A lightbulb moment: how to immediately improve the energy efficiency of your holiday home



The quick win steps that you can easily take

With the rising cost of just about everything, we’re all looking for ways to run our short-term rental businesses more efficiently. The challenge is saving on running costs without impacting the guest experience on which we pride ourselves.

One solution to this conundrum is to reduce your rental property’s energy consumption. When your business consumes less energy:

  • your electricity bill goes down
  • the planet breathes a little easier
  • your guest gets the same great experience (and knows they’ve chosen to stay with a responsible business!)

If you’re looking to reduce your energy bills whilst taking a step towards sustainability, you’ve arrived at the right spot. In this blog, we’ll cover:

Advantages of an energy efficient rental property

When it comes to choosing new electrical goods for your vacation rental, you already need to compare each option’s cost, ease of use, and effectiveness. So why bother to also consider energy efficiency?

Business benefits of energy efficiency

We’ve already touched on the ways in which energy-efficient appliances, light bulbs, and operations benefit your short-term rental business. It really comes down to two substantial advantages:

  • Reduce your energy costs
  • Attract a new market of guests

You pay for the energy you use and this means that the less energy you use, the less you have to pay. With UK electricity prices rising by 67% over the past year, there’s never been a better time to cut down on your energy consumption.

But how does reducing your energy usage help you to attract new guests? The answer here lies in the rapidly emerging trend towards sustainable travel. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the urgency of the climate crisis we face. As a result, 78% plan on staying in sustainable accommodation at least once in the coming year.

If you can reduce your business’s energy consumption through efficient appliances and processes, you’ll become an attractive option for this growing market of eco-conscious travellers.

Environmental benefits of energy efficiency 

Reducing your energy consumption is good for your bank balance, and even better for the environment. 

Collectively, we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. This is absolutely fundamental if we want to minimise and reverse potentially catastrophic environmental damage. By using less electricity, you reduce the volume of greenhouse gases that you release into the atmosphere and bring us closer to this goal.

And it’s not only our electricity consumption that we need to keep an eye on. You can often find water-saving models of appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and shower heads. By choosing these designs, you help to conserve a precious natural resource and reduce the energy we have to expend on processing water. 

How to tell if an appliance is energy-efficient

In the UK and the USA, home appliances have specific ratings applied so that consumers know how energy-efficient they are.

Look out for the energy label in the UK or EU

Image by Energy Label 2020 via energylabel.org.uk/for-consumers/product-leaflets/

In the UK and EU, electrical appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and TVs all come with a label that informs consumers about how energy-efficient they are.

In 2020, the label was simplified to make it even easier to understand how much energy each appliance is likely to use. Although energy labels vary between types of appliance, you’ll always see:

  • an energy efficiency rating, on a new scale from A-G
  • the appliance’s rate of energy consumption in kWh

It’s important to remember that an appliance’s energy efficiency rating doesn’t account for its size. So, a large fridge with a high efficiency rating may still use more energy than a smaller fridge with a low rating.

Generally, the best strategy is to select the smallest size of appliance that’s practical for you, and choose the option within this range that has the highest energy efficiency rating.


Choose Energy Star appliances in the USA

If your vacation rental business is based in the USA, you’ll need to look out for the Energy Star logo on electrical appliances. Energy Star runs in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency to certify products which meet energy efficiency standards.

When you’re shopping for your next washer-dryer, freezer, or even air conditioning system, you can ensure that you only browse energy saving options by using the Energy Star product finder. Here, you can see each appliance’s standard specifications, as well as its annual energy consumption.

We’re not suggesting that you immediately replace all of your electrical goods. This would be incredibly expensive for you, and would actually create more unnecessary waste. However, when it is time for you to replace each item, make sure to prioritise energy efficiency. Even if the more efficient choice is more expensive up front, it will save you significant cash in the long run by reducing your energy bills. It really is worth the investment.

LED light bulbs are always the most efficient choice

One set of items that you probably need to replace fairly frequently are the light bulbs in your short-term rental property. In this case, it’s really quite simple: LED bulbs are always the most energy-efficient light bulb choice.

Traditional incandescent bulbs produce light by sending enormous amounts of heat through a filament. In contrast, LEDs produce light by passing electrons over a semiconductor. Without needing to get too technical, this essentially means that LEDs can convert electricity into light energy, without also having to produce unnecessary heat energy. As a result, an LED uses far less electricity to produce the same amount of light.

This means that LED light bulbs can save you up to £15 per bulb per year. But will they create the same cosy atmosphere for your guests? We still sometimes associate energy saving light bulbs with a harsh glare, or a weak glow. However, modern LEDs produce the same quality of light, in the same range of colours, and with the same fittings, as incandescent and halogen bulbs. They emulate all the benefits of more traditional bulbs, at a fraction of the energy cost.

Adopt energy saving practices

Opting for energy saving light bulbs and electrical appliances is a brilliant place to start. From here, you can adopt new ways to conserve energy across your vacation rental operations.

You can consume even less energy by:

  • switching appliances off at the wall between guests – avoid spending an average of £65 per year powering appliances left on standby by simply switching them off completely whenever you don’t have guests in your property.
  • maintaining your electrical appliances – keeping your appliances in good working order ensures that they function as efficiently as possible.
  • regularly changing the filters in your HVAC system – a dirty filter reduces the efficiency of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, so make sure to change it every 2-3 months.
  • using smart technology – smart lighting systems, for example, can automatically switch off lights when there’s nobody in a room, meaning you don’t have to rely on your guests to be diligent.
  • insulating your rental property – proper insulation will help you to make huge savings on your heating bills, and will ensure that your guests stay warm even during the coldest of snaps.

These are just some of the practices you could adopt to save money and electricity in your short-term rental property. We’ve created the EnviroRental Sustainability Roadmap to help you take it further. Starting small, we walk you through practical, actionable strategies to embed sustainability into the heart of your business. Check out the Roadmap today to see what your next step could be.

Use your communications to spread the word

Once you’ve taken some meaningful steps to reduce your energy usage, it’s time to tell people how you’re doing it. More and more, we’re seeing a phenomenon called “greenhushing”, where businesses take sincere sustainable action but then don’t tell anyone about it.

Greenhushing actually limits our collective progress, because it means fewer people are inspired to start their own sustainability journeys. When your fellow vacation rental operators hear about the action you’re taking, they realise that environmentally-friendly operations are possible and practical. They see examples of sustainable strategies and timelines right in front of them. They also realise that you’ve raised the bar, and they need to up their own game.

Not to mention the fact that, in order for your green strategies to attract more eco-conscious guests, these guests need to know about what you’re doing. So, tell people about your new, energy-efficient dishwasher, the LED light bulbs you’re buying, and the smart technology you’re installing. Include the information:

  • on your direct booking site
  • in your listing
  • as part of your house manual or digital guidebook
  • on your social media
  • in your newsletter

Get loud and proud about the actions you’re taking, for the sake of your business and the environment.

Get started today with your EnviroRental Sustainability Roadmap

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