22 Apr 2022
Top Five Eco-Friendly Upgrades for Your Hawai’i Rental
As a vacation rental homeowner, it’s essential that you stay up to date on trends in Hawai’i tourism. While some trends come and go so quickly that they don’t warrant major upgrades, a few are likely to stick around and even change travelers’ priorities in the long-run.
A recent sustainability article states that over 87% of Americans regard sustainable travel as somewhat important or very important, a number that will undoubtedly grow this year. As such, vacation rental homeowners with eco-friendly properties can expect to attract more travelers than those with less eco-friendly listings.
In light of this shift, and in the spirit of Earth Day on April 22nd, Hawai’i Life’s property management team is sharing our top tips on environmentally-friendly upgrades and improvements that can make your Hawai’i vacation rental home more marketable as the demand for sustainable travel offerings continues. Let’s take a look!
1. Solar Panels
The average energy bill in Hawai'i is $3,856 per year. If you want to completely eliminate that cost over the course of a lifetime and attract eco-friendly guests, consider installing solar panels. In Hawai’i, the cost of an installed residential solar system ranges from a cash purchase of 4kW for $11,636 to a financed purchase of 10kW for $27,371.
Helpful hint: 1kW = 1,000 watts of power.
A 26% federal solar tax credit is available for purchased home solar systems installed by December 31, 2022. And the solar panels last for anywhere from 25 to 30 years, making them an exceptional investment.
2. Appliance Upgrades
Before you get intimidated by the price tag on a new, ENERGY STAR-rated appliance, consider the value behind that rating. ENERGY STAR-rated appliances are, as the name implies, more energy-efficient. As such, less greenhouse gasses are released into the environment during the energy production process.
To impress eco-conscious guests, install motion-activated lights that only turn on once movement is detected and turn off in the absence of movement. Ideal for bathrooms and outdoor spaces, motion-activated lights can decrease the chance that guests will leave lights on accidentally and equal savings on your rental’s energy bills.
Replace inefficient appliances with EPA-approved air conditioners, dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines. Invest in ENERGY STAR-certified light bulbs, which can reduce the use of energy by 20% to 25% and last 15 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Not only will you feel good knowing that you’re protecting the planet by using 10% to 50% less energy every year, but you may save as much as $500 on your annual energy bill.
3. Paper & Water Conservation
The U.S. consumes an average of over 70.6 million metric tons of paper annually. By making a few changes as a vacation rental owner, you can be part of reducing that number. Start by purchasing toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues made from 100% recycled paper. Just be sure not to compromise on the quality of these amenities. To keep the guest experience at a five-star level, look for sustainable options that are also soft, sturdy, and lint-free.
And let’s face it, even the most environmentally-conscious guest may be a little lax when they’re on vacation. They may not wait until the washing machine or dishwasher are full to run a load. Why not help them conserve water by investing in an outdoor shower? An outdoor shower can reuse good quality water instantly, keep your utility bill down, keep mold and sand out of your actual home, and be a special experience for guests who appreciate connecting with nature.
Inside the home, consider installing faucet aerators and low-flow faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms. Since this should only set you back $10 to $20 per upgrade, you can advance your sustainability efforts and save over 2,700 gallons of water annually without breaking the bank!
When it comes to the bathrooms, low-flow showerheads are the way to go. And toilets can be replaced with WaterSense-labeled models. While an energy-efficient, EPA-approved toilet may mean spending between $150 and $300 up front, you’ll likely conserve a remarkable 13,000 gallons of water per year. That’s a savings of $130 annually!
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The state of Hawai’i has banned single-use plastic bags, and options for recycling plastics are limited or non-existent in some counties. As such, it’s imperative that you offer guests a green alternative to disposable plastic.
Keep kitchen cabinets stocked with glass and metal utensils and tableware, as well as reusable water bottles. Replace plastic soap dispensers in the kitchen and bathrooms with stone or glass dispensers that can be refilled over and over again.
While making your vacation rental home more sustainable will save you money, that’s not what will get the attention of eco-conscious guests. To help them have the green experience they’re after, here are a few little steps you can take that will go a long way:
Put out recycling bins that are clearly marked, providing information on what should be recycled and what shouldn’t. If you have guests that are staying long-term, consider leaving instructions for them detailing if and when recycling is picked up, so they can easily participate.
And include a reusable bag or two in welcome baskets. Not only will guests appreciate using the bags while shopping in Hawai’i, but they’ll also be reminded of their environmentally-friendly accommodations every time they use the bag after returning home!
5. Local Products & Services
Eco-conscious guests will appreciate the extra effort you make to furnish, decorate, and stock your vacation rental with products that are locally-made, sustainably sourced, or both. Think toiletries crafted from organic, local ingredients and linens that are made in Hawai’i!
When it comes to house cleaning and maintenance, hiring local is the most sustainable choice. By supporting local, small businesses, your rental won’t be contributing to the large carbon footprint that larger corporations create. And when property management services are provided by local businesses, your service providers won’t have to travel as far to reach your property and will in turn make less of an impact on the environment.
Hawai’i Life homeowners don’t have to go it alone when it comes to finding local cleaning and maintenance teams. We leverage our long-standing relationships with vetted local service partners and professional contractors to care for your Hawai’i rental property. And our property management services include the arrangement and supervision of housekeeping, yard maintenance, repair technicians, gas delivery, septic tank inspection, window washing, carpet cleaning, and other services.
Connect with Us
By making some or all of these eco-friendly upgrades to your Hawai’i vacation rental, you can reduce your carbon footprint, lower expenses, differentiate your property from the competition, save money, and maximize your returns. Sustainable travel, however, is more than just a trend to capitalize on - As a Hawai’i luxury rental host, it’s a change for the better that you can be part of. Your guests and the planet will thank you!
At Hawai’i Life Vacations, we specialize in the management of luxury properties and are experienced in catering to travelers’ unique priorities. Our team makes your real estate investment our top priority, and we’re available to help every step of the way. For more ideas on how to make eco-friendly upgrades to your Hawai’i vacation rental, coordinate competitive or discounted rates, and attract more prospective guests, connect with us today by email or phone at Vacations@HawaiiLife.com or 855.447.3685.