[UK] Airbnb Energy Efficiency Actions

Louise493
Level 2
England, United Kingdom

[UK] Airbnb Energy Efficiency Actions

While as a Host I applaud the launch of Airbnb's Energy Efficiency Actions Fund, to collaborate with Hosts to find and support solutions  to preserve energy in our Airbnb homes, I am unsure what Airbnb is doing to educate guests? This is because, for all the will in the world, no amount of 'solutions' is going to stop guests leaving all the lights in the apartment burning day and night, or whacking up the central heating to the max and leaving it on all day like that, while they are out. For example, we recently had a group who lost their key after a big night out, so we drove at 5am in the morning to let them in, only to find the lights on in every room (and they had been out since 8pm the previous evening). In winter, we always arrive to stifling hot houses that have to be aired before they can be cleaned because it's like a sauna in the apartments. We leave signs up asking for consideration re the bills, but most generally don't care, as they are not their bills. (I should add, yes we have installed a spare key box outside the apartment now). I'm just curious to know if other Hosts have any ideas to combat the way guests use our utilities, which are costing us money. We have even considered 'mothballing' the apartments for a few months over winter, which we've never had to consider before. Many thanks, Louise

22 Replies 22
Adam201
Level 2
Draycott in the Clay, United Kingdom

Hi Louise,

 

I can also recommend the Nest thermostats, I have one of them at home and they are controllable from your phone via wi-fi, so you can adjust the heat from anywhere in the world. 

 

At our holiday let we have a hot tub, which guests frequently forget to replace the lid when they get out for the evening. I have now fitted a BWA Spa wi-fi unit to that too and I warn the guests that if they leave the lid open that the hot tub will send me an alarm and it will go into 'rest' mode and will be cold in the morning, it doesn't - I keep an eye on the temperature after 10:30pm and turn it down if they have obviously left it uncovered!

 

Fortunately we installed a biomass boiler some years ago, under the renewable heat incentive scheme, so until very recently we've not had to worry too much about the heating / hot water bills, but the was in Ukraine has meant that the price of wood pellets has gone up by 350% since March!.

 

Has anyone that applied for the Airbnb’s Sustainable Hosting Plan grant heard anything recently? I had an e-mail back from the Energy Saving Trust back on the 8th November saying they were considering my fast track application (as we already had a quote for an EV charger, a 5kw solar array and a Tesla Powerwall), but have heard nothing since.

 

Good luck,

Adam

Rachel2330
Level 2
Molesey, United Kingdom

I’m also keen to hear about anyone who has had any answers at all from the Sustainable Hosting fund. I’ve tried to follow the instructions about registering interest etc but have had ZERO response so far. 

Ralph78
Level 2
England, United Kingdom

Hi Rachel,

 

I'm pulling my hair out trying to get any communication to both my application to the airbnb fund (don't even know if my application is in the system) and a return email with answers to questions from the Energy savings trust that seems to be running for airbnb. 

 

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Ralph78 ditto. The emails go into a black hole I am afraid.

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Ralph78 @Rachel2330 Having heard nothing for weeks I was sent a document yesterday to sign and a letter was immediately issued with a £3000 grant. So the black hole mentioned above seems to have been filled in for me at least.

 

Ralph78
Level 2
England, United Kingdom

Thanks. I've found this before. The automation side of Airbnb works well (bookings and payments) but when it comes to having to handle a complaint or an issue its very superficial and there appears no depth to the organisation. it's a shame because on the surface all the right notes are played but not always are there actions being the tones.

 

Cheers anyway

 

John5097
Level 10
Charleston, SC

@Louise493 

You didn't mention what kind of heat you have, but a Nest thermostat has several options that could be useful. You can set the limit for how high or low for AC or Heat can be adjusted at the thermostat, or not allow access to be adjusted, while you can monitor the temp and adjust on the app.  Its pretty neat you can add sensors to other parts of the house and use those to be the desired temp settings and set schedules. For example at night might want to keep a desired temp in the bedroom, and can always see what the temp is at each location. 

