As travelers become more accustomed to using platforms like Airbnb and staying in vacation rentals, more and more property owners are emerging and listing their properties for strangers to rent. As a result, the demands and expectations of travelers are changing. So much so that, nowadays, eco-friendly homes are at the top of everybody’s list.
Modern travelers are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation, which has led to increased competition amongst those looking to make a side-hustle out of renting out a vacation spot. An increasing number of travelers are beginning to show a preference for accommodation that is environmentally conscious and eco-friendly.
How to transform your vacation rental into an eco-friendly home
Those renting out their properties are seeing the benefits of going green when the monthly energy bill comes. Indeed, making your vacation rental greener can help you keep more of the profits that come from putting your property online. Let’s see how you can start making the shift today with these 10 ideas.
1. INSTALL ENERGY-EFFICIENT LIGHTING AND APPLIANCES
Replacing your home’s lighting with energy-saving LED or CFL bulbs and replacing your conventional appliances with Energy Star rated alternatives will ensure your rental is energy efficient. It’s an instant fix that will benefit you in the long run and you’ll save ample money in your annual electric bill as a result.
2. INSTALL HONEYCOMB OR ROLLER BLINDS
Heating and cooling are one of the biggest contributors to your monthly energy bills, with some estimates suggesting your heating and/or cooling system accounts for up to 40% of your total energy use.
You may already know this. What you may not know, however, is the dramatic impact the right window furnishings can have on the energy efficiency of your home. Options like honeycomb blinds act as effective insulation, so summers are cool and winters are warm. These blinds trap air and create a barrier between the room and the window surface. Besides offering insulation, honeycomb blinds provide more privacy than an average window furnishing and help guests control the amount of light they want filtering into their room.
3. PROVIDE RECYCLING OPTIONS
Eco-friendly vacation rentals almost always provide clear, easy-to-use recycling options. You can easily set up your own recycling protocol by demarcating separate bins for wet and dry waste. Additionally, you can go a step further and separate garbage into plastics, paper and glass. Bonus points to your rental home if it has a compost bin in the garden and you use the wet waste to create home-grown fertilizer for your plants.
To ensure guests uphold your eco etiquette, place a note about your commitment to sustainability and recycling on your website and kindly ask that guests lodging with you adhere to your recycling protocol. Your environmentally conscious guests are guaranteed to be impressed.
4. EQUIP BATHROOMS WITH FAUCET AERATORS
A wallet-friendly investment, faucet aerators are a cheap and effortless way to add a green touch to your kitchens and bathrooms. This small metal filter tremendously reduces water usage, prevents splashing, and shapes the water stream by inserting air. Fit one on all of your faucets and shower heads to save water and money.
5. COLLECT RAINWATER AND USE IT TO WATER YOUR GARDEN
Another simple yet highly effective way to minimize water consumption is using a rain barrel to collect rainwater that can later be used to fill a pool or water the garden. This is an extremely useful way to conserve water in vacation rentals situated in areas that receive heavy rainfall.
6. ADD SOLAR PANELS TO THE ROOF
Not quite as cheap and straightforward as installing a faucet aerator, but the savings will undoubtedly pay off in the long run. Installing a solar power system in your vacation rental is a one-time investment that could actually reduce your net electricity bills to $0. Going energy independent means not having to rely on the traditional energy infrastructure. This will be a big point of difference when potential guests are scrolling through listings to find the property that’s right for them.
7. HAVE AN ORGANIC GARDEN FILLED WITH LOCAL FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND PLANTS
Growing imported fruits, vegetables and non-native plants requires more water, fertilizer and effort than local alternatives. Fill your organic garden with local fruit, vegetables and native plants. This gives your guests a chance to learn about the local flora of the region and you can encourage them to enjoy the outdoor and area and even do a little gardening if they like.
8. PROVIDE REUSABLE SHOPPING AND GROCERY BAGS
Another easy and cost-effective touch that many lodgers will appreciate. Keep a stash of a reusable grocery bags – recycled or canvas – in the kitchen or laundry room. Be sure to include a note in your documentation to let travelers know where to find them for when they need to stock up on supplies at the supermarket.
9. ENCOURAGE GUESTS TO REUSE TOWELS AND CONSERVE WATER
Fresh, fluffy towels and linens are synonymous with hotels and inns, but washing them uses up a lot of water. Use your listing or even small boards and signs (you can make your own using recycled wood and non-toxic paint) to encourage your guests to reuse their towels and to conserve water during their stay.
10. URGE USE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT AND SHUTTLES
As a courtesy, provide your guests with information about the local area and their transportation options. Add an eco-friendly touch by encouraging the use of public transport or even provide bicycles as an extra amenity. A great way to reduce your and your guests’ carbon footprint is by offering information about public transportation and shuttles to beaches or other popular places in town.
Small steps towards sustainability can go a long way in making your listing unique, whilst cutting long-term costs and adding a dash of personality to your rental. With more travelers opting for eco-friendly vacation rentals, it’s time to reduce your carbon footprint and jump on the green bandwagon.
About the Author
Ryan Lewis is a director at Lovelight, an Australian family-owned company that designs made-to-measure window furnishings for beautiful residential and commercial spaces nationally. Lovelight’s business is about two things; selecting and sourcing the latest design technology and styling for window furnishings worldwide, and listening to the needs of customers.