Airbnb offers grants to help hosts improve their energy efficiency

Airbnb hosts will be able to apply for grants of up to £3,000 to help them improve their energy efficiency.

The service has launched a ‘Sustainable Hosting Scheme’, with a £1million fund to support hosts who want to take measures such as replacing a boiler, insulating a roof, walls or floor, installing heat pumps or adding solar panels.

Energy efficiency measures can help people save money on their bills in the long run, but they also come with upfront costs that can be especially hard to come by as the cost of living rises.

Airbnb, which connects people looking for vacation rentals with landlords, said it will work with Energy Saving Trust to provide a personalized home energy efficiency check and action plan. for hosts, offering information on potential steps they could take to improve the efficiency of their home.

Airbnb hosts could use the grants to help pay for the cost of a new boiler (Rui Vieira/PA)

The new scheme will be open to those who are based in the UK and who have completed two or more stays in the past year, according to Airbnb, which pledged last year to meet the goal of operating as net zero business by 2030.

Hosts willing to participate in the sustainable hosting plan, also launched by Airbnb in France, can first register their interest in a subsidy and find out if they are eligible.

Those who want to make improvements can be reported to local installers and can receive a grant of £1,000 – or £3,000 if they’re a ‘superhost’ – towards their renovation bill. Superhosts are Airbnb’s highest rated hosts.

If people already have a contractor they want to use, they can request a quote from them and send it to Energy Saving Trust for verification.

The terms also state that Airbnb grants can only cover up to 90% of the cost of renovations and that the grant must be used for energy upgrades and cannot be used to cover someone’s energy bill.

Linda Ayanwale, a super host from London who is considering applying for the scheme, said: ‘I bought my property with accommodation in mind and I am sharing space in the loft to help cover some of my mortgage repayments.

“My property is rated D for energy efficiency and is poorly insulated, so there is room for improvement. I want to add better insulation and plan to apply for the Airbnb grant to help cover the costs .”

Applications will remain open until the grants have been awarded and, in accordance with Airbnb requirements, all improvement work must be completed by November 2, 2023.

As part of the initiative, once a host is ready to proceed with renovations, they will send their quote to the Energy Saving Trust for approval and sign a letter to have the work completed by November 2023.

They will receive the grant once the work has been completed and proof of this has been received by the Energy Saving Trust.

A wire transfer of the awarded grant will be issued directly to hosts after they submit proof of work, which could, for example, include a copy of a bank statement and an updated energy performance certificate.

According to Energy Saving Trust, a grant of £1,000 could cover around a quarter of the cost of a typical boiler replacement and a sixth of the cost of installing solar panels.

Amanda Cupples, Managing Director for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said: “More than a third of hosts across the UK say they are hosting to cope with the rising cost of living.

“Faced with the increase in energy bills, we want to provide more support to hosts by helping them improve their energy efficiency and reduce their bills in the long term.

“Beginning to improve energy efficiency can seem like a challenge. Our sustainable hosting plan will provide hosts with the support needed to take the first step and make positive changes.”

Inga Jirgensone, Business Development Manager at Energy Saving Trust, said: “Improving the energy efficiency of our homes and switching to low carbon heating systems is the fastest way to cut energy costs, now and long-term.

“These steps are also crucial to reducing carbon emissions as the UK goes to net zero.

“We know the value of personal advice to help people approach renovation and ensure the best return for the investment. We look forward to working with Airbnb to help build a more sustainable future for hosts. »

Earlier this week, trade association UK Finance proposed a range of measures to help tackle the challenge of climate change, as well as rising energy bills and the cost of living.

UK Finance has suggested that stamp duty rebates should be given to property owners who make energy efficiency improvements within two years of buying a property.

David Postings, chief executive of UK Finance, said earlier this week: “Climate change is the number one public policy priority for this and future generations.

“The challenge we face means that we can no longer simply consider our options, but must instead see strong action. In housing, this means tackling the impact of heating the UK’s 28 million homes.

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