ fittings, lighting, appliances, and contents of the cabins, based on efficient energy performance. The chosen Herschel infra-red panel heaters are market-leading, use 30% less energy than standard electric heaters, are thermostat controlled, and can be controlled remotely. Low-energy internal and external LED lighting has been fitted. Again, all of these are powered by 100% green energy.

Jack's Alt-Stays Eco Cabin The Hive Millport (8)

The flooring and bathroom wall panel manufacturer uses FSC Forest Friendly certified materials.

The double bed is from Get Laid Beds®, who also have a keen focus on sustainability. Their Scandinavian Pine is sustainably sourced from FSC & PEFC forests and they have planted 72,600 trees in Africa, so far. Any excess waste is made into wood briquettes and donated to their local community to help reduce their heating bills.

Jack's Alt-Stays Eco Cabin The Hive Millport (7)

This is topped with an eco-friendly mattress, Vegan down duvet and pillows, made with fibres from recycled plastic bottles, uniquely spun and blown in such a way that they simulate the hand feel and warmth of natural down.

These are just a few examples of our eco-conscious decisions made through the cabin design and build process. Check out our Cabin Build Journey Blog for more.

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco Cabin Build Progress


5. An Eco Commute 🚴‍♂️

Sometimes it’s the wee things that matter. We’ll be cycling into site whenever possible.

Saying that, it’s not like cycling to work is a chore for us. We live just across the water in Largs, love a good cycle, and the route to site is nothing short of stunningly scenic.

The only time we won’t be cycling is when the weather doesn’t permit (in that case we’ll grab the bus), and a few days week we need to bring supplies over in the car.

Millport Ferry


6. Compensating for our Unavoidable Carbon Footprint ⚖️

First, it’s about quantifying and tracking our CO2e contributions. Second, it’s about reductions and minimising them. Third, it’s about compensating for the rest.

Being located on an island, there will, unfortunately, be some small areas of our business where we are just not able to avoid a carbon footprint. The reality for us is that ferry travel will be simply unavoidable (unless someone invents teleportation sometime soon).

Although it’s only an 8-minute trip over and the impact is split between large numbers of passengers, let’s face it, the ferry is no eco angel. And as mentioned, we’ll need to take the car over occasionally.

As part of our partnership with Ecologi and on top of our “book one, plant one” model – we also contribute a set amount each month to compensate for our unavoidable carbon footprint.

Here’s our impact so far:

3 YEARS

of Climate Impact

39 TONNES

of CO2e Avoided

2546 TREES

In Our forest

 

Lastly, our cabins come equipped with a Skargards hot tub.  We chose to endorse wood-fired hot tubs as they’re natural, smell amazing and require no harmful chemicals to run. Electric tubs were ruled out due to their unviable heat-up time and use of chemicals like chlorine and bromine.

We’re not using wood, but briquettes made in Girven; only 40-miles away as the crow flies. These briquettes are sustainably sourced from Forest Standard accredited forests in the UK along with co-product from sawmills in the form of logs rejected due to their size or shape. Any tree that is cut down is replanted within 12 months. They are Clean Air Act compliant, Ultra Low emissions and 100% sustainable.


7. Partner Eco Credentials 🤝

We also make sure that anyone we work with has their eco-credentials in place.

For example, the linen hire supplier, ‘Jonhson’s Stalbridge‘, has significantly invested in improving their environmental performance, and recycles all soft plastic wraps (via third party). Our guest consumables supplier ‘Kingdom Coffee’ offers sustainably sourced products in recycled and/or recyclable packaging.

ARRAN Sense of Scotland‘ supplies our guest toiletries in PET recyclable bulk containers. We then refill and reuse our bottles for guest shampoo, shower gel, and hand soap, meaning zero plastic to landfill.

ECOLAB’ provide their most environmentally friendly cleaning product range in fully recyclable packaging, some in bulk refill bottles.

Who Gives A Crap‘, who supply our recycled toilet roll and kitchen roll are B Corp certified, for their highest standards of social and environmental impact.