I've also tried installing thermostats for LG ductless mini split that also had an option to set temp range limits but both didn't work properly. I put a lot of time into this and contacted manufacture but had too many bugs.

For the mini split my guest just have the remote control and I have a one page instructions that state to keep it no lower than 68 in AC and no higher than 74 in heat. It hardly uses any electricity. In fact my electric bill didn't change at all after installing it. 

Before that I had a basic thermometer and put the sensor in the apartment so could monitor the temp and humidity. I put a label on it "thermostat thermometer" mainly because I wanted to keep the temp comfortable.

Its also extremely hot and humid where I am and if guest left windows open with AC on the units can freeze up. Also don't want guest to turn off AC. While someone from a colder climate might decide to open windows.  

Louise493
Level 2
England, United Kingdom

Hi there - that's really helpful. We had been considering installing Nest. We have gas central heating with a thermostat on the hallway wall, which is just a dial that can be turned up or down manually by guests. I have found other Airbnb users buy plastic lock boxes that are specifically designed to sit over wall thermostats, you set the temperature on the thermostat, and then lock the box, so guests can't use it. But that seems to us a rather 'blunt instrument' and I think would annoy guests. 

 

The gas boiler in the cupboard also has dials you can manually turn up or down and we always set at medium and guess what? After each stay they've been turned up to max. So now we realise we also need to put a lock on the cupboard door that houses the boiler. So I think Nest might be a better alternative, otherwise we will be turning our properties into rather unfriendly environments with lots of locked areas! 

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Louise493 we have fitted lockable covers to our thermostats. Haven't had any reviews since but, t one honest, if we do get bad reviews and it puts the people off who want to set the heating at 30 degree then so be it.

John5097
Level 10
Charleston, SC

@Louise493 

You can check to see if your thermostat is compatible here. 

https://store.google.com/us/widget/compatibility/thermostat?pli=1

They work with wide range of regular type thermostats. Its easy to connect one yourself with the step by step instructions. Also just phone customer support which is really good and they will walk you through it step by step. You might even call them to see if its compatible. 

Instructions say to make sure to take a picture of the wires. Most thermostats can be configured to a wide range of heating or cooling application from furnaces, air conditioners, to heat pumps with auxiliary heating. Mine was a heat pump with aux heating.

 

For me the only mistake on the first time setting it up was the aux heat wire. But heat pumps have gotten so efficient that the aux heat didn't try to kick in until it got below freezing, then simply called back CS and the next tech had me send him a pic of the back and had me move one wire and all was good.

I highly recommend the Nest. I got the more expensive self learning one because it was more compatible, and turned off all the self learning features. The app is quite simple and intuitive. For example you don't want it heating up or down depending on if your phone is close by, so just check off that option, etc. You can still set schedules for times of day if you want. 

Although if the less expensive one has the options you need might also consider that. 

Yes I've seen where other host also like the Nest. 

Maybe the little sensor in the apartment also helps keep guest from turning it way up or down. I also try to have it very comfortable when they check in so they don't have to adjust it and even message them, and include what the temp range is in listing description. In the instructions say to only adjust a few degrees at a time.  

But I also agree that it would be helpful if Airbnb could set some guidelines. Although I'm not in a cold climate. For the same reason you wouldn't want guest to turn off heat when its below freezing, I wouldn't want them to turn off AC when they check out. I keep hearing that host expect guest to turn off everything when they aren't there. Get LED bulbs and just try to get them to keep it a reasonable temp. If not they will end up turning all the way up or down if they are hot or cold. 

Hope that helps! Feel free to tag me with any follow ups! Good luck! 

Sudsrung0
Level 10
Rawai, Thailand

@Louise493 

 

It's definitely a huge problem the guest attitude is I Pay I use,

 

Here in Phuket our electric went up 300% over the years doing STR the amount of electric that wasted is huge, here we need A/C because of he heat,

I dont mind people having it on but to leave all the windows and doors open is crazy, plus it's not good for the A/C units they freeze up.

I also have a condo which is 57sqm and it has 2 A/C units in there and people have it like fridge complete waste.

