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The Brickyard Inn & Retreat Center at Mutianyu Great Wall  Hot
Hotels 5 Green Stars
  
Information
Eco Stars: 4 star
Stars: unrated
Location: Asia
Country: China

The Brickyard Inn & Retreat Center at Mutianyu Great Wall

The Brickyard Inn is a lush, private eco- retreat at the Great Wall. When the site was first discovered thick black coal smoke poured from the chimneys, rubble and trash littered the ground. And yet the tiles were magnificent. They inspired the owners through the years it took to transform the Brickyard into a luxurious getaway.

The Brickyard is a private retreat with modern amenities, including Wi-Fi. But once guests step outside the gates they are immersed in a living village community and can hike through orchards and pine forests to the Wild Wall. They offer guests a hearty country breakfast. They also have a bar service offering snacks, soups, salads, sandwiches, drinks, etc. Groups can arrange for catered meals and all guests can eat at one of the local restaurants.

Their main social missions are to provide employment and training to people in our local community, support other local businesses, promote handicrafts, and procure food locally or grow it themselves. They prefer to hire residents from their own and nearby villages. They obtain all of their outdoor cleaning, gardening, and farming from a local company they helped a neighbor establish.

At the Brickyard, they are interested in development that preserves the sense of vernacular community and its history. They believe that small-scale development provides better opportunities for their rural neighbors than large-scale projects, which tend to displace people and make them strangers in the land of their own heritage.


Green Star Rating Results:
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Overall Rating: ★★★★ (4)

Energy Rating: ★★★★ (4)
Staff Comment - The Brickyard Inn was a smoke-belching tile kiln transformed into a lush eco-retreat at the foot of the Great Wall. A huge opportunity for reducing energy was realized by making use of our existing building stock. In renovating the Brickyard, we preserved all the kiln’s original structures and re-used salvaged materials to minimize our footprint. Original tile work was incorporated into our custom murals, our native slate flooring and our distinctive temple roofs. At the Brickyard we installed thermal-paned windows and exterior doors, as well insulated floors and roofs. We make use of energy-saving LED lighting throughout the Inn and employ passive solar heating; each of our rooms has roof windows and window walls. This not only provides remarkable views but also reduces the need for lighting by gathering natural light. We greatly reduce energy consumption by making seasonal adjustments. During the warmer months, all rooms and meeting areas employ natural ventilation to minimize the need for air conditioners. During the colder months, power consumption is curtailed by adjusting heat settings. When rooms and meeting areas are unoccupied the master circuit breaker is turned off to halt needless energy consumption. During winter we only use what heat is sufficient to prevent the pipes from freezing. Closing pipes are emptied so that there is no energy use. Staff and guests are all reminded to conserve energy. We have an energy constitution, and we provide an info sheet in every room - both in English and Chinese – which encourages guests to turn off lights and the air-conditioner when not needed, and especially when leaving the house. Our energy usage is monitored on a monthly basis by management and we strive to reduce our energy use. We serve local products to a great extent, and we serve our own home-grown produce in increasing quantities. In the future our goal is to serve only local or home-grown products. To that end we have our own garden and we constantly try to find reliable local suppliers. This significantly reduces package waste and transportation and thus energy consumption. We strive to detach ourselves from the industrial food chain - no meat, fish (aside from tuna), vegetables, or fruits are imported, although we do import certain specialty products: chocolate, cheese, foie-gras, coffee, etc.

Water Rating: ★★★ (3)
Staff Comment - We avoid chemical cleaning products as an operational principle. We change linens weekly, not daily, unless guests request otherwise. Staff are trained not to change clean and unused linens. All of our toilets are water-saving dual flush systems. Likewise all of our rooms have rainforest showers but we did not install bathtubs in order to conserve water. Our info sheet encourages guests to minimize water usage. We have installed a dispersed on-demand hot water system throughout the Brickyard that heats water efficiently. Finally, our water usage is monitored on a monthly basis by the management and we strive to make gradual improvements.

