Making travel more sustainable: Earth Day 2022

[SPONSORED CONTENT] This Earth Day, we’re sharing our vision for greener travel. Helping you save energy is the first step.

This Earth Day, we’re turning our attention to the travel industry, and the seeds we’re sowing to make it greener, including a new integration with Tado. At Minut, we care for the environment, and we’re empowering hosts and property managers to do so too.

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Why we travel

Some of us might travel out of necessity: for business or to visit family. But when we think about travel, what first comes to mind is not the hotel, but what’s outside of it. Pristine white beaches, quaint mountain paths and luscious green forests… those are the images that make it onto our postcards and Instagram feeds. We travel to enjoy the beauty of the Earth, and yet by doing so we’re harming it.

Starting with emissions from all the planes and cars and buses that carry us to the destination, to mountains of single-use plastic shampoo containers from hotels, and litres upon litres of water wasted on excessive towel washing, hospitality is not known to be a sustainable industry.

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Green alternatives

Fortunately, there are greener alternatives to traditional ways of travelling. Some people opt for local travel to limit the impact of transportation. Others swap a few short trips throughout the year for one longer one to decrease emissions.

The rise of short-term rentals in the past decade has enabled these trends, with new listings popping up on platforms like Airbnb every day. Their strengths? They’re often more spacious than a hotel room, which makes them better for longer stays. They’re also often in the countryside, but in close proximity to cities – perfect for those who want to travel locally. And while they have strict cleaning protocols in place, they’re usually limited to before and after the stay.

Other green short-term rental trends? Many guests still expect toiletries, but hosts are finding ways to source local products without the extra packaging. Many hosts are also installing power outlets for electric cars. It’s no wonder then that environmentally-conscious travellers seek out short-term rentals. The data proves it too. According to Airbnb, in 2019, the number of stays at eco-friendly homes increased by 141 per cent over the previous year.

Making short-term rentals more sustainable

Our team has always been a proponent of greener travel. Thanks to our recent Series B funding, we now have new resources to bring innovation also to this area of short-term rentals.

While short-term rentals can be more sustainable than hotels, they also have their challenges. There’s a lot of work to be done to decrease unnecessary energy consumption

Some of our enterprise customers already use our API to bring them closer to their goal of climate neutrality. We’re now making those solutions available to everyone with a simple integration.

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Less energy, more comfort

One of the primary issues we’ve identified while talking to hosts and property managers is the energy that gets wasted every time guests leave without turning off the lights; or, worse yet, when they leave the heating or A/C running all the time, even after checking out.

A/C contributes massively to climate change, and yet many guests still leave it on 24/7 so that they can stay comfortable. Some people wrongly believe that you save energy by letting the A/C run instead of turning it off and on again. However, “air-conditioning systems run most efficiently when they’re running at full speed,” explains Jennifer Thorne Amann from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy [ACEEE] in an interview with Good Housekeeping. In other words, running the A/C when it’s not needed is always wasteful.

Today, for Earth Day, we’re launching an integration with Tado that addresses this problem and proves that it’s possible to keep guests comfortable and save energy at the same time.

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Combining smart climate solutions with Minut insight

Tado is a leader in intelligent climate solutions. They provide heating and cooling systems that can be operated remotely, which makes them perfect for use in short-term rentals. They estimate that you can reduce your energy consumption by up to 31 per cent when using their products.

We’ve partnered with Tado to combine their strength: remote heating and cooling systems with ours: insight from inside the property. The first iteration of our integration automatically turns the A/C off when guests have checked out, but there is much more to come. We’re already exploring how to use motion, sound, temperature and humidity readings to optimise for guest comfort while saving energy.

How much will you save?

We have ambitious plans for the future of this integration, but even in its current shape it will lead to significant savings. An average Central AC unit uses around 3,500 W of electricity every hour. That’s roughly ten times as much as having the TV on for the same amount of time!

If on average, a guest forgets to turn the A/C off before they check out at least once a week, and it runs for at least five hours after check-in, then that leads to savings of over €250 per year if you’re based in Spain [or £250 in the UK /$150 in the USA]*. It will also save up to 645kg of carbon dioxide [CO2] emissions yearly.

*calculated based on average energy prices in each country as of April 2022

How to get the integration up and running

To set up the integration, you will need a Minut sensor and Tado’s Smart AC Control. You will first need to install both devices. Then you will need to link the two accounts. Detailed instructions are here.

What’s next

At Minut, care for the environment doesn’t end with Earth Day. As a tech company, we can’t ignore the fact that we produce plastic devices and ship them all over the world. We’re aware of our environmental footprint, and we’re actively working on diminishing it.

The good news is that Minut is energy efficient. The equivalent of one phone charge [around 0.04kWh or $0.01p worth of energy] should last a whole year.

Last month, we kicked off our multi-step ESG project, and the Tado integration is just the first step. We have more environmental initiatives in store throughout the year. They will touch all areas of the product, from integrations to packaging, so stay tuned for new announcements.

In the meantime, give the Tado integration a try. It’s an easy way to lower your operating costs and do your part for the environment. Let’s make travel more sustainable together.

Do you have any ideas on how we can do better? Let us know at hello@minut.com!