Environmental Practices

environmental practicesSustainable building techniques and environmentally respectful practices were the driving premises that guided the design of Wintergreen and that continue to guide our daily operations.

Our lodge is built from locally grown straw, and was built with the help of Camel’s Back Construction along with Anglin Group Ltd. One wing is sheltered with an earth-covered living roof. Recycled barn beams are featured in the design.

The cabins were built with hand tools, incorporating many recycled and reclaimed materials. Recycled materials include hardware, windows, and glass bottles. Reclaimed materials, such as 19th century architectural salvage—slate, beams, posts, doors, windows—are used throughout the cabins. Natural materials found on the Wintergreen site, such as stone, wood, and earth are also used.

environmental practicesAll of the buildings are off-grid. The lodge is powered by solar, propane, and wood energy. The solar system was designed by Quantum Renewable Energy. The cabins are primarily powered by wood and propane.

The Ecoflo system is used for sewage treatment and management at the lodge. There are outhouses in various locations—one of the most environmentally friendly ways of dealing with human waste products.

Local foods are served to the extent possible, supporting the local economy and reducing fossil fuel consumption for delivery of food. We compost food scraps, both by digging them directly into our gardens, and by using the Green Cone for dairy and bones that would attract unwanted wildlife to our gardens. We recycle glass, plastic, tin, and paper. We use organic teas and organic fair-trade coffee, as well as organic oats, and organic produce whenever possible. Our employees are hired locally.

environmental practicesSome of our furnishings are hand-crafted with renewable materials, and most of the rest of our furniture and decor is purchased from IKEA, which works to ensure that their products are environmentally sustainable. The straw bale walls are painted with traditional milk paint and hemp oil is used on most wooden surfaces. Our linens are made of bamboo, and appliances are among the most energy efficient available. We use compact florescent light bulbs, and we have installed water saver faucets in key locations. Toilets are low-flow. We change linens at the end of each guest’s stay, or once a week for guests registered for longer periods.

We use post-consumer recycled office paper, 100% recycled toilet tissue, paper towel and tissue, and biodegradable soaps and eco-friendly cleaning products.

What you can do while at Wintergreen:

  • Compost food waste, napkins, tea herbs and bags.
  • Take short showers.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth (the average family of four uses 40 litres of water every day for tooth brushing)
  • Flush only toilet paper and human waste.
  • Use eco-friendly toiletry products.
  • Deposit recyclables in the bins provided.
  • Pack out from Wintergreen what you packed in, especially toxic disposable items such as batteries.
  • Put nothing in the lake other than your body and bathing gear.


Wintergreen Studios is a partner with Sustainable Kingston. To learn more about becoming involved with Sustainable Kingston, visit their website.


For an informative discussion of how human-made practices have stretched the limits of our planet’s resources, see Mike Nickerson’s website.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

- Aldo Leopold