At Breac.House, we aim to create memorable experiences for our guests which both reflect and protect the unique environment and community in which we are located. Horn Head is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive and we feel a strong responsibility to minimise our environmental impact and the impact of our guests on this beautiful place.
We have designed as sustainable a business model as possible, including limiting guest numbers to the minimum. This sustainability ethos has become our daily way of life, and that of our guests while they are here – and hopefully long after they return home.
Our specific actions and commitments to our environment, our guests, employees, suppliers and our communities are set out below. While we have built-in deep environmental and sustainability measures into our business from day one and are committed to constantly improving where possible. We strongly support, adopt and implement the UNWTO definition of Sustainable Tourism (see below).
- All of our heating and hot water is provided solely by renewable energy (two air-source heat pumps). We do not use oil, gas or heating oil.
- We have installed solar PV panels and battery storage to provide onsite electricity and to supply clean energy to the national grid. Any excess electricity required is sourced via a 100% renewable energy tariff.
- Breac.House has been constructed and fitted-out to a very high energy efficiency standard (A Rated) to minimise energy use and to provide year round comfort.
- All of our lighting is LED and our appliances are as low energy as possible.
- Our sauna is off-grid
- Our vehicle is plug-in hybrid
- We provide electric charging facilities to guests free of charge
- We strive to further reduce our energy usage through the introduction of new efficiencies, controls and process improvements
- We have installed a rainwater harvesting system which supplies all water to our toilets throughout the building, minimising our mains water usage.
- We also have separate rainwater harvesting tanks to supply water to our polytunnel & garden, when needed (it is Donegal !)
- We efficiently manage the water output of our high demand facilities.
Local food culture
- We are committed to the preservation and revival of local food culture and heritage. We make all of our our own breads, pastries, butter, yoghurt, jams and soups using local organic ingredients – some of which we grow ourselves on site, others are from local growers.
- We always try to use local, quality suppliers for most of our purchased produce and are committed to substituting imported products with quality local / Irish equivalents in order to keep "food miles" to an absolute minimum.
- We have eliminated all single use-plastics from our guest amenities, replacing them with locally made, environmentally friendly soaps, shampoos and creams.
- We have a programme of rigorous recycling of all cardboard, paper, plastics, glass etc. We aim to reduce our general / landfill waste to a minimum and have now achieved a total business & private usage volume which is within the weekly standard domestic-use allowance.
- We compost all of our green / organic waste, including the re-use of seaweed from our guest seaweed bath ritual, for use as fertiliser in our polytunnel
- We only use environmentally friendly guest amenities, cleaning, household and garden products (no chemicals / pesticides etc)
Responsible trading practices
- We only source from responsible traders and always seek to support the best of Donegal, Ulster and Irish makers. We are particularly focused on supporting small local producers, makers and suppliers who contribute to the local community and who use local materials and methods.
- We actively and openly engage in fair trading practices with all of our suppliers, guests and employees.
Facilitating greener choices by our guests
- We provide bikes, maps, picnics, torches and hi-viz jackets / helmets to encourage our guests to visit our local headland, beaches, forests and surroundings on foot or by bike.
- We encourage guests to take public transport and have installed 2 electric car charging points, provided to guests with EVs / PHEVs free of charge.
- We advise guests on local amenities, craft shops and nearby attractions while respecting local by-laws, landowners and residents.
- We reserve half of our rooms for guests wishing to stay longer than 2 nights
Community & networks
- We have absolute respect for the community in which we are located and the impact of tourism on the people, heritage and environment of the area
- We are actively engaged in a number of local community groups and initiatives, particularly focused on the preservation of local culture, heritage and the environment.
- We are members of Sustainable Tourism Ireland, Leave no Trace and other affiliations who are committed to sustainable travel practices.
UNWTO Definition of Sustainable Tourism : “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities”