Casa Agrícola da Levada is family owned and managed, and we strive to make the Estate as ecological and self-sustainable as possible.
As an eco-friendly tourism unit committed to minimising the wastage traditionally produced by the hotel industry, we feel it is our duty to raise awareness of the small steps human beings can take to diminish our carbon footprint on a daily basis, even on holiday.
Motivated by the Green Key label, we are continuously working to improve and broaden our environmental policy.
Waste reduction and management has been a top priority for us. We implemented a few very simple measures to cut down refuse by one third:
- Providing locally handmade soap in dispensers instead of individually wrapped soap bars;
- Installing recycling (plastic, paper, glass, bulbs, batteries) and composting areas and encouraging guests to use them;
- Rewarding guests with fresh eggs if they donate leftover vegetarian food to feed our chickens;
- Replacing minibars in the rooms and greatly reducing packaging by opening an Honesty Shop, stocked with a carefully chosen selection of local wines and foods, as well as many of the basic items you may need during your stay.
Plans for 2018-19: a new art studio will allow us to further reduce refuse as we will be collecting a range of materials for our arts and crafts workshops.
Water & Energy
Part of the electricity used at Levada is produced from photovoltaic solar panels, which allow us to generate most electricity consumed during the summer – we have already managed to obtain 10 full hours of clean energy in a day!
All firewood used at Levada comes from our own sustainably managed forest.
Our natural springs currently supply all the water for the gardens and pool, and water is channelled into the river. We also collect rainwater.
We carry out inspections and monitor water consumption on a weekly basis, repairing leaks as soon as we detect them.
Plans for 2018-19:
- Installing a new environmentally friendly water treatment station to enable us to reuse waste water for the garden;
- Fitting water-saving nozzles on all taps.
A great deal of our time and energy is devoted to tending Levada’s 6,7 hectares (16,5 acres) of gardens, orchards, vineyards and woods.
We use our own compost and locally sourced goat & rabbit manure. We do not use fertilizers, herbicides or conventional insecticides. As a result, Levada is home to a rare breed of firefly as well as red squirrels (previously extinct in Portugal), turtledoves, wild boar and otters.
We also produce over 30% of what is consumed at Levada at breakfast.
Plans for 2018-19: to produce enough organic fruit & vegetables for all our guests.
Our commitment to environmental tourism means encouraging guests to make the most of Levada’s peaceful environment, as well as to explore our beautiful countryside.
We offer guests several custom-designed maps with local activities (walks on the grounds as well as Vila Real, Mateus and the botanical garden, the Douro and the Alvão Nature Reserve), with public transport details when possible, and are happy to provide mountain bikes.
Plans for 2018-19:
- Opening an art studio for arts and crafts with recyclable materials;
- Buying more mountain bikes for guest use;
- Opening 2 additional walking trails on the grounds (1.3 km and 1.5 km);
- Increasing signage on the grounds, identifying plants and fauna and describing buildings and their history;
- Drawing maps for local bike trails and other activities accessible by public transport and/or bicycle;
- Creating a “Passport” game for children, giving them a stamp for each completed activity.
Housekeeping & Maintenance
Bath towels and bed linens are changed every 4 days, and our laundry is air-dried.
All cleaning products used at Levada are eco-friendly and our lamps are fitted with LED bulbs.
We are also committed to replacing existing appliances with the most energy-saving models available.
Plans for 2018-19:
- Purchasing an electric buggy for staff errands;
- Rebuilding retaining walls in the gardens;
- Replacing existing doors and windows with more energy-efficient ones.