Being a Green Host: How to Make your Airbnb Environmentally FriendlyFeb 17, 2023
What makes for an amazing vacation rental experience... Beautiful, carefully considered interior design? Well-thought-out space for your guests to congregate and relax? A well-stocked kitchen? (Hint — the answer is definitely "all of the above"!)
But what if we can go one step further by providing all the luxury touches that you'd expect in a 5-star Airbnb, whilst also doing our bit to reduce our impact on the environment?
Tourism accounts for up to 10% of global greenhouse emissions and the short-term rental market is a significant contributor to this. In this blog, we're going to look at some (easy and realistic!) steps you can take to make your Airbnb more sustainable and eco-friendly.
You don't have to rush out and buy expensive, energy-saving products and you certainly don't have to do every single thing on the list! Reducing your carbon footprint is about figuring out what steps work for you to enable you to do YOUR part for the planet. And if we all make a conscious choice to take some positive steps, those steps will add up to make a big difference.
Not to mention that going green will actually save you some green! With energy costs on the rise, applying energy-efficient systems to how your rental is run will save you big time in the long run.
image above: Nature's Nook, Georgia
>>> So without further ado, here are my top tips for making your Airbnb eco-friendly <<<
1. Reduce Waste
Ok, this one is a no-brainer... The first step towards improving your Airbnb's sustainability is to reduce the amount of waste you create. Where possible, use or provide reusable items instead of disposable ones. And make sure that your guests are easily able to make the most of any recycling and composting systems that you have in place. This means providing clearly marked bins and liners (bonus points if they're compostable!) so that your guests can continue your excellent work!
2. Switch to LED Lighting
Next time you need to replace a bulb, consider using an LED bulb over a traditional one. Yes, they're more expensive to buy... but they use as much as 80% less electricity and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting! Short-term layout for long-term savings, people!
3. Use Natural Cleaners
A great way to reduce your environmental impact in your short-term rental (as well as at home!) is to use natural cleaning products made from plant-based ingredients that are free of harsh chemicals. I recently stayed in an Airbnb that provided these gorgeously scented products... they were so lovely they made me WANT to clean up after myself!! Additionally, it's worth investing in reusable, plastic-free cleaning cloths and sponges.
image above: Ashley & Co
4. Upgrade to Eco-Friendly Appliances
I'm not for a moment suggesting you rush out and buy a new fridge, freezer, and oven! But if you are in the market for new appliances, it's worth comparing how energy-efficient they are. They might cost a little more to buy, but you'll soon make your money back through reduced energy bills. Plus, you get to walk around feeling all smug for the rest of the day!
5. Install Low-Flow Showerheads
A great shower is one of my vacation rental musts! But modern low-flow shower heads are so good that you'd never know you were using one and they're an easy and cost-effective way to reduce water consumption and conserve energy. Look for shower heads with a WaterSense label, which indicates that the product has been tested and certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.
6. Consider your Furniture
Similarly to your appliances, don't rush out and replace your furniture... this kinda has the opposite effect of what we're aiming for here! But if it is time to invest in something new, then do so considerately. Buying cheap can be a false economy when it comes to heavily used items like the sofa and beds, meaning that these items end up in landfill far sooner than they should (and your guests aren't very comfortable in the meantime!). I talk more about the fast furniture epidemic and some great choices for furniture stores in this blog.
image above: Made Trade
7. Provide Water Bottles and Snack Pots
How often have I arrived for a lovely stay at an Airbnb and realized I don't have containers to take drinks and snacks on that outing I have planned?! Help your guests steer clear of the Saran Wrap by providing some handy reusable containers — Walmart has a great range.
8. Share your thoughts
We can't do this alone. To make an impact, we have to take a united front against climate change. That's how the Global Short-Term Rental Sustainability Questionnaire came about. It only takes a few minutes but is a great way to share your thoughts and contribute to figuring out how we can fight the good fight together, as an industry. 💪
image above: Oliver Lodge, Lake Winnipesaukee
So there you have it my fellow vacation rental hosts!
By taking a few simple steps, you can make your Airbnb property more sustainable and eco-friendly. Not only will this help protect the environment, but it will also make your property more attractive to the ever-increasing number of guests who are on the lookout for green accommodation.
For more information on becoming a green host, check out the website EnviroRental, where host Bob Garner has collected all of the best resources for becoming an enviromentally conscious host and put it in one place for you. You can hear him being interviewed on The Vacation Rental Formula Podcast here on "How Being Sustainable Leads to More Short Term Rental Bookings."