Disposal Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Staff Comment - Our operating procedures call for the use of biodegradable or recyclable items. Plastic and paper garbage is all recycled. Bulk oils are recycled. Proceeds from recycling sales are used for staff benefits. Moreover, all of our solid toilet waste is collected in septic tanks and recycled. We intentionally do not offer any pre-packaged amenities in the rooms. Soaps and shampoos are provided from refillable dispensers. We do not offer toothbrushes, toothpaste, slippers, razors or other disposable items at the Brickyard (these can be provided upon request, however). In the Brickyard offices we reuse paper whenever possible. We do not offer plastic plates, knifes or forks in the restaurants, unless separately asked. We have plastic take-away boxes, but we do not offer “doggy-bags” unless requested. Our chopsticks are not disposable or served in paper covers as is the case in most Chinese restaurants. We have instituted a composting program at our locations. Organic kitchen waste (non-meat and non-diary) is composted by our farm provider. We have built a three-section compost pile out of brick next to our garden. Finished compost product is used as a natural fertilizer in our garden. All the paints used in the Brickyard are lead free.

Eco-Active Rating: ★★★★ (4)
Staff Comment - We have implemented a regular program to train and re-train staff on how to consistently operate while respecting basic environmental principles - including re-use, recycling, composting, and conservation. Used sheets and towels are first used for cleaning at the Brickyard and then passed on to a local recycler. We have created five curricula for children to teach them the importance of eco-friendliness, sustainability and composting. These curricula will be given to schools in the area, and we invite school classes to visit and learn our curricula. We also teach these principles to our staff. We have published and sell to our guests three local books. The intent is to make guests aware of the local environment, nature, culture, history, people and traditions, and ultimately act in a sustainable manner. We have a Brickyard Inn sustainability leaflet describing the sustainable aspects of the building and the facilities. Every year our Staff takes part in a “community service day” where we help clean the village. We also have weekly sustainability meetings where management tracks and discusses our sustainability initiatives, including our composting and sustainable foods program. All the food in our restaurants is homemade from scratch and mostly from local ingredients. We don't use any artificial additives. When it comes to fish, we serve only trout (from the local area) and tuna which are both not under threat according to the International Marine Conservation Society. Our menu also includes many non-animal protein choices. Finally, we have started a project to move to Fair Trade certified chocolate, coffee and tea products.

Protection Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Staff Comment - We operate a public service website (www.mutianyugreatwall.net
) to educate all guests and visitors about the Great Wall. We have privately published two books, Mutianyu: Off the (Great) Wall and A Walking Guide to Mutianyu Great Wall Area. These are shared with guests and profile the area and its people. Another book, Biking Bohai, is soon to be published. We maintain a display board near check-in that showcases local activities. Each room contains a booklet that covers the history of the Brickyard Inn and also provides background and information about the Great Wall, our community, and healthy recreational activities. Our main social missions are to provide employment and training to people in our local community, support other local businesses, promote handicrafts, and procure food locally or grow it ourselves. We prefer to hire residents from our own and nearby villages. We obtain all of our outdoor cleaning, gardening, and farming from a local company we helped a neighbor establish. We procure food and supplies from our district to the maximum extent possible. Garden plantings are limited to native flora long cultivated by our neighbors. Nearly all the village houses have vegetable gardens which we use to supply our restaurants. Most of the houses have fruit trees and we harvest and use the fruits. Our village is situated within the boundaries of the Mutianyu Great Wall Tourism Zone. We work closely with the park officials to ensure that we, our employees, and our guests observe park rules respecting protection of the Great Wall and the natural environment in our area. With the Brickyard we leased the original kiln from local government at market rates. No one has been displaced from a local home by our activities. Instead the market value of properties in the area has increased substantially and helped provide locals with capital to care for elderly family members, educate children, and start businesses. When we transform existing buildings we take care to involve neighbors and local government in our plans. As few trees as possible were (and are) removed during construction; we try to preserve as much nature as possible. We are interested in development that preserves the sense of the vernacular community and its history. We believe that small-scale development provides better opportunities for our rural neighbors than large-scale projects, which tend to displace people and make them strangers in the land of their own heritage.

Contact Details

Name:
The Brickyard Inn & Retreat Center at Mutianyu Great Wall
Address:
Yingbeigou Village,
Huairou District,
Beijing 101405
China
Telephone:
+86 10 6162 6506
Website:
www.brickyardatmutianyu.com
E-mail:
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