Our environmental scrutiny of our suppliers even comes down to our web hosting provider. ProStack have their ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management Standard in place, which encourages businesses to help reduce environmental impacts, reduce waste, and to be more sustainable. ProStack has demonstrated a plan to boost their environmental responsibilities in a systematic approach with the goal to continuously reduce our carbon footprint.


8. The Environment – It’s in our Values. 🌎

One of our core founding values is to ‘Respect Our Backyard’ – Leave nothing but footprints. Always respect your surrounding environment and leave it a little better than you found it.

By this, we mean both our immediate ‘backyard’, i.e. our site, surrounding area, and our neighbours, but also the wider island environments.

We return to our values every time we make a business decision – because what’s the point in even having them if you don’t?

Check out Jack’s Alt-Stays Founding Values.


9 Looking After our Environment at a Community Level 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Both Adam and I are passionate about the environment and see our environmental duty extend beyond our own site’s boundary.

We get involved with beach clean initiatives, such as the FSC’s recent Kames Bay clean, with a view to champion these in the near future.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by FSC Millport (@fscmillport)

In the near future, we aim to get involved with local tree-planting initiatives. We also plan to lead the campaign for on-street recycling facilities in Millport later this year.


10. We’ve Declared a Climate Emergency! 🚨

Tourism Declares supports tourism businesses, organisations, and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and taking action to reduce their carbon emissions. They acknowledge the science stating we have to act now to address the crisis over the next decade.

Alongside fellow tourism organisations such as Visit Scotland, here are our five commitments in declaring a climate emergency;

    1. Develop and commit to this ‘Climate Action Plan’
    2. Share our commitment and progress publicly
    3. Cut carbon emissions
    4. Encourage our suppliers and partners to make the same declaration
    5. Advocate for change in tourism

11. Responsible Waste Management ♻️

We do everything we can to eradicate the use of non-recyclable, single-use plastics in our Cabins. We also make sure that our day-to-day waste and recycling processes are up to scratch, and encourage guests to do the same.


So in a nutshell, that’s how we’ll make an ‘Alt-stay’ an ‘Eco-stay’.

As individuals, we have both become much more environmentally aware over the last few years. Greta would be proud!

Why a Climate Action Plan?  We have a Climate Action Plan in place from day 1.  It’s our way of holding ourselves accountable and committing to the cause.

We see our business as an extension of ourselves. – we do share the Jack name after all. That’s why from the get-go, we’ve set out to create a genuinely environmentally sustainable business.

Cheers!


Fancy a Unique Stay on The Isle of Cumbrae?…

We’ve JUST launched bookings for our One-of-a-kind Cabin Concept in Millport.

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

Bookings are now OFFICIALLY LIVE! 🚀

👉 Discover The Cabins

 

Jack's Alt-Stays The Eco-Cabin Build Journey

Our Cabin Build Journey 🛠

Jack's Alt-Stays The Eco-Cabin Build Journey

So, IT BEGINS – we’re officially on the road to our first site of Cabins. How exciting!… but also kind of terrifying.

All I can really say is, we’ve got a hell of a long way to go. As I write this, it’s currently the 3rd of May 2021 and things are just starting to kick off. We’ve finalised the architects drawings, we’re in the midst of securing the land and the foundations of our very first cabin are currently being built.

Up until now, it’s pretty much been a year full of endless planning. But now, the wheels are fully in motion, and there’s no going back…

So you can follow along at home, Daniel and I will be taking the cameras with us and documenting the whole journey. Expect loads of exciting video content and all sorts of updates on the build process as it unfolds.

To make things easy, everything will be posted right here in this blog post. We’ll also let you know by e-mail and on our socials when there’s an update. Sound good? Great.

Not on the mailing list? Sign-up here:

Newsletter

Part 1: The Journey Begins

3rd May 2021

So before we get into the build, let’s just take a minute to set the scene. What’s the story and how did we get to where we are now?

Well, for those who don’t know, myself (Adam Jack) and my cousin (Daniel Jack) are the two guys behind this Cabin concept. We share a passion for adventure, quirky stays and the environment. We’ve also always had a dream of starting up a family business.

