Sustainability and going green are more than just trends. As the UN World Tourism Organization explains, sustainable tourism addresses the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities. It takes full responsibility for its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts. Today, the majority of global travelers prefer to travel sustainably whenever it’s possible to do so. Many of the strategies we’ve covered below to make your rental more sustainable are not only simple, but they can also save you money in the long run. Plus, making your vacation rental property more sustainable can bring in additional profits because it attracts a new group of potential guests.
- 1 1. Give back to the community
- 2 2. Install energy-efficient lighting and appliances
- 3 3. Provide clear recycling options
- 4 4. Install faucet aerators
- 5 5. Choose honeycomb or roller blinds
- 6 6. Invest in solar panels
- 7 7. Provide reusable shopping bags
- 8 8. Share information about public transportation and shuttles
- 9 9. Encourage guests to make local purchases
- 10 10. Take measures to conserve water
- 11 11. Get a smart thermostat
- 12 12. Offer sustainable gifts to guests
- 13 Main Takeaways
1. Give back to the community
The first strategy for a more sustainable vacation rental property is to give back to the local community. You can do this by making purchases in the community and sourcing local supplies. Hiring local staff is also a great idea because it provides a source of income to local people. You could hire a property manager, a cleaning service, a gardener, a pool maintenance expert, a plumber, and many others. Your vacation rental becomes more sustainable by giving back to the community because it addresses its economic needs and puts some of your profits back into the area where your vacation rental is located.
2. Install energy-efficient lighting and appliances
Another strategy to make your vacation rental more sustainable is to install energy-efficient lights and appliances. Energy-efficient lighting provides the same amount of light for less money, meaning you’ll receive savings on your utility bill. Plus, it’s as easy as swapping out light bulbs. If you want to ensure that you choose the products with the greatest energy savings, you’ll want light bulbs that have the Energy Star symbol on them. This is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. Aside from swapping out lightbulbs, you could install timers and dimmers, which can also save energy.
When looking for efficient appliances, Energy Star-certified appliances are always the best choice. There are fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, ceiling fans, heat pumps, whole-home dehumidifiers, and air purifiers that are Energy Star-certified. The average home appliance lasts between 10 and 20 years, and Energy Star-certified appliances use ten to 50% less energy each year compared to their non-Energy Star counterparts. As you can imagine, this pays off and saves you quite a bit of money over time!
3. Provide clear recycling options
The third strategy to make your vacation rental property more sustainable is a very simple one. All you need to do is provide clear recycling options for your guests to use. Label containers for various materials, such as glass, plastic, and paper/cardboard. Making these recycling bins available to your guests will result in more recycling and help your property be more sustainable overall. You can also encourage guests to use these various recycling bins in the welcome binder, or you could even post notes on the wall near the bins themselves.
4. Install faucet aerators
The next strategy to make your rental more sustainable is to install faucet aerators. Choosing flow-arresting aerators will save you even more water. Faucet aerators create a wider stream and lessen the water splashing in the basin of the sink. They help save water because they make the flow more productive. The aerators come with other benefits as well: They make the water feel softer and provide drinking water with a lighter, fresher taste.
5. Choose honeycomb or roller blinds
A simple change to make in your rental property that will result in additional sustainability is switching to honeycomb or roller blinds. These blinds are considered one of the most energy-efficient window coverings available. Their honeycomb-like pockets of air keep your rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They provide insulation so your heat and air conditioning won’t have to run as much, saving energy and lowering your utility bills. Honeycomb and roller blinds don’t have to impede the design of your property, either. You can find them in a wide range of colors and patterns.
6. Invest in solar panels
Another strategy for sustainability at your vacation rental property is to install solar panels. While this is a large expense upfront, it can save you money long-term. Plus, solar power is extremely practical because it’s essentially infinite. The sun is accessible for about half of the day, and solar panels can store much of that energy for nighttime use.
Solar panels will save you money on energy once they are installed. They make your vacation rental property self-reliant, which can be especially important if it’s off the grid. In addition, panels are typically under warranty for about 25 years, making this sustainable solution a worthwhile investment.
7. Provide reusable shopping bags
A simple touch that can add to the sustainability of your rental property is to provide reusable shopping bags for your guests to use. Place them in an area where they will be noticed, perhaps hanging on a hook by the front door. You can mention the reusable bags in your welcome binder and post a notice on the wall letting your guests know what the bags are for. Your guests are sure to appreciate this foresight on your part, as well as your clear commitment to sustainability.
A free method to make your rental property more sustainable is to provide information about public transportation and shuttles for your guests to take advantage of. You can simply include this information in your welcome letter or binder.
In addition, when you make suggestions for various places to visit, you could note how many minutes away they are if you’re walking. For example, you could write, “This restaurant is a two-minute drive, five-minute bus ride, or ten-minute walk away.” This encourages your guests to consider other modes of transportation rather than always driving as a default.
9. Encourage guests to make local purchases
Another method for sustainability at your vacation rental is to encourage local purchases. Be sure to recommend local businesses, vendors, and activities in your welcome binder. You can even create an interactive map that serves as a guide. This is another method of giving back to the community, as mentioned earlier in the article. Guests are sure to appreciate your recommendations since many strive to “live like a local” when they travel.
10. Take measures to conserve water
Yet another strategy for sustainability is taking measures to conserve water. One thing you can do on the property level is conduct an audit to determine where you’re consuming the most water. This will also help you identify and repair any leaks or drips that could be wasting water.
As far as your guests go, you could politely suggest that they reuse towels and conserve water whenever possible. They could do this by only running the washing machine and dishwasher when they’re full and making sure that they completely turn off the faucets after using them. Investing in new toilets and low-flow showerheads will also conserve water, lower your utility bills, and make your rental property more sustainable overall.
11. Get a smart thermostat
Investing in a smart thermostat can also make your rental property more sustainable. This type of thermostat can be controlled from your smartphone no matter where you are. You can allow your guests access to your smart thermostat if you’d like, or you can maintain control of the temperature at all times. In between guests’ stays, adjusting the temperature of your vacation rental, rather than allowing the heat or air conditioning to run on full blast, can increase sustainability and lower utility bills for you.
12. Offer sustainable gifts to guests
Our final strategy for increasing the sustainability of your vacation rental property is to offer your guests sustainable gifts. For example, bottled water creates a lot of waste. So instead of providing disposable water bottles for guests when they check in, you could offer high-quality reusable water bottles as a gift. Branding these water bottles with your business’s logo will keep the stay fresh in guests’ minds and potentially remind them to come back in the future. Another option is to offer your guests branded coffee mugs. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also a method of marketing that guests can use for years to come.
Want to make your vacation rental property more sustainable? Here are 12 ways to do so:
- Give back to the local community.
- Install energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
- Provide clear recycling options.
- Install flow-arresting faucet aerators.
- Choose honeycomb or roller blinds.
- Invest in solar panels.
- Provide reusable shopping bags.
- Share information about public transportation and shuttles.
- Encourage guests to make local purchases.
- Take measures to conserve water.
- Get a smart thermostat.
- Offer sustainable gifts to guests.