It’s no surprise that travelers these days are more environmentally conscious. They get peeved when they stay in vacation rentals that don’t meet their standards of “living green.”
Now, I’m not saying you need to buy all new EnergySTAR appliances or spend a ton of money installing solar panels, but there are some ways to greenify your vacation rental that don’t require too much time or money. Here are some of the simplest ones:
* Decrease water usage: Fix any leaky faucets and shower heads you have. And if you have a washer and dryer, and/or dishwasher, encourage guests to only run the machines with a full load.
* Reduce electricity: Use fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent light bulbs require 1/3 the electricity of standard light bulbs, and last much longer. (And they don’t make ’em so bright anymore!) Encourage guests to unplug appliances once they’re finished with them, too.
* Save landfill by setting up a compost area outside. You can make your own compost bin for only $15 (check SimpleMom.com)
* Limit energy usage: Reduce the need to blast the air conditioning or heating by making sure your windows and doors don’t leak air. You can use caulks and foams to seal everything up. E/The Environmental Magazine reports that “for each degree you raise or lower your thermostat, you can save anywhere from one to five percent on your cooling or heating bills.”
* Buy zero-impact furniture: When you need to buy some new furniture, buy used! Shop around on Craigslist or Freecycle. Not only will your new furniture be green-friendly, but it’ll cost less and have a little more character, too!
Now, some of the green initiatives you’ve taken may not be immediately obvious to your guests. I suggest including a note in your household manual explaining the green initiatives you’ve taken and how they can help. If they care about the environment even a little bit, they’re sure to appreciate the efforts you’ve taken (and might even tell their friends!)
For more ideas on how to greenify your vacation rental, check out these helpful sites:
* SimpleMom.com — Tips to Go Green at Home
Rebecca R is the founder of Inhabit Vacations, a travel company that discovers hip, unique vacation rentals with local flavor — and collects them online. For more tips on how to maintain (or find) vacation rentals, visit the Inhabit blog at http://blog.inhabitvacations.com.