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Vacation Rentals: How to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint

Travelers choosing to stay in a vacation home instead of a hotel may have to spend more time searching for sustainable lodgings, but ultimately they will have more control over their environmental impact. The following are steps short-term renters can take to shrink their carbon footprint.

Search for sustainable rentals

The company Sustonica validates short-term rentals based on sustainability standards, including conserving water and minimizing waste. But it does not act as a search engine. Instead, travelers will find its logo on certified listings on platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com.

Airbnb’s rental categories can help travelers find off-the-grid options, highlighting more than 9,000 listings that rely on renewable energy sources or have no electricity, and Earth Homes, a set of accommodations built with organic materials such as mud or rammed earth.

Booking.com, which lists vacation homes as well as hotels, allows travelers to search for listings with sustainability certifications from more than 65 organizations doing third-party reviews of practices ranging from renewable energy sourcing to recycling.

The company said that more than 16,500 properties, a combination of hotels and rentals, have separate, third-party sustainability certification.

The vacation home rental platform Vrbo does not have an eco-friendly search filter, citing the lack of industry consensus on what makes a rental more sustainable. Properties listed by its sibling agency Expedia may say they are “eco-certified” and users can search using that filter. But read the results carefully; some listings lack information on their sustainable features.

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