Why Green Certification for a Short Term Rental?

Green Certification Puts Your Short Term Rental a Notch Above Other Listings

Updated 7/2023

As a vacation rental homeowner or host, obtaining green certification can greatly enhance your property’s appeal and contribute to environmental stewardship. While getting a green seal is certainly not a requirement to providing a mindful guest experience, it has some benefits. This blog post will explore the advantages of obtaining an eco-certification for short term rentals, how to get certified, and the positive impacts it has on hosts and especially valued guests.

We will delve into various certification programs available for vacation rentals, as well as discuss key sustainable practices that you can implement in your property and business practices. You’ll learn about the step-by-step process of getting green-certified and explore the advantages this certification brings to both hosts and guests striving for wellness travel.

Finally, we’ll share effective marketing strategies that highlight your commitment to eco-friendly accommodation, setting you apart from other listings in platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com. By understanding and embracing eco-certification, you’re not only investing in the future success of your vacation rental but also contributing to a healthier planet and guest experience.

Understand the Benefits of Green Certification

Green certification kitchen

It is important to identify methods of differentiating yourself from the competition while drawing more guests to your property. One effective way to achieve this is by obtaining an eco-certification, which demonstrates your commitment to sustainable living, energy saving, and environmental responsibility.

For example, some certifications offer an eco-rating program that assesses properties based on their sustainability efforts in areas such as energy sustainability, water conservation, waste reduction, and community outreach. By participating, you can showcase your dedication towards creating a positive impact on both local communities and ecosystems. This can boost your credibility of mindfully supporting wellness travelers.

Support Guests’ Wellness

Eco-friendly certification and sustainable rentals that prioritize the environment not only appeal to mindful travelers, but also offer numerous health benefits for guests. Choosing to stay in an environmentally-conscious property means improved indoor air quality through the use of low-VOC materials, paint, and furniture. By limiting the use of conventional building materials that emit toxins and allergens harmful to respiratory health, guests can enjoy a healthier living space while on their stay.

Moreover, sustainable short term rental homes often incorporate natural and sustainable design elements, such as increased natural light, greenery, and improved ventilation. These features contribute to a more comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, which can have a positive impact on guests’ mental well-being.

Additionally, many sustainable short-term rentals promote the use of organic bedding and non-toxic cleaning products, air-purifiers, and water filtration systems, further reducing guests’ exposure to harmful chemicals. By prioritizing guest health and wellness, certified vacation homes provide an enhanced travel experience that extends beyond environmental considerations. Why not give your guest a truly rejuvenated stay?

Achieve Competitive Advantage

  • Eco-conscious wellness travelers: With the rise of eco-tourism, many wellness travelers are actively seeking vacation rentals that align with their values. A certification can help you appeal to these environmentally-minded guests who prioritize sustainable practices when choosing where they stay.
  • Listing differentiation: As more hosts join platforms like Airbnb or VRBO every day, having an eco certification sets you apart from other listings and makes your property more attractive in comparison.
  • Direct bookings selling point: If your have a direct booking site or are thinking of starting one, a green certification can give you the niche you are looking for.
  • Increase bookings: Guests often prefer certified rentals over non-certified ones due to their commitment to reducing carbon footprints; thus leading to increased bookings for verifiable eco-properties.

Promote Cost Savings & Efficiency

Beyond attracting new guests, implementing sustainable practices during operations also has tangible benefits for homeowners themselves:

  1. Reduced operational costs: Energy-efficient appliances, water-saving fixtures, and other eco-friendly measures can lead to significant savings on utility bills.
  2. Incentives & rebates: Many local governments offer incentives or rebates for implementing sustainable practices in your rental property. These financial benefits can help offset the initial investment required to make your home more environmentally friendly.

The benefits of green business certification are numerous and can help your rental stand out from the competition. By understanding the benefits of certification, you’ll be well-equipped to elevate your vacation rental through sustainable living and attract a wider range of guests seeking eco-conscious properties.

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Overview of Third-Party Certification Programs

Green certification home

Sustainable certification for vacation homes or short-term rentals is a designation awarded to properties that meet specific environmental conservation standards. These certifications aim to promote eco-friendly practices in the tourism industry, reduce the environmental impact of the vacation rental market, promote the use of renewable energy, and encourage property owners to adopt more sustainable practices.

There are several sustainable certification rating systems available for vacation homes and short-term rentals, with varying criteria and requirements. Some of the most prominent programs include:

Sustonica: Sustonica is the first sustainability certification dedicated to short-term rentals. Achieve at least 20% of their criteria and display the badge on your short-term rental listings. It’s only $54 (€49) per year, and doesn’t require big investments or structural changes.

LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): A globally recognized green building standard certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED rating system provides a framework for creating energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable buildings, including vacation homes and short-term rentals.

Green Key: An international eco-label for the tourism industry, focusing on hotels, hostels, campsites, holiday parks, and vacation homes. The Green Key program sets out standards for energy management, water conservation, waste reduction, and responsible sourcing of building products, among others.

EarthCheck: An environmental certification and benchmarking program for the travel and tourism industry. It assesses the environmental performance of properties, including vacation homes and short-term rentals, in areas such as energy and water conservation, waste management, and biodiversity conservation.

Green Globe: A worldwide certification program for sustainable tourism, which includes vacation homes and short-term rentals. It evaluates properties based on 44 core criteria, including energy and water conservation, waste management, and social responsibility.

Energy Star: A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that certifies energy-efficient products, buildings, and homes. Vacation homes and short-term rentals can earn the Energy Star certification by meeting strict energy performance standards set by the EPA.

To obtain a green certification, property owners typically need to meet specific criteria, undergo an assessment or audit, and maintain their eco-friendly practices through regular monitoring and reporting. By choosing a verifiable eco-property or short-term rental, guests can support sustainable tourism practices and minimize their environmental impact while traveling.

Tips for Choosing the Right Certification Program:

  • Select a reputable organization with a proven track record in the industry.
  • Choose a program that aligns with your property’s sustainability goals and objectives.
  • Consider the costs associated with obtaining certification, including application fees, ongoing membership dues, and any required improvements to your property.

By selecting an appropriate sustainable certification program for your vacation rental or Airbnb short-term rental, you’ll be well on your way to attracting eco-conscious travelers and contributing positively to global sustainability efforts. Eco-certification programs provide a great opportunity for vacation rental homeowners and hosts to make their property more sustainable, while also increasing its value. By implementing the right practices, you can easily elevate your rental through certification.

Eco-certification programs can help elevate vacation rentals and Airbnb short-term rentals through sustainable living. LEED, Green Key Global, and the Eco-Certified Accommodation Program by Ecotourism Australia are popular options for hospitality properties looking to demonstrate their commitment to eco-friendly practices. It’s important to choose a reputable program that aligns with your sustainability goals and to consider associated costs.

Key Aspects of Green Standards and Certification

Energy Efficiency

Achieving energy conservation is a crucial aspect of certification. Vacation homes and short-term rentals can incorporate various measures to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy-saving appliances and lighting: Replace conventional appliances and lighting fixtures with energy-efficient models, such as those with ENERGY STAR ratings. LED bulbs, for example, consume less energy and last longer than incandescent or CFL bulbs.

Insulation and energy-efficient windows: Proper insulation and high-quality windows can significantly reduce heat loss and lower energy consumption for heating and cooling. Look for energy-efficient window options like double-glazing, low-E glass, or windows with a high R-value.

Renewable energy Consider installing renewable energy systems such as solar panels or wind turbines to generate clean electricity for your property. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but can also save you money on utility bills in the long run.

Water Conservation

Water conservation is an essential component of certification. Vacation homes and short-term rentals can implement various strategies to conserve water.

Low-flow fixtures and appliances: Install low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets to reduce water usage. Additionally, opt for water-efficient appliances like washing machines and dishwashers that consume less water per cycle.

Rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse: Collect rainwater and repurpose greywater from showers, sinks, and washing machines for non-potable uses such as irrigation or toilet flushing. This reduces the demand for freshwater resources.

Drought-resistant landscaping: Choose native plants and drought-tolerant species for outdoor landscaping to minimize the need for irrigation.

Waste Reduction

Reducing waste is another essential aspect of certification, as it helps to minimize the environmental impact of your vacation home or short-term rental.

Recycling and composting programs: Set up designated bins for recycling and composting to encourage guests to sort their waste properly. Provide clear instructions on what materials can be recycled or composted and how to do so.

Eliminating single-use plastics: Replace disposable plastic items with reusable or biodegradable alternatives. For example, provide reusable shopping bags, metal or bamboo cutlery, and glass or stainless steel water bottles for guest use.

Responsible waste disposal: Ensure that hazardous waste, such as batteries or electronic devices, is disposed of according to local regulations. This prevents harmful substances from contaminating the environment. 

Environmental Stewardship

Vacation homes and short-term rentals pursuing green certification should also demonstrate environmental stewardship by minimizing their impact on local ecosystems.

Protecting local biodiversity: Choose landscaping options that support local wildlife, such as native plants and birdhouses. Avoid using harmful pesticides or herbicides that could harm beneficial insects or other species.

