How to Make Your Vacation Rental Sustainable

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Vacation Rental Sustainable

You care about the environment and look for ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle at home. Why not bring the same practices to your vacation rental?

Sustainability is more than just a trend – modifying your home to be more environmentally-friendly not only reduces your carbon footprint, but also your utility and energy bills.

With new technologies and updates hitting the sustainability market every day, being environmentally conscious is a great way to lower the cost of running your rental, improve your guests’ experience, and feel good about your impact on the planet.

While some changes require big investments, others are relatively minimal. And every sustainable purchase pays for itself by lowering your utility bills and helping the environment. So what changes can you make to your property to be more sustainable?

Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs

Investing in environmentally-friendly light bulbs is one of the easiest ways you can save money and lessen your property’s impact on the environment.

According to, energy efficient light bulbs typically use about 25% – 80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, and can last between 3-25 times longer. While the eco-friendly light bulbs typically cost more than regular light bulbs – they cost less to operate, cutting your energy consumption costs over time.

If you’re already investing in greener lighting, take it one step further with motion-activated lighting sensors. These lights only turn on and stay on when they detect a presence, and shut off in the absence of movement. This will save you a bit on your energy bills, and you won’t have to worry about guests wasting energy by leaving lights on.

Keep in mind that while these will most definitely help cut costs and wasted energy – they may disrupt your guests’ great experience at your rental. Guests may not enjoy lights turning off as soon as they leave the room. When making your property more environmentally-friendly, you should be sure the changes you make don’t take away from the quality of your guest’ stay.

Keep Things Digital

No more mailing invoices, collecting paper checks, or printing out directions – these days, everything can be done digitally.

Switching to online booking and digital communication saves time, money, and paper, while making things easier for guests. The people you’re hosting can easily access the details of their reservation on their computer or smartphone, and don’t have to dig through stacks of paper to get what they’re looking for.

Back in 2013, HomeAway reported that online booking was already preferred by 92% of travelers – a number that is guaranteed to have increased greatly in the past 5 years. If you want to learn more about switching to online booking, click here.

Having a digital reservation system improves guest experiences and simplifies the booking process. Take this one step further by sending them a digital welcome book instead of printing one out – that way they can access your rental tips, rules, and suggestions online.

Solar Panels

Solar panels are a great way to dial down your your energy consumption, and they’re an even better way to minimize your electricity bill. How much they actually save you depends on a few key factors, like the number of hours of direct sunlight you receive, the number of panels you have, and the angle of your roof.

For example, you’ll only want to invest in solar panels if your roof gets a good amount of direct sunlight. If you live in a home in Seattle surrounded by tall trees, then solar panels are probably not the best way to shrink your carbon footprint and your bills.

According to Solar Power Authority, the average house in America would only pay $73 a month for electricity if it switched to using solar panels. But with so many factors to be considered, your number may be completely different than the average. If you’re solar-curious, you can check out how much you may save by entering your data into this solar power calculator.

Utility costs can really add up when you have guests in residence. When people are on vacation, they’re not as careful about energy consumption as they are in their own homes. They might leave the lights on, or have a TV on in the background while they’re in the house. This is an easy way to cut back on a major expense without sacrificing anything from the guests’ experience.

Low Flow Faucet and Shower Heads

There are plenty of ways to conserve water – and they don’t require you attaching a note to your bathroom mirror, telling guests to turn the faucet off while brushing their teeth.
Low flow faucets and shower heads can reduce the amount of water you use by 30-50%, and they’re a low-cost investment at just $10 and up! These simple changes can save gallons – and up to a quarter of your bill.

You may be a little reluctant to invest in these low flow faucets and shower heads because of their name. Fortunately water pressure is not affected! Aerating shower heads mix air with water to keep the flow of the pressure consistent, while non-aerating options use a pulsing system to keep showers high-pressure and low energy.

Smart Thermostat

Smart Thermostats are a great way to keep your heating and cooling costs low and they give your rental a high-tech, updated feel. Smart Thermostats vary by brand and model, but many of their bottom line features stay the same.

They connect to your smartphone so you can regulate your heat or air conditioning remotely. Some can also sense which rooms are occupied, and set the temperature for used and unused rooms appropriately – saving energy and cutting down on costs.

Many of these thermostats connect to Amazon Echo or Google Home, as well – which creates a fun and easy way for your guests to control the temperature during their stay.

Some of the most popular smart thermostat systems are Nest and Ecobee, but you can learn more about these sustainable systems by visiting Smart Thermostat Guide.

Help Your Guests Be More Environmentally-friendly

Wondering what to do with all the money you save from choosing the sustainable option? How about putting some of it towards helping your guests have a more environmentally-friendly stay.

  • Supply reusable water bottles for your guests so that they don’t waste plastic during their stay
  • Keep reusable grocery bags stocked in the kitchen so that guests don’t have to use plastic bags when they go to the supermarket
  • Provide easy directions for how and what to recycle, so that your guests can help you stay eco-friendly
  • Keep all of these tips, tricks, and more in a digital welcome book, so that your visitors have an easy way to refer back to your suggestions

Saving the planet starts one small step at a time, and responsible vacation rental owners across the globe are starting to put those steps into action. It just so happens that these eco-friendly changes have the convenient bonus of saving you money! By saving even a small amount of the cost of running your rental, these upgrades will maximize your rental income. So whether it’s starting small with LED light bulbs, or taking on bigger projects like the installation of solar panels, any amount of effort makes a difference – for the world, and for your wallet.

If you’re looking for other ways to cut down on costs and make more money with your vacation rental, there are more ways than by choosing sustainable upgrades. How about reevaluating your marketing strategy? At Evolve, we help homeowners across North America increase their income, book their calendars, and save time. Click here to learn more about what we can do for you.