Last year, Daniel and I both lived in Glasgow and we’d spend nights sitting in my flat, drinking Tennent’s lager and brainstorming business ideas… because that’s where all good ideas begin. 🍻🧠

We realised one night that we’d stayed in all sorts of weird and wonderful places on our travels, from converted shipping containers to glamping pods, but nothing had quite hit the spot when it came to the perfect night away.

It wasn’t long before we decided that we were on a mission to shake-up Scotland’s tourist accommodation game. Gone were the days of dusty B&B’s, carbon churning hotels, and basic glamping pods which (let’s be honest here) are nothing but a bed in a shed. 🛖

After a full year of planning, we’ve now just hit the ‘go’ button on the build of our first cabin. From there, the ultimate goal is to build 5 cabins in total, and plonk them all on a scenic site on the wonderful Isle of Cumbrae. We’re aiming to launch our business at the beginning of 2022.

So yeah, that’s you pretty much up to date with the story so far. To hear more about the cabins, our story, and our plans, you can check out Episode 1 of the Build Journey Series below:

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Part 2: The Foundations

17th June 2021

There’s no going back now… the build is officially underway!

From the beginning, Daniel and I have been keen to keep everything local and sustainable with our business. Of course, it all starts with the cabins themselves.

To bring our concept to life we teamed up with local architects, Stewart Associates, and local builders, System 5.

The whole thing started by taking our poorly drawn concept images and a tonne of different ideas to the professionals. We worked very closely with the architects and after months of iterations, we finally managed to create the perfect design.

Concept Development - Jack's Alt-Stays

With the technical designs complete, it was time to get the builders involved. Over the last month (or so) there’s been all sorts of logistical planning and ordering materials, but we’re finally at the stage where the cabin is starting to be built. 🛠

The best thing about keeping everything local is being involved in the process every step of the way. We’re lucky to live a short commute away from the workshop, so are always down to see how things are progressing.

To date, we’ve constructed the steel chassis frame and the wooden foundations of the cabin have been put in place. I’d say we’re about 10% of the way to a final cabin, check out how it’s looking:

Cabin Build 10%

The road ahead involves getting the cabin structure in place, with the walls and roof panels. After that, it’s all about the electrical instalments, getting the windows and doors put in, and starting to build out the rest of the features.

All going well, we should be looking at the Jack’s prototype cabin in 12-weeks time. Watch this space!

 

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Part 3: Shaping Up

23rd July 2021

Things are starting to shape! Quite literally…

We started with a steel chassis,  which was pretty much the foundations, and over the last 5 weeks we’ve built up to something which resembles a cabin.

Once we had the sides up, it was a case of fixing the roof panels in place and making sure we had a structure that was water-tight. As you can imagine, this was a pretty important step. Even though it’s currently summertime, we can always count on some trusty West of Scotland precipitation…

Next up, it was time to get our larch cladding finish onto the exterior of the cabin. This really started to bring the cabin to life…

Aaaand, that’s pretty much where we’re at just now. Next steps include installing doors, windows, electrics, and eventually kitting out the inside of the cabin – exciting stuff!

We’re feeling proud to now have a structure that has been locally designed and built. Furthermore, with sustainable and locally sourced materials (wherever possible).

Our environmental impact is something we always consider at Jack’s. We’ve been making conscious decisions when it comes to the structural timbers, cladding, wall finishes, and many of the fixtures and fittings.

You can read all about our environmental efforts in our concept blog here. 🌿

Here’s Episode 2 of our Cabin Build Journey YouTube Series:

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Part 4: Fixtures & Fittings

25th August 2021 

Okay, so the 12-week prototype was quite a bit ambitious…

Our first cabin is also a prototype, so as you can imagine, it’s been a bit of an iterative build process so far.

Also, the reality is we’ve been working hard behind the scenes on securing the land, our planning permission etc. and (honestly) there’s still a hell of a lot that can still go wrong with our start-up…

So we’re kinda… well, not in a HUGE rush to commit to building the next 4 cabins. Saying that, once we’ve ironed out these final risks of the business set-up, we’ll be full steam ahead. 🚂

Anyway, back to the cabin build. Up until now the inside of the cabin, as you can imagine, has just been one big, empty space.

