Eco-friendly cottage

Before we converted our barn we knew we wanted it to be an eco-friendly cottage. Our aim was to make Isaac’s Byre one of the most eco-friendly cottages in Cumbria . Our gold award with the Green Tourism Business Scheme is something of which we are very proud. Being an eco friendly cottage is very important to us.
Green Tourism Gold
We changed some of our initial plans when converting the byre to make a cottage. And continue to make sustainable changes on a daily basis. To start with we made big changes to make heating and power  more eco friendly. Since then have worked at making smaller changes. We have focused on providing low-carbon and efficient energy. And source products from local businesses. We continue to strive to make Isaac’s Byre an eco-friendly cottage.  And are learning new ways to achieve this as we go along.

Energy and heating

The energy for the heating and hot water is sourced through a Ground Source Heat Pump. Heat is pumped from the ground and into the heat pump. Here it receives a small electricity boost and runs both the central heating and the hot water. Because the cottage has high levels of insulation, it is lovely and warm in Winter. The deep walls help to keep it cool in Summer. Our electricity is supplied by Octopus Energy This provides 100% renewable energy so is very eco-friendly and a sustainable way to heat a house.
We have tried to minimise energy use as much as possible. There are low-energy light bulbs in both the standard and halogen fittings. We have now made the change to LED bubs in most of the light fittings as these use a lot less energy than standard low energy bulbs. The television and other electrical appliances are all low energy models.
None of this comes at the expense of comfort. We have a wood burning stove and supply locally-sourced logs to make the cottage even more cosy.
There are two 3.5Kw charging point for Electric Vehicles. This means we can accommodate two electric vehicles at a time at the cottage. They are best used for overnight charging.

Water and cleaning

We supply you with eco and environment friendly cleaning products that we buy in the local area. Our laundry is always washed with an eco-friendly laundry powder. We use either Bio D, or Violets. Violets made in Hexham (so very local). We use white towels in the cottage. You will agree that using eco friendly doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality of laundry products. We love the smell of Violet’s products too.
The products we use to clean our cottage are all eco-friendly. The same cleaning products are available for you to use during your stay.
We encourage all our guests to be careful with water. We have eco showers which are water saving. The toilets have a water saving setting. The dishwasher and washing machines both have water saving settings.
It shows that it is possible to stay in an eco-friendly cottage with all mod cons. You don’t have to do without luxuries of home to be environmentally friendly.

Locally sourced materials

It is important to us to shop local . We can cut damage to the environment by buying from local shops. This also supports the economy of an area. We bought most fixtures and fittings for the cottage from within 30 miles. This has covered everything from mattresses to chairs. These are as good, if not better, than those you would find from every-day large stores. This is very important in making this an eco-friendly cottage.

Toilet twinning

We have twinned one of the cottage toilets with a latrine overseas. This helps those in desperate poverty to have access to a proper latrine and clean water. They are also provided with the information they need to be healthy.
You can twin your toilet. Donate £60 to twin your toilet. And you, and your smallest room, becomes the proud owner of a certificate. This comes complete with a colour photo of its twin and GPS coordinates so you can look up your twin on Google Maps.

Reusing and recycling

To keep items out of landfill we have bought pre-owned furniture where practical. For example: the oak wardrobe and chest of drawers in the master bedroom. When we couldn’t find suitable used furniture we checked that the wood was from FSC. FSC are sustainably managed forests. All of our guests are encouraged to recycle rubbish to keep items out of landfill. All metal, glass, paper, plastic containers and card can go in the labelled bins. More importantly, we hope that our customers will take some of these ideas and follow them when they are at home. 

Paper products

It is very important to us that we use recycled paper for our printer and leaflets. It is more expensive than new paper products but the earth is very important to us.
 We now buy all of our toilet rolls from Cheeky Panda. All of their paper products are made from FSC certified 100% virgin bamboo. They are a young and innovative company. The bamboo paper products that we currently buy from them are all shipped plastic free. Cheeky Panda donate a part of partner for every pack sold to The World Land Trust therefore looking after the environment further. We recommend you check out their website. Cheeky Panda paper products.
In the past we have also  bought loo paper from Who Gives a Crap. This paper is 100% recycled and avoids the use of chemicals and dyes. Added to that they also give 50% of their profits to help build toilets.
So by staying here you are helping to build toilets all over the world.




We try to buy as little as possible in plastic. This means that we now by a lot of products in glass. We have recycling bins for glass and ask that you dispose of none returnable glass here.  We also have spare glass jars with screw tops in the corner cupboard. In our own home we use these for storing foods in the fridge and freezing home cooked foods and leftovers. They are great for all types of food. The most important thing is to remember to leave plenty of space in the top to allow food to expand in the freezer.


You can read about all of our values in more detail, in our Environment Policy.


We would love people to be as eco-friendly as possible by leaving the car at the cottage as much as possible. Here are some ideas of things to do locally. Some involve driving short distances but you could also walk or cycle. Cycles are available for hire in Nenthead.

Days out from Isaacs Byre 1

Download Days out from Isaac’s Byre part 1

Days out from Isaacs Byre 2

Download Days out from Isaac’s Byre part 2

We have written more articles about how we are making changes. We want to live in a more sustainable way and reduce our impact on the earth’s resources. There are lots of ideas that you may wish to copy. You can read more here.