for www.domainedebize.com and www.gitesariege.com
At Affaires et Loisirs we are committed to sustainability and we try our best to minimize our impact. This being said, we will not allow your vacation experience to be compromised by the actions we take for the preservation of our environment. Whenever you have the feeling that some of the measures we take negatively affect your comfort during your stay, please let us know and we will find a solution.
Affaires et Loisirs manages three properties located in Mirepoix, Les Pujols and Verniolle. Our total capacity is 60 guests in four different buildings. The total surface of our premises is approximately 1400 square meters with a total of five hectares of land. We have a company car with a trailer needed to transport bed sheets and linen for cleaning, as well as occasionally furniture, spare parts and other items needed in our gîtes. At Bize we also have a small tractor to maintain the park and forest work for firewood. On request we can provide three historical cars for weddings or other events.
As we do not use electricity for heating, our average consumption is some 4 KW for all sites, mainly for refrigerators, pool pumps, hot water and lighting. This amounts to some 30.000 KWh per year which is - for the time being - fully compensated by our own solar electricity production at the Mercadal site.
We do electricity consumption expect to increase because of the recent installation of air conditioners at the Domaine de Bize as well as a fast charging station for electric cars. The additional power will come from the public network in France, which has a very low CO2 emission factor (mainly nuclear energy).
We are currently evaluating the installation of some 150 square meters of solar panels at the terrace of the manor and the roof of the annexe building in Bize. This would allow us to stay 100% renewable also in the future.
The by far most significant source of CO2 emissions is heating. While our premises in Verniolle are connected to the natural gas network, we are off the grid and currently depending on fuel in Mercadal and Bize. Without mitigation measures we would emit the following amounts of C02:
Verniolle: 15.000 KWh of natural gas corresponding to 3.7 tons of CO2 per year
Mercadal: 4.000 litres of fuel, corresponding to 10.6 tons of CO2 per year
Bize: 9.000 litres of fuel, corresponding to 23.85 tons of CO2 per year
We do not consider heating with fuel sustainable. Already today we use the fireplaces in Bize and Mercadal to heat the buildings when not rented out. This avoids 20% of the emissions in Mercadal and 80% in Bize. However, currently our heating systems emit cumulatively close to 17 tons of CO2 per year.
In order to reduce this further we plan to install heating systems based on biomass in Bize and Mercadal. The firewood is mainly supplied from our own forests that we manage in a sustainable way. In order to ensure supply after the conversion to biomass, we intend to acquire another 12 hectares of agricultural land. We will plant new trees on 2 hectares of grassland.
The company car is used for 11.000 km per year with a CO2 emission of 179g/km which amounts to a total of slightly less than 2 tons per year. The tractor, lawn mowers and chainsaws are estimated to produce another 0.5 tons per annum. The fleet of wedding cars has a very high fuel consumption but is only used for a cumulative 2000 Km per year. While our Daimler and RR emit more than 400g/km, the Bentley has been converted to LPG gas and emits between 300 and 400g per km. Overall the wedding cars cause CO2 emissions slightly below 1 to/a.
We have a mobile company phone, run two websites and have a lot of email communication. We are aware that this requires hosting on servers that use significant amounts of rare earth metals. While we are fully aware of the devastating environmental effects of rare earth mining and refining in China, Congo and other developing countries, we do not feel comfortable to quantify our share of this impact with a number.
Like any touristic activity we clean an enormous amount of bed sheets, linen, bath towels, etc. Apart from the use of biodegradable detergents, we have not found a way to mitigate this. You can contribute by not using all towels we provide at the beginning of your stay. We avoid plastic packaging for soap and shampoo and use dispensers instead. If you prefer conventionally packaged products, we can provide them on request for accommodations rated four stars (Bize manor house).
We do not want to start a discussion on “green washing” and will therefore not claim such a thing as “net zero”. However, we think it might be interesting for our guests to share some of the things we do that are beneficial to the climate and our environment.
For the time being we produce 32.000 KWh/a of zero emission solar energy. However, as described earlier, this is just enough to cover our own consumption. Additional solar panels to reach close to 60.000 KWh are under evaluation.
We strongly believe that the sustainable management of forests is a major contribution to environmental preservation. We currently own 5 hectares, three hectares are forest land. Depending on the age of the trees one hectare of forest neutralizes between 6 and 16 tons of CO2 per year and produces some 6 tons of oxygen. As humans we breathe some 300kg of oxygen per year which means that one hectare allows some 20 people to live and breathe.
There is an argument that the statements above have no impact for existing forests - as they have already been there for a long time there is no additional benefit for the environment. This is why our planned project includes the reforestation of two hectares of grassland over the coming decade.
Feel free to join us and plant a tree!
For any questions on sustainability please do not hesitate to engage us in the discussion…