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Smart Ways to Make Your Vacation Rental More Eco-Friendly

Added: Jul 07, 2021
Category: Homeowner Tips

Of all the travel trends for vacation rental homeowners to pay attention to, sustainable tourism may be one of the biggest and we at iHome Resort fully support it. A recent global study reveal that 69 percent of participants “expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options” and homeowners with sustainable properties made eight percent more in 2020 than non-eco homes.  

Catering to these shifting traveler priorities and finding ways to make your vacation rental more environmentally-friendly opens up a massive window of opportunity to capture extra income and five-star reviews. And while it might feel like a steep hill to climb — particularly for vacation rental owners who don’t live nearby — it’s actually not as complicated as it all may seem.

There are a bunch of adjustments you can make that not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also help differentiate your property from its competition, lower expenses, and potentially make you more money in the long run. These are some eco-friendly solutions:

Focus on Water Conservation

Fun fact: according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  the average American household uses more than 300 gallons of water a day. In your vacation rental, it’s likely that number goes up, as guests aren’t necessarily thinking about fully loading the dishwasher before running a load. And they might trade a shower for a long soak in the tub because, well, it’s vacation!

1. Invest in Low-Flow Faucets, Showerheads, and Aerators

Investing in low-flow faucets, showerheads, and aerators can save more than 2,700 gallons of water a year. (That’s the equivalent of doing 88 loads of laundry, per the EPA.) Best part: they go for as little as $10 to $20 each, making a significant contribution to your sustainability efforts at a wallet-friendly price.

2. Conduct a Water Audit

If you’re not exactly sure where to invest in new products, a water audit can help you zero in on which part of your home could benefit the most from a revamp first. Since water usage can change with the seasons (and across the country), conducting one quarterly can help identify discrepancies and plan out your eco-friendly-upgrades timeline.

Pump Up Your Paper Conservation

On average, the U.S uses more than 70.6 million metric tons of paper a year. While that figure accounts for business, consumer, and at-home use, the bottom line is that there’s a paper problem to solve. Transform the role your vacation rental plays in paper consumption by making a few simple-yet-effective operational adjustments.

1. Take Business Operations Entirely Online

Leave paper checks and mailed invoices behind and make your booking and guest communications digital. Not only is it an easy eco-friendly idea to implement, but it’s also a more seamless experience for on-the-go vacationers. P.S.: iHome Resort homeowners have this taken care of on their behalf. Our team communicates with travelers 24/7 to ensure they have all necessary trip details, and every homeowner’s account houses a digital calendar of bookings, automatic payment processing, and consolidated view of cumulative earnings.

2. Provide a digitally-shared welcome book. P.S.: It’s already provided by iHome Resort! : )

Buy Energy-Efficient Products

Switching to energy-efficient products makes heat and electricity consumption more sustainable, and can significantly reduce utility costs. Here’s how to make smart swaps in your vacation rental.

1. Purchase ENERGY STAR-Certified Light Bulbs

CFLs or LEDs can reduce energy usage by 20 to 25 percent  and last 15 to 25 times longer than your old incandescent bulbs. At just $2 to $5 a bulb, they pay for themselves in a short span of time.

2. Install Motion-Activated Sensors

These lights only turn on when a presence is detected, shutting off in the absence of movement. They’re great for outdoor spaces and bedrooms, saving you a bit extra on energy bills and lowering the odds that guests will accidentally leave the lights on.

3. Invest in Smart Thermostats

A great way to keep heating and cooling costs low, many models connect to your smartphone so you can regulate remotely. (Some can even sense which rooms are occupied and adjust appropriately.) Smart thermostats also provide a great opportunity to impress guests on first impression: in hot summer months, you can make sure your home is cool upon arrival. When the winter chill sets in, you can warm up the home in time for a toasty reprieve.

4. Upgrade Appliances

While more costly upfront, opting for dishwashers, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, and furnaces with the ENERGY STAR rating can have a significant impact on your home’s long-term savings potential. These EPA-approved appliances use 10 to 50 percent less energy annually than their traditional counterparts, and can shave over $500 off your annual bills (a number that experts expect to climb above $800 in the next decade.)

6. Invest in Solar Panels

This is by far the biggest splurge, but it’s one with comparative long-term gains. The average individual racks up over $3,000 in yearly energy costs, and installing solar panels can entirely eliminate this cost over the course of their lifetime. And since solar panels last for about 25 years, homeowners utilizing this powerful green technology can expect to generate free electricity for about 20 years, and might even turn a profit by selling electricity back to local power companies.

Make It Easy for Guests to Be Environmentally-Friendly

Cutting costs and saving money is a major benefit of making your home more sustainable, but you can also pay it forward (and satisfy rising sustainable tourism demands) by giving your guests easy ways to be green during their stays.

1. Put Out Easily-Marked Recycling Bins

Make them easy to spot, providing clear instructions for what gets recycled and what doesn’t. Give guests info about if and when recycling is picked up locally, so they can participate without any hassle. (This is particularly useful if guests are staying long-term.)

2. Stock Reusable Water Bottles and Bags

For guests on the go, these items are much-appreciated green alternatives to disposable paper and plastic. Stock your kitchen cabinets, and be sure to task your cleaning teams with washing reusable water bottles and laundering totes in between guest stays.

3. Provide Bikes or Scooters

Whether guests need to make a quick run to the market or want to explore the neighborhood, having a few modes of non-motorized, emissions-free transportation is both environmentally-friendly and fun. They’re convenient for couples, solo travelers, or families with kids.

4. Consider a Compost Bin

If you’re interested in reducing food waste at your vacation property, you can set up a compost bin in the backyard and leave clear instructions for what guests can throw inside. There are even countertop options available to make composting an easy thing to do as guests cook or clean up after a meal.

The Grass Is Greener with iHome Resort

Tackling eco-friendly initiatives is great for the planet and a major positive for sustainable travelers. But remember: it’s okay to start small. These are easy steps you can take to conserve energy, water, paper, and resources. If you’re feeling inspired to think bigger, upgrade kitchens and bathrooms. Plant a garden. Go solar! From low-cost tweaks to big-ticket modifications, consider it your essential resource for a more environmentally-friendly vacation rental.



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