Of course, before we could build out the interior, we had to get all the electrics installed. ⚡️

Thankfully, we’ve been busy working with the builders in recent weeks to finalise socket, light switch, and LED lighting placements, and we’ve just had the electricians in to get everything installed.

As you can see below, we sorted out the interior of the cabin a sleek, birch plywood finish and started to build out the partition wall between the bathroom and living area:

Jack's Alternative Eco-Cabin Build Interior

This was the first time we could stand in the cabin and get a real feeling of what the final outlay is going to be like. We’re so happy with the feel of it and can tell it’s going to be the perfect balance of spacious and snug.

Internal Alternative Eco Cabin

With regards to the external, the big windows were next to arrive which look great and got installed pretty quickly! We had a temporary door on for a week or so, but it wasn’t long until we got our shiny, new sliding door put in place. 🚪

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Part 5: We Have Colour!

6th October 2021

That’s right, last week we managed to give “The Hive” cabin its first bit of personality with a splash of paint. 🎨

Check it out:

If you didn’t know, each of our cabin themes will be based on a colour, and (you guessed it) “The Hive” is based on the colour orange. 🐝

We don’t want to go overkill on the interior colour scheme. In fact, the idea is to use a lot of black, white, and wooden finishes for the interior, with hints of the theme colour throughout.  Anyway, more on all of that once we get to the interior design stage….

In other news, this has left the exterior of the cabin is starting to look pretty polished! Take a look:

Jack's Alt-Stays The Hive Cabin

Of course, the orange colour looks pretty bold at the moment, but it will look a lot more muted once we get our perforated aluminium sheet over the top of it. With a bit of help from our Instagram followers, we chose a sheet with hexagonal shaped holes (very fitting to the theme), and we look forward to getting these fitted soon!:

As an update on the inside, we’ve just managed to get the plumbing installed for both the bathroom and kitchen space. The warehouse is also packed out with the contents of the cabin. I’m talking the kitchen, the bathroom, the bed, the flooring panels, the bathroom multi-panels, and the water boiler.

The next step is a whole load of installations to bring the interior to life! Stay tuned.

Here’s Episode 3 of our Cabin Build Journey YouTube Series:

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Part 6: Kitchen in!

18th November 2021

So, over the last 6-weeks as we’ve started on the bathroom and fully kitted out the kitchen! 👨🏻‍🍳

Before we get into that, I should probably show you how the aluminium sheeting installation went:

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

As you can see, we also added some exterior spotlights to finish it off – looking sleek!

Next up, we had the kitchen. When deciding which one to go with, we needed something that would fit the bill for a couple or small family group staying in the cabin for up to a week, so a kitchen that was fully equipped, yet compact and stylish.

Elfin Kitchen - Jack's

We chose Elfin Kitchens to supply our kitchenette. These guys supply micro kitchens to all sorts of glamping pods, converted shipping containers and student accommodation, so they were a great fit. The kitchen has a nice matt black finish, which contrasts really nicely with the bright birch ply walls, and fits perfectly with The Hive’s orange, white and black colour scheme, so we’re so happy with the result.

Elfin Kitchen - Jack's Alt-Stays

We’ve also seen our surfaces start to come together as the flooring in both the bathroom and living space, as well as the bathroom wet walls, have all been installed. 

The material that these surfaces are made up by is called Multipanel. They’re essentially interlocking panels that are FSC Forest Friendly certified, durable, watertight, and easy clean which fits the bill for us. As with all material suppliers we scrutinised their eco credentials, and we’re confident we’ve made another genuinely sustainable choice for our floor and walls.

Multipanel Flooring - Jack's

The only problem was… it was realllllly expensive. There are for sure cheaper options for flooring and walls out there, but I suppose sometimes you need to make economic compromises for the environment. Such is life…

Another HUGE piece of news happened recently – we finally got the results of our planning application! 👨‍💻

Check out how we got on below:

Here’s Episode 4 of our Cabin Build Journey YouTube Series:

 

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Part 7: Kitting Out The Interior

22nd December 2021

This month we’ve seen some HUGE progress as we’ve fully kitted out ‘The Hive’ cabin! I’m talking 95% complete. 📈

Let’s see how things have been progressing…

Firstly, we needed to get a solution for the rest of the cabin furniture. We could have looked at different suppliers for this, but we decided to build these bespoke-ly and in-house at the warehouse. The benefit of this is that we could maintain the certain aesthetic which is created by using the light birch plywood, and we could carefully craft all of our cupboards, dining table and storage solutions down to the millimetre. 📏

Bespoke Furniture - Jack's Alt-Stays

Throughout the cabin we’ve made the use of clever design to make space saving and storage solutions. Probably my favourite part of the whole cabin is the fold-up dining table, which simply pops up if you’re looking to sit up, or drops straight down if you’d like a bit more space. Once folded upright, it also reveals a clever storage space which has been incorporated into the underside. 

Foldable Table Jack's Alt-Stays

Next up, we began to create a group of hexagonal shelves above the bed. 🛑

This is an idea we’ve had since the beginning and it was so fun to watch it finally come to life! Of course, ‘The Hive’ has to be full of bee, honey and hive related elements, and this was going to be one of our focal points. 🐝

By the way, if you want to read about all how we’re really bringing ’The Hive’ to life, you can read about the cabin experience in our ‘Concept Deep Dive’ here. 

Anyway, back to the shelves. Again we originally looked at some off the shelf options for this (see what I did there), but a bespoke build just seemed like the way to go. We started to plan out at first, thinking about how to maximise the wall space with the perfect amount of shelving. 

Bespoke The Hive Shelving Progress

Since it was above the bed, it was important to get these at the correct height and depth on the wall, to create the right aesthetic (also because our insurance policy doesn’t cover us for guests smashing their heads when they get up for the toilet in the middle of the night). 

We made all the shelves at different depths, to give a sort of 3D effect, and once they were all build, we started to get them up. Here’s how it went: 

Hexagonal Shelves Installation - Jack's Alt-Stays - The Hive

Combined with the LED strip light, we were chuffed to bits with how it turned out. So much so, that we got a team photo with the final product weyyheyy: 

Jack's Alt-Stays - The Hive Shelving

We also started to fully kit out the bathroom space around point. We installed the infrared heated mirror, towel rail, shower, toilet, and sink, and we couldn’t be happier with the final result. 🛁

We know how important a quality bathroom is in self-catering and our brand-spanking-new design certainly fit the bill. Check it out: 

Alternative Eco-Cabin Toilet - Jack's Alt-Stays

Other than that, we had a few finishing touches such as the remainder of the bespoke furniture, folding wallbed, LED sign and Infrared Panel Heaters. It’s safe to say we we’re BUZZING with the finished product. 🐝

Here’s how it looks:

The Hive Interior - Alternative Eco-Cabin

Aaaand just like that, there you have it – ‘THE HIVE’ cabin!

All that’s left is to add our after this update ‘soft furnishings’, so stuff like cushions, bedding, ornaments. Oh, and probably the most exciting part of the cabin – the artists wall mural. Stay tuned!

 

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Part 8: Finishing Touches

Coming soon!

If you want to be first to hear about our launch plans, sign-up to our mailing list below:

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Fast forward to today, and we’re LIVE!

Ok, we’ve got a bit of catching up to do on this blog, but here’s the final result:

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

Bookings are now OFFICIALLY LIVE! 🚀

👉 Discover The Cabins

Wood Fired Hot Tubs - Eco Environmental

Wood-fired Hot Tubs – “Surely They’re Not Eco?” 🪵

Wood Fired Hot Tubs - Eco Environmental

Being an environmentally focussed business, we thought long and hard about our choice to advocate the use of wood-burning hot tubs.

Wood burners are charming, smell great, and have an amazing aesthetic, but are they eco-friendly?

Well, the short answer is – yes! The key is being responsible, sensible, and sustainable in your burning practices.

What type of fuel should I use? 🪵

You might be thinking that the obvious answer here is, well… wood?

Turns out, there’s loads of different biomass fuel options out there, some of which are better than others, depending on your requirements.

