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Skinos Ilivatos Eco Farm

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A solar and wind-powered eco farm and villa for rent, constructed under the principles of bioclimatic architecture and overlooking the blue Ionian Sea in Kefalonia island close to Lixouri. Experience organic farming, bee keeping, horseback riding, or gaze the stars using 2 robotic telescopes. Visit nearby villages, hike to pristine beaches, great mountains with fertile valleys, forests and olive groves. Rating Explained: The first 5 sections of this application each correspond to the 5 Criteria for Ecological & Socially Just Tourism

The maximum rating score we can award in each section is 5, and the minimum 1. When a criterion is fully met in our view we award 5 stars, when it is nearly met 4 stars, when it is partly met 3 stars, when it is not at all met but effort is being made to meet it 2 stars and when we feel that it is not at all met and no effort is being made to meet the specific criterion, 1 star. You may add a comment with improvement suggestions to the Lodge at the bottom of the page.

For detailed information on the free Rating System please see here.

Name of Property (Country): Skinos Ilivatos Eco Farm (Greece)


Satellite Map:


Property Map: Map
Lodge Address: Havriata, Lixouriou, Kefalonia, Greece

Number of Rooms:

5 (five)

Average Double Room Rates:

equivalent of Euros 172 (high season)

Name of Applicant (Title & Role):

Ms Katerina Kapatou (Owner, Manager, Farmer)

Official, Legal Proprietor(s):

as above
Operating Since: 20 August 2009

Rating Application Date:

27 September 2009
(NB: Received by 24 January 2010)

Rating Date:

20 March 2010
1. OWNERSHIP - 3 out of 5

(1.a) Who owns the Lodge? Please clarify if private, family, public, municipal, NGO, cooperative, as well as the nationality and place of birth of the owner.

Private, family run. Owner’s nationality : Greek, owner’s place of birth Athens, Greece.

1a: The front of the house with the sea water swimming pool.

(1.b) Who manages the Lodge (if different)?

Me & my husband.

(1.c) How many rooms are there?

At the lodge 5 bedrooms (one is a suite), a large living room & a spacious modern kitchen. At the storage building : half is arranged to store our beekeeping equipment & the other half houses batteries & convertors for our photovoltaic & wind generator system. At the agricultural storage building we house agricultural machinery. At the stables we have rooms for 3 appaloosa horses & 2 donkeys.

1c. Winter time view of Skinos Ilivatos main building

1c2: The first floor suite with the thermodynamic fire place & a 20 inch robotic Machsutof-Cassegrain telescope.

(1.d) How many beds are there?

10 beds.

(1.e) How many employees are there?

2 during our high season .

(1.f) How many employees are from the same village / city?


(1.g) If applicable, do employees or the community own any shares or share part of the revenue?


(1.h) What is the total area of the land?

72,000 square metres

(1.i) Who has access to the Lodge’s facilities and its land and for what uses?

Customers that may participate in farming procedures, bee keeping procedures, horseback riding. Children from the near village that come to get acquainted with the animals.

1k. Left: one of our three telescopes. Right: one of the tree thermodynamic fire places in the living room.

(1.j) What was the total turnover (total sales) of your last year of operation?

n/a (first opened August 2009).


2. ENVIRONMENT - 4 out of 5

(2.a) Lodge Sitting (how was location chosen):

Family owned property.

(2.b) Policy followed during construction:

All 4 buildings: lodge, storage building (beekeeping equipment & equipment for the photovoltaics & wind generator), agricultural equipment building & stable) are built following the principles of bio-climatic architecture.  All materials used from foundation to decoration are environment-friendly.

2b: 30 photovoltaic panels on 5 movable axis bases produce 7,5Kw. At the far back our beehives can be seen.

(2.c) Lighting:

All bulbs are low consumption economy bulbs & small solar lamps are used around the paths & gardens.

2c: Our 3 meter long wing wind generator produces 10 Kw. At the far back you can see the stables.

(2.d) Heating:

Mainly with 3 thermodynamic fire places. There’s a prerequisite from the Greek Ministry of Tourism for central heating which is run with natural gas.

(2.e) Cooling:

Low energy ceiling fans in all rooms. Due to its place by the sea & its bioclimatic contraction with external thermo insulating system, the all time sea breeze is enough to cool the accommodation.

(2.f) Cleaning:

Usage of environmental friendly products.

(2.g) Water Management:

Low pressure & double switches in toilet basins. Water from the toilet basins & showers is led to a septic swage, then led to a biologically cleaning swage & then led to a large underground tank from which we take the clean water to water plants & trees. Solid waste from the biological swage is mixed with horse manure & then used as fertilisation to the plants. The swimming pool uses sea water. Information is given to the guests regarding water economy.

