Bryn Elltyd Eco Guesthouse beats hotel giants to green award

A tiny guesthouse in the foothills of Snowdonia has seen off competition from major hotel chains to scoop a national prize for its environmental credentials. Bryn Elltyd Eco Guesthouse beat the reputation and resources of Best Western Hotels' Old Tollgate, in Suffolk, and Park Plaza London (with its 396 bedrooms) to take the Green Team of the Year title in the Considerate Hoteliers Awards 2014.

Powered completely by the sun, wind, biomass and water and with a zero carbon energy footprint, the six-bedroom guesthouse has taken every step possible to be self-sufficient and slash its impact on the picturesque environment in which it sits.

Owners John and Ceilia Whitehead have transformed the building, which dates back to 1883, into a model of sustainability which includes a state-of-the-art computer controlled OkoFen wood pellet boiler for heating, which is integrated with solar water heating panels and even burns the gases it produces while burning the wood. The boiler's pellet fuel is even sourced locally, from Clifford Jones, of Ruthin.

Judges in the national competition were impressed by the thoroughness of John and Celia's approach, which also includes three electric car charging points alongside super-efficient insulation, rainwater harvesting and a 100 per cent renewable energy supply. Guests also enjoy access to WiFi and a sauna – all run on green power.

John said: “For our six-bedroom guest house, 700ft up in Snowdonia National Park, to beat such experienced and well-resourced competition is really quite something and I hope it gives inspiration to others that this is in their reach. We're thrilled that our efforts have been recognised.

“All of the work has been done by us or by carefully selected local engineers, using equipment and materials that we researched and judged to be the best for the job. We've proved that being green does not mean you have to compromise. We have all of the benefits of any three-star guesthouse, without the environmental impact and our guests love that.”

Andy Boroughs, MD of Welshpool-based Organic Energy, which supplied the high-tech OkoFen wood pellet boiler, added his congratulations: “John and Ceilia have done an amazing job of transforming an historic building into a trailblazer for sustainability and they have shown that being at the cutting edge of ecological responsibility is about commitment and creativity, not about size and resources. We are delighted to have been a part of that process.”

The 25Kw OkoFen Pellematic boiler was installed by north Wales specialists, Menai Heating (which also the solar PV electric panels), and was the first installation in Wales to begin receiving the government's Renewable Heat Incentive payments, in 2012.

The Green Team of the Year title is the latest in a string of awards won by John and Ceilia for Bryn Elltyd, which include accolades from the Welsh Assembly Government and being the winner of the Considerate Hotels Small Hotel Provider (under 20 bedrooms) in 2013, beating five-star competitors boasting rosettes for their food.

More details of Bryn Elltyd are available at

Contact John Whitehead on 01766 831356 or email

Considerate Hoteliers at

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