As a business, we’ve been round the houses (and then some) when it came to choosing the right type of fuel for our hot tubs. For us, we needed something that was fit-for-purpose, highly energy efficient, and kept our carbon emissions to a minimum.

We looked at all sorts of fuels, from eco sawdust briquettes to kiln-dried logs, and even re-purposing waste wooden pallets. There are also other environmentally friendly options such as soy logs and compressed paper bricks.

There’s pros and cons for all of these, but ultimately, we chose to go for what we believe to be the best and most environmentally friendly optionWoodlets Briquettes  (more on these shortly).

Wood fuel at a glance 👀

Fairlie Wood Fuels

For a long time, we were sold on using kiln-dried logs for our wood fuel. When managed properly, it’s a fantastic option.

The moisture content in kiln-dried logs is very low (under 20%), meaning less CO2 emissions, less smoke, and an all-round cleaner fuel. Furthermore, if sourced from sustainable forests and local suppliers, you can manage your wood burning practices responsibly and sustainably.

Saying that, there is still a carbon footprint associated with the kiln drying process, as the moisture in the freshly cut logs is essentially “cooked off” at a high temperature. As an alternative, you could use seasoned logs, however this requires a fresh wood source, storage space and a fair amount of time.

If you do choose wood fuel, the key to sustainability is by creating a ‘closed carbon cycle’. Carbon is a pollutant and is a product of the lifecycle of a tree. When trees are growing, they absorb carbon, and they release carbon when they rot or when they are burned.

If carrying out truly sustainable practices, enough trees should be re-planted to absorb (at least) the carbon released from the wood fuels.

Woodlets Briquettes 🪵

Woodlets Briquettes - Jack's Alt-Stays

So, after exploring our options, here’s where we ended up – Woodlets Briquettes.

These fantastic wee logs are sustainable, highly efficient, and can be used in any type of wood burning stove.

All of the wood used to manufacture the briquettes are sourced from accredited and sustainable Scottish forests, and the briquettes are Clean Air Act compliant.

Here’s a quick snapshot:

♻️ Woodlets Briquettes are made in Scotland, from sustainable forests

Woodlets Briquettes - Jack's Alt-Stays

You might find the best possible wood supplier, but if it turns out it’s shipped over from elsewhere in Europe, then that’s no use to you!

Land Energy collect all their wood within a 60-mile radius of their factory in Girvan, Ayrshire. Our briquettes then take a 50-mile trip from their factory to our hot tubs in Millport.

🔥 Woodlets Briquettes burn 20% hotter than kiln-dried wood.

Woodlets Briquettes - Jack's Alt-Stays

This is due to their high calorific value and low moisture content (less than 10%).

Less moisture = more efficient & less emissions

♻️ Land Energy’s Used-bag Recycling Scheme

Woodlets Briquettes

Since Day 1 of our business, we’ve tried to avoid single use plastics at all costs, which is why we were delighted to hear about Land Energy’s commitment to sustainability.

Although our Woodlets Briquettes currently come wrapped in plastics, we’re able to re-cycle 100% of the plastic through Land Energy’s “used-bag recycling scheme”.

We simply bag up all of our packaging, and post it back to Land Energy. Check us out in action:

Once sent back, the plastics are recycled, within the UK, into things like picnic tables, benches, planters, dog kennels, and much more useful stuff – pretty cool!

Land Energy are also working on a new product – Roastie Toasties – which ditch the plastics all together and come in 100% recyclable cardboard.

Land Energy - Roastie Toasties

 

Unfortunately, they’re only able to distribute these small batches at the moment, but we’ll be first in line when they’re ready!

Do they work in practice? 🤔

So, equipped with all our research, Woodlets Briquettes seemed like a no brainer 🧠

All sounded good on paper, but do they work in practice?

Woodlets Briquettes - Jack's Alt-Stays

When it came down to the testing in our wood-fired hot tubs, it’s safe to say the Woodlets Briquettes lived up to expectation.

Our first impressions were how easy to handle the Woodlets were.  They are the perfect size for our stoves, and can also be broken up by hand in to smaller pieces. Due to their uniform shape they were also stackable, making them very easy to store.

