About the Briar Rose Bed and Breakfast

Overview

Briar Rose Bed and Breakfast is owned by Jessika and Gary Hardin. It is our intention to bring mindfulness and compassion to our care for the guests and the inn. This is inspired by Gary’s practice as a Zen priest – Jessika and Gary met at the monastery. Above all, our hallmark is to offer a feeling of “home” in the heart of Boulder, Colorado. We simply take care of whoever walks in the door.

Our gardens offer a private retreat — for personal reflection, a warm conversation, or simply enjoying the many different plants, flowers, trees and shrubs. With a warm fireplace, the living room is an inviting spot for reading, meeting with friends, or enjoying a fine pot of tea with fresh-baked shortbread cookies. Guests and staff may sit in our beautiful meditation room, with a beautiful cherry floor. We serve a full, organic breakfast in our dining room or on the cheery sun porch, weather permitting. Arrangements can be made for in-room service.

We are the only Boulder lodging place that serves organic breakfast and is a member of the Green Hotels Association.

Leader in Sustainability

VERY GOOD RATING – 3 Green Eco-Leafs – Briar Rose Bed and Breakfast – Boulder, CO Hotels

We intend to encourage and promote ecological consciousness in every aspect of providing hospitality to our guests. This is an evolving process of redesigning our operations to be increasingly friendly to the environment. We lead Boulder hotels in the effort to make travel sustainable and your stay carbon-neutral.

How we express this intention:

  • We serve organic breakfasts — the only hotel or lodging place to do so in Boulder County (since 2004)
  • We commit one percent of annual revenues to capital expenditures, which reduce the environmental impact of guest stays (since 2009)
  • We are a zero waste community partner with Ecocycle (www.ecocycle.org). We recycle all our cans, bottles, plastics, batteries, and paper waste products. We compost all of our biodegradable waste materials. (Organic waste decomposes aerobically in a compost bin producing carbon dioxide, as opposed to decomposing anaerobically in landfills. Anaerobic decomposition creates methane gas, which causes more global warming than carbon dioxide.) (since 2004)
  • We provide bath products from Shikai and soap from EO in 12 oz. bottles that we refill. Other Boulder hotels use disposable 1.5 oz. bottles which end up in landfills). (since 2006)
  • Our accommodations feature incredibly soft microfiber twill sheets by Comphy. This may not seem like an environmental choice, but we consulted with an expert who advises the likes of Patagonia. These sheets require far less energy to dry and need very little ironing. This results in significant energy savings compared with the organic cotton sheets we used exclusively for years. Cotton also requires large amounts of water to grow.
  • We ride bikes. Almost 100% of our employee commuting is by bike or foot. Our local grocery shopping is done with the Briar Rose bike/trailer. (since 2004)
  • We plant native and xeric species and use mulches to conserve water (since 2004)
  • We cut our lawn with a human-powered reel mower. (The EPA estimates that gas-powered lawnmowers in the U.S. cause as much air pollution as 3.5 million late-model cars.) (since 2004)
  • We use LED bulbs to reduce our electricity consumption (since 2008, as we previously used CFL bulbs starting in 2006 with only a few left in the house). Overall, our electricity consumption has decreased on a kilowatt basis during our tenure, has been flat on a dollar basis, and has decreased markedly on a per-guest-night basis. This manifests our intention to make the guest vacation travel as carbon-neutral as possible. In May of 2010, we spent approximately $3,500 on electrical and lighting improvements. In particular we (a) added some exterior lighting circuits that have dusk-to-dawn sensors, so that we don’t rely on guests or staff to turn them off; (b) replaced all incandescent bulbs with CFLs in the guest rooms, kitchen, living and dining rooms, basements, and staff quarters; (c) reduced the lumens of individual exterior light fixtures while increasing the number of fixtures, so as not to lessen the security provided by the exterior lighting; and (d) began experimentation with LED bulbs for exterior lighting.
  • We run a 95 percent efficient gas furnace in the main house and energy-efficient heat pumps in some guest rooms. The heat pumps are used for both heating and cooling. (since 2004)
  • We use a high-efficiency front loading washing machine to wash all bedding and linens, and we do not use fabric-softening dryer sheets. (since 2004)
  • 100% use of paper containing recycled fiber for toilet and facial tissue, and printer paper (since 2005)
  • We increased the R-value of our attic insulation to 49 in three of our five attics (2007 and 2008)
  • We use eco-friendly cleaning products from Eco-products, Seventh Generation, etc. (since 2004)
  • We provide filtered water in glass bottles in the guest room rather than offering mineral water in plastic bottles. (since 2008)
  • We send as little as possible to the landfill by donating usable items (e.g., furniture, dishes, linens) to community recycling programs, the Naropa freebox, or the homeless shelter (since 2007)
  • We use environmentally friendly no-VOC paints on nearly all interior surfaces (since 2007)
  • We are the first member of the Green Hotel Association from Boulder County (since 2005)
  • We engaged Xcel Energy in March 2010 to provide an energy assessment of our facilities. In this assessment, Xcel Energy gave us good marks saying our energy usage was 4 percent below the lodging norm of 100 KBtu per square foot. This was heartening to us as we know (a) most lodging occurs in bigger buildings with a lower ratio of windows to walls and a lower ratio of exterior walls to heated square footage and (b) we have an older structure with known issues in the building envelope that we have not fully addressed. These items are significant drivers of energy consumption, and despite these items we are already above average. Xcel Energy recommended that we (i) do additional lighting retrofits of CFL bulbs, which we have subsequently done – see above); (ii) upgrade air conditioners… we intend to do this, but it’s quite expensive; (iii) unplug a secondary refrigerator … we do not intend to do this as we perceive an operational need for the secondary refrigerator; and (iv) wrap the water heaters with insulation. We don’t intend to wrap the water heaters because they are insulated and not warm to the touch… so we don’t think we are losing much heat. Also, we think the assessment was too formulaic in one respect: Xcel Energy universally labels fixes to the building envelope as low return on investment. We disagree when the fixes occur in the context of a remodel and in the lodging business one remodels regularly. Hence, we would like reserve some energy conservation funds for building envelope fixes.
  • We replaced the kitchen floor with linoleum in March 2010. Our previous floor was worn vinyl, short for polyvinyl chloride. The production of polyvinyl chloride causes more environmental damage than any other plastic. (We intend to retain a soft floor in the kitchen to lessen the stress of employees standing on hard surfaces for extended periods.) In contrast, linoleum is made of natural materials (the primary constituent is linseed oil from the flax plant).  Linoleum is also durable – lasting four or five decades. The installed cost was $2,500.