When we travel, we oftentimes look to retreat to a place of simplicity, beauty, and romance. Auld Sweet Olive Bed & Breakfast offers just that. Located in a beautifully updated 19th century building in the Bywater, Auld Sweet Olive creates a beautiful oasis for its guests. The B&B boasts lush gardens, a lovely front porch, and bedrooms all named after different kinds of trees.
Owner Nancy Gunn has worked to create a sense of environmental consciousness in her divine space. We interviewed Nancy and learned more about her path to building a sustainable business.
1. What are some of your proudest moments as the owner of Auld Sweet Olive?
One of my proudest moments at Auld Sweet Olive Bed & Breakfast was my very first – when the keys were put into my hands. I couldn’t believe I was the owner of this beautiful, grand old home. Some days I still can’t believe it! I also love those moments when I have a breakfast table full of guests, all laughing and talking about their adventures from the previous night.
2. How does Auld Sweet Olive go about improving your social and environmental impacts?
One of our major initiatives this year was replacing our dark shingle roof with a standing-seam metal roof, painted white for maximum energy-efficiency. A 1,000-square-foot white roof will offset 10 tons of carbon dioxide over the course of 20 years. Under our new roof, we use plant-derived cleaning products with minimal packaging. We stock our guest bathrooms with Giovanni’s “eco chic” shampoo and conditioner, made with organic peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus (it smells fantastic!) Our signature soaps come from just up the road, made exclusively for us by a local artisan. And we email receipts, though we are happy to provide paper copies if requested.
3. What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as an business owner?
Our coffee (a key ingredient in the B&B business!) comes from Who Dat Coffee Café, just two blocks from us. They supply us with fair trade, organic, locally roasted coffee that is just plain delicious. Once a week I stroll over and they fill up my coffee caddy with beans (no packaging waste!) and I carry it home. It’s about as low a carbon footprint as you can imagine. We also love shopping for breakfast ingredients at the New Orleans Food Co-Op, another LifeCity member. They have fantastic local and organic fruit, nuts, and spices, and it doesn’t hurt that they are located right across the street from us.
4. If you had a magic wand to change one thing that would make it easier for your organization to go green, what would that thing be?
I would probably wave my wand and create solar panels that magically blend into our 19th century architecture!
5. What advice would you give to other organizations or businesses who are trying toimprove their internal practices to benefit their city and state?
A little education goes a long way. I had the basics down – recycling, a linen re-use program –but there are so many easy and inexpensive ways to make a difference. One of the easiest was wrapping our hot water heaters in thermal insulation blankets. It took just 10 minutes and they cost about $30 each, but they are going to save a lot of energy and money over time. LifeCity provided me with a lot of great education that I use every day.