The most impressive thing about it was the heat up time. We found that we could heat up our hot tub to temperature in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. When compared to kiln-dried logs, this was about 30-minutes quicker.

Woodlets Briquettes - Jack's Alt-Stays

Woodlets were also brilliant at retaining heat and seemed to keep the water at temperature for a longer time. As an added bonus, there was also remarkably less ash and mess left over from the briquettes, so it felt like a cleaner fuel.

We’ve now been using Woodlets Briquettes since April 2023, and are confident that we’re using fuel which is both highly efficient, and gave us the feel-good factor of using a product which is made 100% sustainable.

What type of wood-burning appliance should I use? 🔥

If you’re going to choose to burn any fuel, it’s only right that you chose a modern and efficient wood burner.

In general, enclosed wood burners are engineered to get the maximum amount of energy, and thus heat, from your fuel. In fact, when compared to open fires, they are dramatically more efficient and release up to 10 times fewer emissions!

For us, we use a company called Skargards to supply our wood-fired hot tubs. They are the very best in Swedish hot tub manufacturing and are built sustainably for efficiency and durability.

Check them out:

Skargards Hot Tub

We also chose to use purchase their ‘insulated cover’ which accelerates the heating process by up to 30% in winter and preserves the heat after use for the next day.

The efficiency of the hot tub and the heat retention of the insulated cover is very noticeable.  We’ve previously put the insulated cover on after a full night’s use and found that the water is still at a welcoming 35 degrees the next morning!

This means less fuel used, and an easy heat up for the next day – nice one.


Fancy a dip in one of our tubs?

Why not check out our Unique Hot Tub Cabins here in Millport.

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

👉 Discover The Cabins

 


Why not electric hot tubs? ⚡️

This is something we get asked quite often. Again, there are pros and cons to both options.

One of the deal breakers here was the heat-up time. Wood-fired hot tubs can reach temperature in 2-4 hours. Electric hot tubs can take 8-12 hours from, which for our use case as short-stay tourist accommodation, simply didn’t work.

The only alternative to avoid the heat up time would be to keep the hot tub “switched on” at all times, which a lot of people do in domestic settings. Of course, this is just churning through masses of electricity.

Ultimately, we just found it difficult to justify electric hot tubs for our use case. Besides, they also don’t have the same natural charm and aesthetic as the Skargards tubs do 😉

How are we aiming to achieve a ‘closed carbon cycle’? 🌎

From the outset, we’ve been determined to create a genuinely sustainable business.

Firstly, we recognise that we’re producing carbon through things like Coffee Log fuel and ferry travel. Secondly, we look at how we can reduce, then off-set our carbon footprint.

Through our partnership with Ecologi, we currently donate a set amount each month to fund carbon capture and reforestation projects around the world. 

Ecologi Jacks Alt-Stays Tree Planting

Further, with the help of Ecologi, we’re vowing to plant a tree for every single booking at Jack’s Alt-Stays!

Check out our impact so far:

2 YEARS

of Climate Impact

39 TONNES

of CO2e Avoided

2546 TREES

In Our forest

To find out the 11 ways we’re doing our bit for the planet, check out our Climate Action Plan.

So, there you have it…

If you’re like us and care about the environment, but also love the warmth and aesthetic of a charming wood burner, then not to worry!

The fact is, burning wood comes with a lot of responsibility. Wood burners are brilliant, but it’s important to do your research.

To summarise, you should use responsible practices, choose sustainable suppliers, and always think about the bigger environmental picture.

With proper practices, it’s easy to make your wood fuel an environmentally-conscious fuel.


Who are The Jacks?

We’re two cousins with a passion for adventure, quirky stays, and the environment. 

Daniel Jack and Adam Jack - Jacks Alt-Stays

Welcome to the next generation of self-catering accommodation in Scotland.

The Hive Cabin - Jack's Alt-Stays, Millport

We think of our one-of-a-kind Cabin Concept as a crossroads where quirky interior design meets eco-consciousness, in a stunning island setting.

👉 Discover The Cabins