2g: Information for our Guests relating to water saving and hard chemicals.

(2.h) Cooking:

Wood burning oven & gas oven. According to the seasons, vegetables come from our farm, olive oil from our olive trees & wine from our vineyard.

(2.i) Waste management:

Organic waste goes to our compost system. Non organic is gathered for recycling in the main city.

(2.j) Insect, pest control:

Mosquito nets in every window, salt & vinegar for ants in the house. Olive soap with red hot chilli peppers liquid mixture on our vegetables. According to the season & crops we plant ally plants to help our crops reduce insects. Citronella oil on the horses & donkeys & fly /wasp traps at the stables.

(2.k) Energy Sources, Use & Saving Measures:

100% autonomous with 7,5 kw from photovoltaic panels & 10 kw from a wind generator. All appliances in the house are A & A+ graded. Solar water heating on the roof. Gas for the central heating system of the house & cooking.

2k: View from the suite’s balcony. Photovoltaics are near to the storage building & wind generator at the far right.

(2.l) Noise Protection:

External thermo insulating system also offers noise protection to the customers inside the house. Customers are kindly asked not to play loud music or TV. Noise isn’t an issue here since we are so far from other human activities.

(2.m) Accessible by public transport? If yes, please provide instructions from nearby city.

If yes, please provide instructions from nearby city. N/A. Nearest public transportation 4km.

(2.n) What is the recommended way of reaching your Lodge from the nearest International airport?

We pick up our customers with our van from the airport which is 30 km away. Otherwise they can hire a car or taxi.

(2.o) Distance from nearby village / city:

4 km

(2.p) Architectural Features:

Bioclimatic architecture with external thermo insulating system following the local architectural features of the Ionian Islands.  Large windows at the southern exposure of the house, 360 degrees of balconies & view.

(2.q) Construction Materials:

Obliged by the Greek law (due to seismic region) & local architectural features to use concrete, steel & stone. External thermo insulating system, stone tiles at floors, pebble plaster at the swimming pool, eco friendly paints & plasters in the house.

(2.r) Landscape Management:

The farm is being cultivated with vegetables, wheat & oat, vineyard. 80% of the land is cultivated. The rest is left to go wild since we are trying to maintain the local flora for our bees.

2r: Small solar lights at the paths & flower gardens.


3. ECONOMIC - 3.5 out of 5

(3.a) Initiation or participation in local projects:

Yes. We are volunteers in the fire department of Lixouri & also in the local group of tree planting & beach cleaning. Both my husband & I are blood donors for the elderly’s home shelter at Lixouri town.

(3.b) Contact, cooperation with local organisations:

Yes. Since the farm was funded by the European Union we are in direct cooperation with the Prefecture of Kefalonia & the Peripheral Department of Western Greece.

(3.c) Direct Donations:

Yes, to the Abandoned Animals Shelter at Lixouri town & third world charities.

(3.d) Who took the initiative to build this Lodge?


(3.e) Did the local community participate in the decision-making process concerning the founding and creation of this Lodge?


(3.f) How are profits distributed, and who decides about it?

Profits (negligible so far) are distributed in the farm for the time being. Me & my husband.

(3.g) Are there any national and local taxes to be paid or are you exempt?

Yes there are. Both local & national.

(3.h) What percentage of consumables are locally sourced, how many are nationally sourced, and how many are imported?

Locally sourced ~70 %, nationally sourced ~ 30%.

(3.i) Do you cultivate food for the guests?

Yes. According to season, all kinds of vegetables, vine, honey, marmalades & local sweets.

(3.j) Do you have any agreements with local producers?

Since I am a vegetarian no animal abuse or slaughter is permitted in the farm. We have agreements with local shepherds to provide our customers with fresh meat & cheese if they wish to eat meat.

(3.k) Have ever you received any funding, state, national, private or international and for what purposes?

Yes.  The European Union with the Ministry of Agriculture of Greece have funded 60% of the costs of the buildings’ construction & our photovoltaics & wind generator under ‘Periphery of Ionian Islands, Article 4.5, promotion of Agritourism in Greece’. Number of certificate & approval of funding: 14058/18-10-2006.

(3.l) What is the average double room rate (excluding breakfast) per room per night?

According to the Greek Ministry of Tourism & for this category of accommodation I am not allowed to have different bookings at the same period of time. My customers must be a family or a party of up to 10 persons. The total cost per day in high season is 860 euros for the whole accommodation & for all facilities of the farm.


4. SOCIAL - 3 out of 5

(4.a) Do your employees have health insurance?


(4.b) Do your employees have paid leave?


(4.c) Are your employees entitled to maternity leave?


(4.d) Do you pay your employees above the minimum wage? (Please state minimum wage, and provide salary details):

Minimum wage in Greece is around Euros 660 per month. We gave our 2 employees Euros 830 each.

