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The California drought is entering its 4th year and it is not looking good. If you didn’t change your shower heads last year then it is time to do it now. You should be using a 1.75, 1.5 GPM or less and limiting your shower time to 8-10 min. If you can do it in less time then you will save even more water!

So what about your landscaping? There are many ways to do this. When you turn on your shower first thing you get is cold water. Put a bucket in your shower and catch all of this cold water and then you can use this for watering plants.

You can also look at a reclaimed water system for your used laundry water. This water does not need to be treated before you can water your plants with it. You will also want to check what kind of laundry soap you are using so it will be ok for your plants. (Sulfate Free soap).

Learn about Gray water systems at greywateraction.org and at oasisdesign.net

Read more current news about the California drought in this article from NBC News.

Green tips from Inn Marin in Novato

Robert Marshall, the Green Guru of Inn Marin


Make your reservations now for a special Wine Pairing Dinner Menu featuring wines from Honig Vineyard and Winery.

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Our Executive Chef Kenneth Drew has planned a special menu to pair with this family owned, sustainably farmed, solar powered, award winning winery from Napa Valley.

You’ll receive a glass of Honig 2013 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc as you arrive, and dinner will be served with Brick Maiden Local Epi Baguettes.


Bouquet of Baby Lettuces Point Reyes Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Roast Beets & Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Honig 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Pappardelle with Lamb Sausage Tossed with Lamb Bolognese, Parmesan Cheese & a Garlic Parmesan Crostini
Honig 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Wild Local Mushroom Stuffed Quail Served with Creamy Polenta & Sun Dried Cherry Quail Jus Lie
Honig 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bartolucci Vineyard

Apple & Date Crisp French Vanilla Gelato, Caramel Sauce & Mint Sprig
Honig Late Harvest 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

$89 per person includes dinner, wine pairings, sales tax and gratuity.

There will be an opportunity to purchase Honig Wines at near wholesale prices!

Reservations Required 415-883-9477

Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 6:30pm

In spring of 2012, the Big Blend Media team of Nancy Reid and Lisa Smith embarked on their Big Blend Spirit of America Tour, beginning their visits to all 401 National Parks and their Gateway Communities. Traveling full-time until Aug. 25, 2017, the tour is their effort to promote the full funding and protection of America’s 401 National Park units, and showcase them as economically important recreational, educational, natural, and heritage destinations.

As part of their tour they visited, Muir Woods, Pt. Reyes, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, all located in Marin County, and they stayed at the Inn Marin! They were so excited about how environmentally friendly the Inn Marin is that they created this video featuring our Green Guru, Robert Marshall.



Last month I talked about conserving water with your irrigation system using ET Water Hermit crab controllers, and this month I’ve been thinking about how else you can save water. I looked into reclaimed water systems you can build to use water a second time- to water your garden or flush your toilets!

I found two great YouTube videos to get you started on your reclaimed water system. The first one will show you how you can build a system for capturing shower or sink water and using it to flush toilets.

The second video shows how to build your own rain capture system from your down spouts on the outside of your house. You can build your rain water system as large as you want just by attaching more barrels.

Good luck and save water!

Green tips from Inn Marin in Novato

Robert Marshall, the Green Guru of Inn Marin

green hotel lodging in marinThe State of California Green Lodging program was created under Governor Schwarzenegger to encourage state and local government travelers to seek out and give preference to certified “green hotels”.  The state has made green hotels a priority because hotels generate tremendous amounts of waste. Encouraging hotels to switch to environmentally preferable products and practices creates tremendous savings of our precious resources which benefits all of the citizens of CA.

The California Green Lodging Program certifies lodging facilities that demonstrate water and energy conservation, waste minimization, recycling, environmentally friendly purchasing, program sustainability, and pollution prevention. The program is committed to demonstrating the highest standards of integrity and environmental ethics for the State of California. The process of becoming certified involves a rigorous inspection. Hotels are inspected for re-certification once every three years.

The Inn Marin has recently been re-certified at the highest level “Environmentalist”!!

Drought! It sure feels like it. We are well into our second week of January and it has not rained since early October or November. It’s been so long I can’t remember. These warm days in the 60’s are great but they are drying up gardens and watering is neccesary. My suggestion is to hand water your plants and nothing else. You may have winterized your irrigation system and may not want to open that up, and hand watering will fix this solution. If you do open your system, make sure not to water late at night because the early morning freeze might damage your irrigation system.

It’s time to look at state of the art conservation systems like ET Water, a company who has combined technology with irrigation to create the perfect system to manage your water usage and have the best landscaping. We saved 207,837 gallons over a 63 day period, from 9/16/13 to 11/18/13.  It’s is time for you to do the same!

Freeze the age old question “do you water when it freezes?” YES, you do! It is better for the plants to have a higher water content- it will actually prevent them from freezing. Cover your citrus to protect it from the morning frost but do remove the cover during the day. If not removed, the cover could damage the plant if you’re using plastic. The plastic magnifies the sun, taking the plant from one extreme to the next.

