• We offer an environmentally-friendly accommodation
A local variety of pampas grass is used for thatching the roofs of the huts. Sun-dried clay bricks (adobe bricks), kiln-fired bricks, and ochre of the nearby mountains are used for masonry wall construction and decoration.
• We use renewable energy
Even though we are still connected to the power grid, photovoltaic solar panels provide Apani Dhani with electricity. Guests can get light in their room 24-hour-a-day so are not confronted with the regular power cuts on the grid and air and noise pollution of generators. We use low-consumption bulbs.
We have many water heating solar panels — we have built ourselves the very first ones according to plans of the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur.
Apani Dhani is opened to locals wishing to visit and get information on renewable energy.
. We grow our own organic vegetable garden
Apani Dhani is surrounded by 3.3 acres of farming land where wheat, millet, lentils, several varieties of seasonal vegetables and oilseeds are grown. We also have some fruit trees, including pomegranate and guava trees. No chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used.
. We encourage travellers, whenever possible, to participate in non-polluting activities such as walking, cycling, camel cart excursions...
. We explain and propose carbon compensation to our guests in our « Advice to travellers.
. We raise guest and staff awareness about our environmental approach.
. For the benefit of the natural environment, travellers are guided towards a sustainable personal use of water and energy resources and a reduction of their waste products.
• Our communication material (brochures, business cards, stationery and postcards) is printed on hand-made recycled paper (from waste textile fibres) purchased from the Tara (Technology and Action for Rural Advancement) NGO. However, we try our level best to work through the Internet in order to avoid overuse of paper.
• We implement a waste minimization (regular monitoring) and recycling policy.
A filtered water dispenser (reverse osmosis system) is available in the dining room to reduce the use of plastic bottles and CO2 emissions from transportation.
We try to limit the amount of non-biodegradable waste and most of it is recycled. Guests are requested to use the two wastebaskets available in each room: one for everything that can be composted (paper, fruit peels...), the other one for non-biodegradable products. Meals are served in beautiful disposable plates made of leaves from Saal (Shorea robusta) tree, which are composted with the leftovers. Their use provide also work to the tribal people making them.
• We pay special attention to water management:
- An underground rainwater tank to collect and store rainwater running off from roofs and paved courtyard (600 m2) for irrigation use.
- The use of disposable plates reduces water consumption as well as dishwashing detergent.
- During a stay, unless specifically requested, bed sheets and towels are changed only once every three days.
- Each bathroom is equipped with a shower. However, buckets and mugs are also provided to encourage our guests to bath the traditional Indian way, which requires less water (two to three times).
Hence they help preserving a scarce natural resource in Shekhawati where the annual rainfall is 250 to 400 mm, against 600 and 1100 mm in Rajasthan and India respectively. Furthermore, the regional water tables are falling by around 1 metre per year.
Locals use some 15 litres of water per person per bath, when a shower with running water requires 30 to 40.
1. They first wet themselves, taking water from the bucket with the mug.
2. Then, they apply soap to their bodies.
3. Finally, they rinse themselves again using the mug.
In all cases, the water in the bucket remains clean and if any is left, it can be used for other purposes.
Our economic and social approach
• We employ exclusively local staff, including, whenever is possible, women and persons from minorities.
• We give priority to permanent employment.
• We guarantee fair wages and working conditions, and respect the Ministry of Labour and Employment regulations.
• We provide training to employees, whenever possible.
• We establish long lasting working relationships with local small-scale structures and families with little or no involvement in tourism.
• We give priority to local purchasing.
• We offer activities and excursions led by locals, thus providing them with fair complementary revenues.
• We encourage our guests to buy handicrafts directly from local artisans.
• We invest 5% of Apani Dhani room rates to support regional projects related to education, environment and local heritage conservation.
• We encourage our guests to support these projects by providing them with a detailed documentation on these organisations and our contribution, transparency being one of our core values. When the interest is sincere, we organize a visit to the projects.