Airbnb and energy, what's the truth?

December 12, 2016

Airbnb and energy, what's the truth?


Did you know that Airbnb’s latest investment values it as much as Hilton and Hyatt? For those who don’t know that’s a staggering $30bn. When we think of Airbnb we generally think of holidays, the beach, villas and the sharing economy. Very rarely do we ever stop to treat Airbnb as a business; each and every host should be considered a B2B customer.

Is Airbnb really saving the world?

Airbnb has recently seen some damage to its brand in the last year, with headlines dominated by squatters and their new heavily critiqued logo. But Airbnb have gone onto employ a familiar PR trick: greenwash.  According to Airbnb they are saving the world with each rented room. The company states that its customers in Europe use 78% less energy per stay than their hotel-going counterparts.The message the company is trying to send is that it a greener alternative to hotels, which it portrays as being far more wasteful when it comes to electricity.

In reality Airbnb is a major energy consumer

Airbnb doesn't provide important facts that contextualize the data, such as what the average length of occupancy between the "home sharing" and hotels are. In general hotels have check in and check out building management systems that turns off the lighting and AC, compare that to the last complete smart home you were in that did exactly the same.

With more than 80M bookings taken by Airbnb last year, and significantly growing year on year it would be a very good estimate to imagine a significant proportion of those homes used by guests are not smart homes and therefore lack the same intelligence of hotels with automated lights, heating and AC’s.  

Just imagine the number of homes that have their air conditioners, heating and lighting left on while the guests are out for the day. There is no clear incentive for guests to save energy in Airbnb properties.

When hosts are forced to compromise

The fastest growing Aibnb community discussion forum over the last year has been energy and from the above post by an Airbnb host it’s quite easy to see why. Landlords find themselves in a tough predicament as increasing rental prices to cover excessive energy usage by hosts makes their propertymore expensive and therefore less competitive as there is no standard for all hosts. While the sitation remains the same we’ll continue to see the same posts by community members as shown below. There's certainly plenty of room for innovative products and solutions offerings directly to Airbnb hosts.

Climair puts hosts back in control of their AC energy usage

By combining our flagship product Climair with our wireless motion sensors, Airbnb hosts can ensure that their AC’s turn off automatically when guests head out for the day. The best part, hosts can even offer guests the opportunity to control the AC from the smartphone so they can precool 15mins before they get back. With Climair being self install in a matter of seconds hosts finally have a chance to take back control of their AC energy bill. At Novo we are also working on integrating with third party products such as Philips Hue bulbs and August Smart Locks so that Airbnb hosts can also enable a complete smart home with minimal energy wastage.

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