Thursday, March 23, 2023

Airbnb Wants to Help Make Your Home More Sustainable

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Airbnb is providing grants to help hosts make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

Airbnb is on a mission to make travel more sustainable. The short-term home sharing service has launched a Sustainable Hosting Plan, which includes a £1 million fund to help hosts in the U.K. make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

The San Francisco-based company launched the initiative in partnership with Energy Saving Trust—a British organization that provides energy efficiency and low carbon solutions to individuals, businesses, and governments.

Airbnb rental in Barcelona
Airbnb vacation rental in Barcelona, Spain. | Courtesy Airbnb

Home improvement grants are available for up to £1,000 for standard hosts and up to £3,000 for superhosts—hosts that meet a series of Airbnb requirements, such as being responsive, having high ratings, and few cancellations.

Those interested in taking part in the initiative can apply for a grant online. Those that receive grants will be given guidance on what steps can be taken to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, from installing proper insulation to replacing old boilers. 

According to the Energy Saving Trust, a £1,000 grant will help cover a quarter of the cost of a standard boiler replacement and a sixth of the cost of installing solar panels.

Sustainable travel

According to a 2018 poll by online travel agency Booking.com, 87 percent of global travelers prefer to travel sustainably.

“Being eco-friendly is something more and more guests are looking for as part of their travel experience,” said Anna Jones, an Airbnb host, member of the Host Advisory Board, and facilitator of the company’s sustainability committee.

Airbnb is certainly paying attention to the growing demand for responsible tourism. It launched its Sustainable Hosting Plan in France in September.

In 2020, the company launched a sustainability education series, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Wildlife Fund, which includes a wide variety of sustainable hosting tips from how to recycle waste to  eco-friendly household essentials to shop.

“My first tip would be to start small. If you can make big changes, then great, but lots of small changes can equally make a huge impact,” explained Jones.

“There’s always room for improvement. We all have a responsibility and we all need to do our best to help the environment,” she added. “Even small steps can make a huge, huge change.”

Airbnb embraces sustainability

In 2021, Airbnb pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by committing to going net zero by 2030.

“Addressing climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation,” Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said in a press release. “Committing to Net Zero is the latest action we’re taking to lower carbon emissions and we will continue to work with our community to promote sustainable travel.” 

In addition to curbing carbon emissions, the Sustainable Hosting Plan aims to tackle the rising cost of living across the U.K. 

According to the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, 93 percent of Brits reported an increase in their cost of living in August-September 2022.

“More than a third of Hosts across the UK say they host to afford the rising cost of living,” Amanda Cupples, General Manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said. “In the face of rising energy bills, we want to support Hosts further by helping them with energy efficiency improvements and bringing their bills down in the long-term.”

In the U.S., Airbnb is working to make renewable energy more accessible to its hosts. The company is currently exploring partnerships with clean utility companies with plans to launch a pilot program in the near future.

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