Many people looking for a self-catering holiday are looking for a green holiday and so begin to search for an eco cottage. With the drive to reduce our carbon foot-print, UK self-catering holidays are even more popular - many of the properties can be reached by train (although only the most green amongst us would take a family holiday in the country without a car - but of course it can be done and bringing bikes can be a huge amount of fun).
Eco holiday cottages vary hugely - both in the degree of how green a property they really are and of course in the level of comfort they offer holiday-makers. Most rental places calling themselves a green or eco holiday cottage would provide environmentally friendly cleaning products, provide recylcing boxes, have a compost bin and encourage visitors staying in the eco self-catering to switch off the lights and heating when not in use. Of course this can be viewed cynically as a way for the cottage owner to save money - visitors staying in rental properties are very profligate with energy! Eco holiday cottages should have energy saving light bulbs, washing machines etc.
A really green environmentally friendly holiday house in the UK will go far further then these easier measures. They may have a windmill, a ground source heat pump, reed beds, be built in a sustainable manner if new, have incredible insulation (sheep's wool probably), and some may even have a composting loo!
There are some amazing eco cottages to rent all over the UK - in Scotland there have been some fabulous ones built to 5 star standards without compromising on green issues and making a minimal impact on the environment. England, Wales and Ireland also have a good selection of green self-catering accommodation. So if you are looking to stay in the UK - whether to reduce your carbon footprint or not! - the variety and selection of environmentally friendly houses to rent is increasing every year. If you care about green issues then it is worth asking the holiday cottage owner whether they offer recycling / composting etc. If the owners think there is a demand then they will provide the facilities - whether they what to offer an eco house to rent or not - and the more people that do a little bit to help the environment the better.
Sustainable tourism is becoming a more frequently heard phrase. Visit Scotland's Green Tourism Business Scheme rates self-catering (and hotels and bed and breakfasts) on how environmentally friendly and energy efficient they are. Gold is the highest green tourism award in Scotland and if you book a eco cottage with a green tourism gold award then you can be assured that you are staying in some of the most environmentally-friendly accommodation in Scotland. Of course there are many very eco-friendly holiday cottages which don't register with Visit Scotland but in fact are extremely environmentally friendly and staying in one of them would keep your carbon footprint to the minimum on your eco holiday in Scotland.