Read more about the California drought in the Sacramento Bee and on NBC News.

Robert Marshall, Green Guru of Inn Marin

Robert Marshall, Green Guru of Inn Marin


At the Inn Marin we have recently learned about a non-profit organization in Marin County called ExtraFood.org. The mission of ExtraFood.org is to help end hunger in Marin County. To quote from their website; “How often have you seen good, prepared food go to waste — at your company, at a favorite restaurant or grocery store, at social events? 64 million pounds of food waste fills Marin County’s landfills each year. And yet more than 28,000 residents of Marin don’t have a secure food supply.”

ExtraFood.org helps end the hunger and keeps some of this food out of the landfill by picking up donations of prepared food from local organizations and delivering the food immediately to non-profit programs in Marin that feed the hungry.

Organizations that donate extra food — such as caterers, grocery stores, schools, congregations, and restaurants — reduce waste, receive a tax deduction and are protected from liability by federal and state laws. Community food-service programs receive high-quality food donations matched with their programs’ needs. And, their volunteers make a difference in our community through in-person connections with community members. It’s a collaborative team of dedicated people connected across many organizations in our community. It’s food recovery with “the human touch.”

To learn more about ExtraFood.com, the Good Samaritan Laws that protect donors, and how your organization can donate extra prepared food or funds, or how you can volunteer please visit their website, extrafood.org
They can also be reached via e-mail at extrafood.org@gmail.com or by phone 415.482.9579.

As your GREEN GURU in Marin, I have listed some green alternatives for the holiday season.

holiday tips from the green guru of Inn Marin NovatoWith Christmas just weeks away, it’s time to think about replacing those old Christmas lights with the new LED lights. It pays to switch to LED!

I’ve created a small list of green Ideas for the holiday season and some links to Christmas tree farms in the Bay Area where you can cut fresh trees. You might think this is not sustainable, but local Christmas tree farms plant new trees every year to replace the tree you have cut down. This is much better than buying pre-cut trees that have traveled 400 miles via truck, burning fossil fuels.

Enjoy the holidays and the ideas!

  • Buy handmade and locally made items with less packaging such as sweaters, stuffed toys, wooden toys, puzzles and furniture.
  • Consider gifts of time such as volunteering or gift certificates for favors. (Make your own gift certificates that give someone a free hour of babysitting, a free lawn mowing, house cleaning etc.)
  • Bake something for someone. Think of someone who might enjoy a batch of homemade cookies or a pie.
  • Frame a piece of art created by a child. Some relatives would love receiving something like this.
  • Create a homemade photo album full of favorite family photos.
  • Decorate, personalize, and paint an old box and use it for a jewelry box or knick-knacks. This is another fun craft children love to help create.
  • Decoupage someone’s favorite photo onto a container or box so that they will be able to see it every day.
  • Organize a carol singing party and sing along with friends and family. I take my Cub Scout Pack to an Affordable senior housing and we sing Christmas carols and give them handmade Christmas tree ornaments. It brings a wonderful smile to all their faces.

Cut your own tree Web sites:

Frosty Mountain tree Farm in Sebastopol.

Liberty Christmas Tree Farm in Petaluma.

Moon Mountain Christmas Tree Farm in Sonoma.

holiday tips from the green guru of inn marin novato

Robert Marshall, the Green Guru of Inn Marin

The Inn Marin in Novato is excited to announce that we have just replaced our old mattresses with pillow-top mattresses. Even more exciting is that we were able to recycle the old mattresses through a company called DR3 Recycling!

mattress recycling inn marin novatoDR3 is a subdivision of St Vincent de Paul’s of Lane County and is the world leader in mattress recycling. We were able to recycle 226 pieces of mattress and box springs! An average mattress takes up 26 cubic feet in a landfill, so we diverted approximately 5,876 cubic feet of waste from the landfill. About 85% of the content of mattresses can be recycled and DR3 has developed a system to breakdown the mattresses and box springs into the components which can then be sorted and separated for recycling. These components include cotton, steel, wood and foam.

In addition to diverting the waste, this program creates on-the-job training for entry level workers with barriers to employment. DR3 trains these workers in highly transferable skills such as driving a forklift, operating machinery and warehouse safety. DR3 employees 17 people in its Oakland plant and the profit from this operation helps fund programs that benefit more than 84,000 low-income, homeless and at-risk individuals who utilize services of St. Vincent De Paul.


ev rental car in the bay areaWalking through the parking lot at Inn Marin I noticed a Ford Fusion plugged into the EV car charging station we have here. So you say, “what is special about that?” Well, it was an Enterprise Rental car. Wow! I had no idea that you could rent a plug-in-car from a major car rental agency.

In searching the internet, I found there are a few places from which you can rent an EV vehicle: Orlando Fl, Northampton Ma and yes, California! To see all the places in San Francisco you can pick up your EV Rental car, check this article from Extreme Tech. This is really COOL!!

~Robert Marshall, Green Guru of Inn Marin

Robert Marshall, Green Guru of Inn Marin

Robert Marshall, Green Guru of Inn Marin


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