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Every day is Earth Day: Easy ways to reduce the impact of your vacation rentals

This year at Guesty, we’ve decided to celebrate Earth Day by sharing some great tips on making your vacation rental properties more sustainable. It’s nice to celebrate a day once a year when we all get together to focus on our planet; however, let’s be honest, it’s not enough.

If we want to make a lasting impact, we must treat every day as Earth Day and adopt a more ecocentric perspective in our daily lives. A great place to start is by transitioning our businesses towards becoming more sustainable.

That’s why we’ve reached out to Vanessa de Souza Lage, CEO of Sustonica, to share her expertise on what vacation rental owners can do to make their businesses more sustainable. 

Sustonica is the first sustainability program for short-term rentals. It offers a sustainability certification that can appear on, allowing guests to make booking decisions that align with environmental values. Properties that have achieved Sustonica’s certification have taken actionable and clear steps to lessen their environmental impact and to continue improving upon it.

Want to know if your short-term rentals make the cut? Take the Sustonica quiz here

So, let’s get to it. Here are some of the best steps Vanessa recommends to make your vacation rental more sustainable, not just on Earth Day but every day, in line with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

Hands holding a globe with a tree and sustainability icons

Energy conservation 

Finding ways to reduce energy usage and transition from a high dependence on fossil fuels is a must. Depending on what changes you can make in your short-term rental, here are a few options for how to go about it. 

  • Renewable power sources

The easiest step is to call your local energy provider and request to receive power only from renewable sources, such as hydro/solar/wind. In some cases, you might have to switch providers as certain power companies do not offer this, or your STR is simply in a location that currently does not have green energy infrastructure. 

  • Solar panels:

The second approach is installing solar panels on your vacation rental; the initial investment costs can be pricey, but in the long run, it’s worth it. Solar panels significantly reduce or even eliminate electricity bills, transforming the property into a more sustainable and environmentally friendly accommodation option that is also self-sufficient. By harnessing renewable solar energy, vacation rental owners can minimize their carbon footprint and save money on electrical bills. 

Check out these companies if you’re interested in equipping your VR with solar panels. 

Children volunteering for recycling outdoors with an adult

Promote local institutions 

Supporting the local community is another important aspect of sustainability that is often overlooked, especially since it plays a huge role in implementing sustainable practices. As a short-term rental owner or manager, there are multiple things you can do to promote sustainability in your rentals’ local areas. For example, creating a brochure for your guests promoting local vegetarian restaurants or volunteering opportunities at local farms or community centers can be a great way to support local endeavors while providing guests with various interesting activities during their stay. 

Minimizing waste

A straightforward way to minimize waste at your short-term rental is by offering environmentally friendly alternatives for your guests. Instead of contributing to the staggering amount of plastic waste in landfills and oceans, provide refillable shampoo, conditioner, and soap dispensers making sure that the products are free of microplastics. This will reduce single-use plastic consumption at your STR while avoiding the continued usage flow of microplastics to our environment. 

Furthermore, we encourage responsible shopping by providing reusable shopping bags, trolleys, and baskets, empowering guests to make eco-conscious choices during their stay. Together, these efforts enhance the guest experience and contribute positively to our planet’s health, especially in combating the vast amount of microplastics entering our ecosystems.  

Download Beat the Microbead to start seeing what products contain microplastics.

Hand pressing a faucet with running water.

Water conservation 

As a vacation rental owner or manager, it’s important to prioritize water conservation in your property for both environmental and financial reasons. Installing water-efficient fixtures like smart or low-flow showerheads can significantly reduce water usage during showers while not affecting pressure,  still giving a great guest experience. Additionally, implementing a leak detection system can help catch and address issues early, preventing significant water loss and damage.

Another simple, sustainable improvement is ensuring your washing machine/dishwasher has an “Eco” setting that reduces water consumption by using lower temperatures and shorter wash cycles. Adopting these measures contributes to sustainability efforts, enhances cost-effectiveness, and appeals to eco-conscious guests.

We hope that you find these tips useful and that they inspire you to improve the sustainability of your vacation rentals.

As previously mentioned, Earth Day is a great initiative that helps create awareness of the need to improve our environment. However, to truly make a lasting impact, we need to adapt solutions that help transform our surroundings into more ecocentric ones. Taking steps to improve our business is a great way to start and create that lasting impact that inspires others to do the same and is recognized by environmentally conscious guests. 

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