Glenuig Inn Ltd

VIBES Award: Micro Business Award



  • An excellent example of a business being turned around through the implementation of energy efficiency measures.
  • After a large renovation, including application of insulation to the building and installation of a solar panel array, wood-burning stoves and LED lighting, energy costs have been significantly reduced.
  • Carbon footprint was 18.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2010/11 compared with an estimated 109 tonnes if the business had not made the changes.
  • The improvements in the building and infrastructure have led to a decline of 83% in the operational carbon footprint, despite a significant increase in trade over the same period.

The Glenuig Inn is a rural inn in the Sound of Arisaig on the West Coast of Scotland. It has been renovated and transformed to become Scotland’s exemplar green inn. It was clear to the judges that the business is an excellent example of a failing business which has been turned around through the implementation of energy efficiency measures and is proof that a comprehensive approach to energy conservation, reduction and re-use is both achievable and sustainable.

Through effective monitoring and good use of energy reporting, Glenuig Inn has been able to show significant carbon reduction levels despite an increase in business. It was obvious to the VIBES panel that the holistic approach taken by the business has enabled it to make outstanding achievements in terms of energy reduction, energy costs per room and per guest, and carbon footprint reduction.

The renovation programme began in 2009 and included the following.

  • Wood fibre insulation was applied on the outside of the stone walls of the building, before applying a traditional lime render, allowing the stone to store thermal mass, helping to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the building. The owner has likened this to wrapping the entire building in a giant duvet to keep the heat in!
  • Installation of a large solar thermal panel array to generate the majority of hot water for the building.
  • Installation of wood-burning stoves to provide extra heat and hot water.
  • A system of extraction and ventilation fans to circulate excess heat from the kitchen to cooler areas of the inn.
  • Low energy, dimmable LED lighting.
  • Induction hobs used in the commercial kitchen with automatic power shut-off and reduced CO2 and water vapour, requiring reduced extraction.
  • Recycling of waste heat from fridges, freezers, beer cellar and kitchen equipment to heat the building overnight.
  • Only stocking local real ales. These do not require chilling and also require no CO2 to be pumped into them to give them fizz.

Implementing these measures has resulted in a number of environmental and economic benefits. Energy costs have reduced significantly and the carbon footprint was calculated by the Energy Saving Trust at just 18.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions for 2010/2011 compared with a predicted 109 tonnes if the changes hadn’t been made.

The success of the business has allowed employment of a larger team during the summer months, as well as the employment of local contractors and supply firms for the inn’s maintenance and upkeep. This focus on local business has made a positive impact on the local economy and was highly commended by the judges.

The renovation of Glenuig Inn fully demonstrates that energy efficiency makes good business sense, with the business experiencing a significant turnaround in energy costs, resulting in a negative energy cost in the near future.

With the future plans for the Inn including further measures to improve the energy efficiency in the building containing the main guest bedrooms, as well as encouraging guests to visit during the lower season months, through activities such as sailing and kayaking, it seems that the business will make even further improvements in the coming years and leave visitors feeling inspired.

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Our Sponsors & Partners

Anglian Water Business
Energy Saving Trust
Greenvale AP
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Edinburgh centre for carbon innovation
Pernod Ricard
Scottish Enterprise
Farne Salmon
Scottish Water
The Scottish Government
The University of Stirling, Management School
Zero Waste Scotland

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