Sustainable building materials: Opt for eco-friendly and locally sourced materials when constructing or renovating your property. This reduces the environmental impact of transportation and supports local economies.

Minimizing pollution and emissions: Implement practices to reduce air, water, and noise pollution. This may include using electric or hybrid vehicles for transportation, installing efficient heating and cooling systems, and properly treating wastewater before discharge.

By focusing on these key aspects of certification, property owners can significantly reduce the environmental impact of their vacation homes or short-term rentals while offering a healthier, more sustainable experience for their guests.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products & Amenities

  • Biodegradable cleaning supplies: Choose environmentally friendly non-toxic cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals and biodegradable.
  • Organic toiletries: Provide guests with organic or eco-friendly toiletries, such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap.
  • Reusable shopping bags: Offer reusable shopping bags for guests to use during their stay to reduce plastic waste.
  • Clean air: Install a whole house air purifier or decorate the space with air purifying plants for the best breathability.

Making these sustainable changes not only benefits the environment but also enhances your property’s appeal to environmentally conscious travelers. By implementing these practices, you’ll be one step closer to obtaining certification for your vacation rental.

To obtain eco-certification and attract environmentally-conscious guests, vacation rental owners should implement sustainable practices such as using energy-efficient appliances, reducing water consumption with low-flow faucets and toilets, relying on renewable energy like solar panels or wind turbines, and providing eco-friendly cleaning products and amenities. These changes not only benefit the environment but also save on operational costs while enhancing the property’s appeal to environmentally conscious travelers.

5 Steps to Get Certified

Green certification home

Obtaining green certification level for your vacation rental is a straightforward process that involves researching the various certifications available, implementing sustainable practices, and undergoing an assessment. Follow these steps to get started on your residential building:

  1. Choose the right certification program: There are several verification programs tailored specifically for vacation rentals and short term rentals. Some popular options include Green Key, Travelife, and Sustainable Travel International’s GreenLeaders Program. Research each program to determine which one aligns best with your property type and sustainability goals. 
  2. Implement sustainable practices: Before applying for a level of certification, ensure you have incorporated eco-friendly measures into your rental operations as outlined in Key Aspects of Green Certification section of this blog post.
  3. Gather documentation: Most certifying organizations require evidence of your sustainable efforts, such as utility bills showing reduced energy consumption or receipts for environmentally friendly products purchased. Compile all necessary documents before starting the application process.
  4. Contact the certifying organization: Reach out to your chosen organization via their website or email address provided on their contact page. Enquire with the verifying body about any fees that may be associated with attaining certification.
  5. Schedule an assessment (if required): If required by the certifying body, schedule an on-site visit from a representative who will assess whether your property meets their criteria for being considered “green.” Be prepared to showcase all implemented changes during this visit.

Once you have successfully completed the certification process, proudly display your green credentials on your property listing and marketing materials to attract eco-conscious travelers. Remember that maintaining your certification may require periodic reassessments or updates to stay in compliance with evolving sustainability standards. Getting certified is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and differentiate yourself from other vacation rental hosts.

Obtaining a green certification for your vacation rental involves selecting an appropriate certification program that aligns with your sustainability goals, implementing eco-friendly practices in your operations, gathering necessary documents to prove your efforts, contacting the certifying organization, and undergoing an assessment, if required. Successfully completing this process not only emphasizes your commitment to sustainability but also distinguishes your property, attracting eco-conscious travelers and potentially enhancing your business.

5 Key Benefits of Green Certification

Obtaining a certification for your vacation rental property can offer numerous benefits, both to you as the host and to your guests. Here are some key advantages:

Attracting Eco-Conscious Travelers

With an increasing number of wellness travelers seeking sustainable travel options, having a verifiable eco-property will make your rental business more appealing to this growing market segment. This could lead to higher occupancy rates and better reviews from satisfied guests.

Reducing Operational Costs

Sustainable practices often result in lower utility bills, as energy-efficient appliances consume less electricity and water-saving measures reduce consumption. Additionally, recycling programs can help minimize waste disposal costs. These savings can be passed on to guests through competitive pricing or reinvested into further improving the guest experience.

Enhancing Brand Reputation

Achieving green certification demonstrates that you are committed not only to providing excellent guest experience but also to making a positive impact on the environment and local community. Eco-friendly rentals tend to receive favorable publicity, which may lead potential guests who value sustainability efforts to choose your property over others.

Contributing to Global Sustainability Efforts

Climate change mitigation is essential, so every step towards reducing your rental’s environmental footprint contributes to global efforts. By implementing sustainable practices and obtaining eco-certification, you are playing a part in preserving our planet for future generations.