(4.e) Average and maximum working day, and work hours per week:

Maximum working day: 7 hours, weekly 40 hours

(4.f) Do you employ your staff all year round?  (If not, please explain arrangement)

No. We are a small family business & when not in high season every job at the farm is done by me & my husband.

(4.g) Do you employ immigrants? Are they offered the same remuneration & benefits?

For the time being one of our employees is from the nearby village and one is from Pakistan. They are both offered the same remuneration & benefits.

(4.h) Do you employ trainees? Please explain what type of tasks they perform, how much they are paid, and how many hours do they work and how do you source them?

Not applicable so far.

(4.i) Do you use volunteers? Please explain what tasks they are given?

Yes. Woofers are welcome to stay at our farm & they mainly help us with the land or the horses.

4i: Woofer L.C. who helped us this summer with the horses

(4.j) Do you offer concessions to elderly visitors?

N/A. We offer 15% discount to disabled people.

(4.k) Is there disabled access at your Lodge?

Yes, in & around the lodge & the swimming pool. A bedroom with its bathroom is specially designed for this purpose.

4k: The bathroom of the room with facilities for the disabled.

4k2: Entrance of the sea water swimming pool with ramp for the disabled.

(4.l) What measures are in place to protect the local (or the indigenous) population from some adverse impacts of tourism?

This area of Kefalonia island has very little or none at all touristic growth. So our guests couldn’t possibly impact the local population. Nevertheless our guests are kindly asked not to litter wherever they visit.  

(4.m) Do you undertake any poverty reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to poverty reduction?

Greece belongs to the first world nations. At list poverty isn’t an issue at the island of Kefalonia. We try to donate to third world charities.

(4.n) Do you undertake any inequality reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to inequality reduction?

I try to employ women instead of men whenever I can or people with many children instead of less.

(4.o) Do you undertake any injustice reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to injustice reduction?

Since we are so far from Athens where all the major protests are taking place, there’s little to do. What we are doing from the farm is being active WWF & Green Peace volunteers & through internet protest for environmental issues or war issues around the world. Our ‘biggest weapon’ from where we are in the middle of nowhere is protesting & signing petitions electronically.

(4.p) What is the minimum, average and maximum age of your employees?

31 years old & 50 years old.

(4.q) How many employees do you have?



5. CULTURAL- 3.5 out of 5

(5.a) Is there a local community / e.g. a nearby village?


(5.b) Do guests interact with the local community and how?

Guests visit our neighbours shepherds to participate in the cheese making procedure. They are also advised to visit the local fiestas & shop from the village’s shops. They also pay visits to local restaurants, museums & cultural events.

(5.c) What type of information is available to guests at the property:

A big variety of books regarding local flora & fauna. Environmental information about energy saving & water saving. Also, about compost methods & recycling. Information is given about bio cultivating methods, other bio cultivating farms in the region & cultural events of the island. Wi-Fi satellite internet connection in the lodge provide any extra information needed for our guests.

(5.d) What type of activities are available to guests at the property:

Star gazing with 3 telescopes, paragliding, mountain biking, horseback riding, participation according to the season to agricultural procedures & beekeeping, bird watching, walking, painting.

(5.e) Local guided tours for guests:

Yes with small sailing boats. Information is given regarding the bicycling paths & walking paths. I take guests who wish to fly with paragliders to the mountains take offs.

(5.f) Events / presentations held at the facility so far:


(5.g) Specific programme for children:


(5.h) Research / Publications produced / assisted by the property so far:


(5.i) Is the local community at all involved in the operation of the Lodge and how?

Yes. It’s involved in the sense of checking the hygiene systems & if we follow the standards given by the Greek Ministry of Tourism.



(6.a). Please state any awards or green certificates won by the property and provide scanned photos of these.

Not applicable so far.

(6.b). Have there been any independent (i.e. not paid or otherwise related to you) guest reviews, newspaper, radio, TV or guidebook reviews on your property, which may support any of your replies above? If so please provide detailed information and links (up to 10)

Not applicable so far.

(6.c). Please sign to indicate your agreement with the following:

I hereby declare that all my answers are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and understand that I and/or my company will not have the right to veto or 'hide' our ECOCLUB Rating, which will be decided in the manner specified at if we find it unfavourable. I also understand that the rating will be valid for a minimum of 1 Year, and a maximum of 3 Years. By submitting this questionnaire I indicate acceptance of all Rating terms, conditions and procedures as stated at and understand that these may be modified at any time without notice.

Please enter (paste) your signature below or type your initials to indicate acceptance:

Your Name: Katerina Kapatou - Date: 27 September 2009 (NB: Received by 24 January 2010) Rating: 3.4 out of 5
111 04-sun