Trying to educate the guest to save energy is not easy,

We have some villas and we used to charge extra for electric, you watch when they know they have to pay how they turn everything off,

We were also getting bad reviews over charging but we didnt hide anything even written in the contract they signed on arrival we even read the meter together.

Louise493
Level 2
England, United Kingdom

Hi there - thank you so much for your reply. I know a lot of villa vacation rentals in Europe charge extra for electricity and water which makes total sense. I agree with you that guests who feel they cannot have the heat or cold that they want will leave bad reviews, it's almost like we can't win either way? A previous commentator suggested I buy a Nest system which will allow me to remotely operate, and fix, the thermostat which I am going to look into. 

Eva366
Level 2
Bristol, TN

Hi Louise, do you have a link to share to the form to apply for the energy efficiency grant? I can't find it anywhere! Thanks, Eva

Louise493
Level 2
England, United Kingdom

Hi Eva - it was an Airbnb UK only energy efficiency programme with a £1 million fund to help Hosts in the UK to better insulate their homes. It comes off the back of a real energy crisis here in the UK currently, as a result of the war in Ukraine where our gas supplies have been (and continue to be) disrupted.

 

The majority of homes in the UK have gas central heating so it's going to have quite an impact over winter, where the majority of Airbnb's have gas central heating (for example, I have it in all 5 of mine) and guests just blatantly turn the thermostat to the highest setting, leave it like that all day and night and when they are warm, instead of turning it down they open all the windows. It's so wasteful and also very costly to us. Here is the text of the invitation I was sent. The webinar took place and Airbnb has now rolled out the grant to Hosts in the UK. It is for a maximum of £3,000 per host to go towards having things like double or triple glazing installed, solar panels, extra cladding in roof spaces etc. Here is the text of the email I received, apologies there is no link. Hope this helps. 

 

Dear Louise,

Airbnb is delighted to invite you for an intimate, invitation-only Zoom webinar with Airbnb’s Community Leaders in the UK, a small group of UK Superhosts and club members, to share more information on Airbnb’s Sustainable Hosting Plan. A program that will support UK hosts with up to £3,000 grants to help improve the energy efficiency of their listing and save on their energy bill this winter.

Please join us if you want to hear more about the grant scheme and be the first to register your interest in the Airbnb grant.

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Louise493 By the way - Where do I read about the Airbnb Efficiency Actions Fund?

Jenny
Community Manager
Community Manager
Galashiels, United Kingdom

Hi @Mike-And-Jane0 

 

I might be a bit late to the party here, but if you were wanting to sign up for the grant, you can do so here - as can anyone else in the UK!

 

Jenny

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Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

Thanks @Jenny . I have already applied and am waiting for a website to be built apparently. Its due later in November

Louise493
Level 2
England, United Kingdom

Hi there - here's the text of the email I was sent. I think you should have now received an email from Airbnb (as a UK Host) about the scheme and the max £3k grants? 

 

The webinar took place and Airbnb has now rolled out the grant to Hosts in the UK. It is for a maximum of £3,000 per host to go towards having things like double or triple glazing installed, solar panels, extra cladding in roof spaces etc. Here is the text of the email I received, apologies there is no link. Hope this helps. 

 

Dear Louise,

Airbnb is delighted to invite you for an intimate, invitation-only Zoom webinar with Airbnb’s Community Leaders in the UK, a small group of UK Superhosts and club members, to share more information on Airbnb’s Sustainable Hosting Plan. A program that will support UK hosts with up to £3,000 grants to help improve the energy efficiency of their listing and save on their energy bill this winter.

Please join us if you want to hear more about the grant scheme and be the first to register your interest in the Airbnb grant.

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Louise493 @Jenny It may be just me but there appears to be radio silence on these grants. I applied on November 12 and was told a website was targeted for end November. Has it been finished and I am being ignored?

Any help welcome.

Jenny
Community Manager
Community Manager
Galashiels, United Kingdom

Hi @Mike-And-Jane0 

 

Apologies for the late response on this.

 

Any information and FAQs about this should be here.

 

Jenny

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