Supporting Local Communities and Ecosystems

Green-certified rentals often prioritize sourcing products and services from local suppliers, which can help support the surrounding community economically. Furthermore, employing environmentally-friendly landscaping strategies can result in more vibrant ecosystems by nurturing native flora and fauna.

Certification offers many benefits to vacation rental hosts, such as improved marketing potential and enhanced sustainability. By implementing these practices into your rental business, you can take the next step in elevating your listing by learning how to market it effectively.

Green certification for vacation rentals provides key benefits including attracting eco-conscious travelers, reducing operational costs through sustainable practices, enhancing brand reputation, contributing to global sustainability efforts, and supporting local communities and ecosystems. By obtaining this certification, you not only improve your rental’s marketability but also promote sustainability and local community engagement, thereby creating a positive impact beyond your property.

How to Market Your Eco-Certified Rental

Once you have implemented sustainable practices and obtained green certification for your vacation rental, it’s time to market your eco-friendly property effectively. By showcasing your commitment to sustainability, you can attract more eco-conscious travelers and increase bookings.

Create a Compelling Listing

Your listing should highlight the key features of your verifiable eco-property that make it stand out from other properties. Include information about energy-efficient appliances, water-saving measures, renewable energy used in the property, and any local initiatives or partnerships supporting sustainability efforts. Don’t forget to mention the specific certification program you are part of.

Leverage Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook offer excellent opportunities for sharing beautiful images of your property along with engaging stories about its sustainable features. Use relevant hashtags such as #ecofriendlyrental or #sustainabletravel to reach a wider audience interested in environmentally responsible vacation properties.

Partner with Eco-Friendly Travel Agencies & Websites

To further expand your reach among eco-conscious travelers, consider partnering with travel agencies specializing in promoting sustainable tourism options or websites dedicated to featuring eco-friendly places to stay like BookDifferent.com (Europe-based). These platforms can help connect you directly with guests who prioritize staying at environmentally friendly rentals during their travels.

Showcase Guest Testimonials & Reviews

  • Gather feedback from previous guests highlighting their positive experiences related to the sustainable aspects of your rental.
  • Include these testimonials in your listing and share them on social media to demonstrate the value of choosing a green-certified property.

By effectively marketing your certified green vacation rental, you can attract more eco-conscious travelers, increase bookings, and contribute to global sustainability efforts while enjoying the financial benefits of reduced operational costs.

Marketing an eco-certified rental involves creating a compelling listing that underscores your property’s sustainable features, leveraging social media platforms to reach a wider audience, partnering with eco-friendly travel agencies and websites, and showcasing guest testimonials emphasizing the positive experiences at your green-certified property. These strategies not only enhance visibility among eco-conscious travelers and boost bookings, but they also enable you to contribute towards global sustainability efforts and reap financial benefits through reduced operational costs.

FAQs About Green Certification

Why is Green Certification Important?

Eco-certification is crucial as it demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability, energy sustainability, and resource conservation. It can help vacation rental homeowners reduce operational costs, attract eco-conscious guests, and contribute positively to the local community and environment. Additionally, it enhances the property’s marketability and competitiveness.

What Does Green Certification Mean?

Certification refers to third-party validation of a building or facility’s adherence to specific environmental standards related to design, construction materials, energy consumption, water usage, waste management practices, and indoor air quality. For vacation rental hosts like Airbnb or VRBO owners, this means implementing sustainable practices in their properties that meet established criteria.

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) by U.S Green Building Council is one of the most popular green building certifications globally. LEED provides a framework for creating healthy and efficient buildings using green standards while minimizing their ecological impact through various levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

What is the Highest Green Certification?

The highest level of green certification under the LEED system would be ‘Platinum.’ This signifies that a property has achieved exceptional performance across all categories, including water efficiency, energy, atmosphere, materials, resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation, a


In conclusion, obtaining a certification for your vacation rental is not only beneficial for the environment but also for your business. By implementing sustainable practices and getting certified, you can attract eco-conscious guests who are willing to pay more for environmentally responsible vacation homes and short term rentals. Additionally, being certified can increase your green building rating visibility on booking platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

If you’re interested in obtaining a green certification for your vacation rental, consider working with MindfulBnB. Their team of experts can guide you through the process and help market your eco-friendly property to potential guests. Find out more on MindfulBnB today!

— Chief Editor

Want to learn more? Check out:
How to Maximize Short Term Rental Income By Targeting the Wellness Traveler Niche >>
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