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How Airbnb Can Increase the Sustainability of Your Home

By Laura BourlandRise Writer
Feb 8, 2019

Throughout your 30-year mortgage, the face of your home will change considerably. In the early years, your home may have extra rooms, just waiting to be filled with children and out-of-town guests. And, as your children grow up and move out, those rooms will become vacant again.

While some homeowners opt for sustainable solutions, like modular homes, that make it easy to upgrade and downsize a home, that’s not an option for others. 

What makes renting out your home more sustainable? It’s about resource utilization. Businesses look at how well their capital is utilized. Airlines, for example, rely on aircraft utilization as an important metric, as a high aircraft cost can be spread over more trips and passengers, lowering the costs per available seat mile. In that respect, a sizeable well-utilized home is much more resource-efficient than a small under-utilized home.

So how does Airbnb contribute to a more sustainable society? By empowering homeowners with opportunities to fill unused space and subsidize monthly bills. According to reports by the Airbnb Sustainability Advisory Board, in 2016, homeowners in North America and Europe contributed to energy savings equal to 900,000 additional homes, a water-use reduction equaling 10,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and helped reduce greenhouse gases equivalent to the output of 1.8 million cars. Now that’s sustainable!

Environmentally Sustainable Tourism

Hotels are often concentrated in city centers, significantly impacting the city’s traffic, businesses, and resources. On the other hand, Airbnb rentals fight trends in mass tourism by distributing tourists across a larger geographic area.

In fact, “at least two-thirds of all guest arrivals on Airbnb take place outside of traditional tourist areas.” Dispersed rentals decrease traffic and our overall impact on the environment. 

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits to the community is the tourism Airbnb renters drive to smaller towns and outlying neighborhoods. Many homeowners offering rental options provide their guests with recommendations for coffee shops, restaurants, entertainment, and more near their homes. Doing so brings new business to small business owners, helping smaller communities thrive.

“Airbnb is built on the foundation that home-sharing delivers authentic experiences for guests while benefiting local people, places, and communities. We firmly believe our community is part of the solution to the challenges of mass tourism and can deliver sustainable growth that benefits everyone.”– Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb Co-Founder and CSO. 

Sustainable Solutions for Unused Space

If you have a guest room that sits empty at least 50% of the year, you’re effectively throwing away money on the space itself, heating and cooling, and keeping the room furnished and clean. Homeowners can make better use of unused spaces by making them available to travelers on Airbnb.

Airbnb allows for all kinds of rentals, including extra rooms in your home, apartments with a separate entrance, and even unused yard space. Here are just a few ideas for sustainably renting out your extra space:

  • Individual Rooms. Business travelers and college students look for homey bedrooms to rent out both for long-term stays and short trips.
  • Private Apartments. Back bedrooms and a new 2nd floor make for a desirable apartment rental with the addition of a private entrance. 
  • RV and Tent Camping. Have a big backyard or large property? Campers will gladly rent out a square of grass or a parking spot for a weekend.
  • Guesthouses. An addition like a new guesthouse, ADU, or tiny house in your backyard can pay for itself quickly and provide a desirable space for single renters.
  • Tree House Rentals. Airbnb is all about the unique, and travelers will pay big money to rent out a tree house that’s much more fun to stay in than the average hotel room. Get creative!

An Extra Source of Income

Airbnb hosts, on average, keep 97% of every dollar paid by renters, significantly contributing to covering monthly home expenses. Some homeowners who regularly rent out their unused spaces can cover their entire mortgage simply by making those spaces available on Airbnb. Others use the income to pay utilities that may be otherwise wasted on empty rooms.

If you travel for business regularly or enjoy taking long vacations, you might even consider renting your entire home out while you’re away. Doing so ensures your home doesn’t go to waste while you’re out of town and can bring in extra income to pay for your travels.

A More Sustainable Stay for Guests

Unlike hotels that clean their guest rooms and linens daily, Airbnb hosts may opt to only clean once per stay. Travelers who choose to rent on Airbnb instead of a more traditional hotel significantly reduce water use.

Another excellent benefit of renting on Airbnb is the ability to introduce travelers to more sustainable lifestyles. Renters have the option to book stays on rural farms, in smart homesnet-zero homes, and just about any other kind of home you can think of. 

City dwellers may be otherwise unfamiliar with sustainable living before visiting your sustainable home and witnessing first-hand how you reduce your utility consumption with low-flow toilets and faucets and grow your food in a backyard garden.

Many people who experience a more sustainable way of life on vacation bring those ideas home and begin living more sustainably as a result. It’s all about opening their eyes to just how simple sustainability can be!

How to Get Started with Airbnb

Are you interested in renting your unused space? Airbnb makes it easy to get started and covers every booking with the protection of 1 million dollars in potential property damage and another 1 million dollars insurance to protect you against potential accidents. 

Start renting your space in 3 easy steps:                                 

  1. List your area for free. Create a free account, take pictures of your unused room, and list it for free. It only takes a few minutes.
  2. Customize your listing. Airbnb allows homeowners to choose when their spaces are available, set their prices, and define requirements, like whether pets are allowed and how many guests may stay at any given time.
  3. Welcome guests. Interested renters must be approved by homeowners before they can book your space, putting you in the driver’s seat to determine with whom you are comfortable inviting into your home.

You’ll only be charged 3% of each booking on Airbnb, one of the lowest rates in the rental industry, allowing you to keep 97% of the price you set yourself. Better yet, that money is transferred to you through PayPal or direct deposit as soon as your guest checks in! 

Bottom Line

If you have any unused space in your home, from an extra bedroom to a large backyard, you could improve your home sustainability simply by renting it out to someone else. Renting on Airbnb is easy, provides additional income, and can drive tourism to the small businesses in your community. You can choose how often you’d like to rent out your space, screen interested parties before accepting a booking, and introduce guests to a more sustainable way of living. Give it a try today!

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-05-27T04:41:01+0000
Laura Bourland

Article by:

Laura Bourland

Laura grew up in the California suburbs, far removed from environmentalism, but nature always has a way. She uprooted her life in 2015, moving to the countryside of Washington to live a more sustainable and simple life on 12 acres. She and her fiancee are learning on the job as they attempt everything from gardening and natural pest control to eco-friendly building and home improvement.