Everything Turns to Gold at Formartine’s

Less than three months after opening, the North-east’s newest visitor attraction with eatery, food hall, woodland walks and adventure play area has been awarded the Gold Green Tourism Award.

Formartine’s near Tarves, has taken extra steps to create a state-of-the-art eco-friendly building, relying on 100 per cent renewable energy and creating its own hot water and heat.

The joint business venture between John Cooper, who runs The Smokehouse in Methlick and Lord and Lady Aberdeen, proprietors of Haddo Estate, features an eatery and fine food hall, as well as a children’s outdoor adventure area, smokehouse demonstrations and an expanse of woodland walks around its majestic location on the edge of Haddo Estate.

The state-of-the-art heat recovery system captures the wasted heat from refrigeration plant and recycles it to provide heating and hot water for the 3300 square foot building. Along with a range of other environmentally considerate technology and practices from lighting to waste processing.

The exterior of the building is made from Scottish larch, all of which was grown within approximately 100 miles of the property. It also comprises exterior stonework gathered from the site and Haddo Estate. All energy used inside the building is generated by local renewables and the kitchen uses no gas. The only fossil fuels burned are the old whisky casks in the smoker.

Owner, John Cooper, said: “From the initial concept of this project we had a clear objective to create one of the most environmentally responsible builds possible. We have prioritised building an ethical, sustainable and financially focused operation, which turns out to be an extremely rewarding way to do business.

“Traditional businesses such as ours throw all this heat away, and from the start it was clear to me we had to find a way to keep it – against all the early advice and after lots of searching and sketching, we have integrated a truly exceptional heat recovery solution. Out hot water is free and our equipment is more economical to run. It is a true example of environmental sustainability benefits that have nothing to do with subsidies and tariffs – it’s good business just for the sake of it.”

Scottish Enterprise sustainability specialist Ian Carstairs has praised the business for their dedication to being green.

“Formartine’s is an impressive example of an environmentally responsible business. It’s use of sustainable construction techniques and materials, integration of energy efficiency measures, dedication to using local produce and the interaction visitors can have with the local environment all showcase the company’s environmental credentials,” he said.

Formartine’s has also taken steps to offset its carbon footprint. During the site build around 100 trees had to be felled to clear space for the project, however 450 trees have since been planted with plans for lots more.

With support from Scottish Enterprise, a study is being carried out to determine if Formartine’s has attained a Carbon Neutral Status on day on.

The Green Tourism Business Scheme has been running since 1997 and in Scotland was developed in partnership with VisitScotland offering guidelines to tourism businesses on how to make their operations more sustainable while still delivering a high quality service.

Each business is independently scored on up to 60 measures of sustainability including energy, waste, innovation, natural and cultural heritage.