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Case study


Independent retrofit advice and grant management for Airbnb’s Sustainable Hosting Plan with financing options from NatWest.

The challenge

We’re working with Airbnb to launch an industry first, one-stop shop that supports Hosts to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, called the Sustainability Hosting Hub. The new platform provides financing options from NatWest as well as a personalised home energy efficiency assessment and action plans. Airbnb is adding a further £500,000 to its £1 million Sustainable Hosting Fund to provide more grants to Hosts looking to make energy efficiency improvements.

The cost of living crisis has been a driving force for many people to become Hosts on Airbnb, and reducing energy costs can have a significant impact on bills and therefore overall income and quality of life. Airbnb data found that two thirds of Hosts plan to use their additional income from hosting to cover the rising cost of living, while in 2023, nearly four in ten Hosts shared that income earned from hosting on Airbnb helped them to stay in their homes1. The typical UK Host earned just over £5,5002 last year – equivalent to two months’ additional pay for the median UK household – by renting their space on Airbnb.

In November 2022, Airbnb launched its Sustainable Hosting Plan. The plan included a £1 million fund to support UK Hosts with energy efficiency improvements, cutting carbon emissions and making long-term savings on their bills to help with the rising cost of living. This has since evolved into the Sustainability Hosting Hub.

To support the delivery of the plan, Airbnb needed a trusted partner that could offer tailored retrofit advice to its Hosts and help administer the grant funding.

1 Based on a survey of 16,416 Airbnb guests surveyed between December 14, 2022 and October 23, 2023. Margin of error under 2%.

Median typical UK host earnings, 2023.

The solution

To support these aims, Airbnb commissioned us to provide the following solutions:

  • Fact-checking and quality assurance services to make sure communication materials were accurate and up to date.
  • A fully Airbnb-branded microsite to offer Hosts energy efficiency recommendations tailored to their property.
  • Grant management services to help Airbnb administer the Sustainable Hosting Fund, to help eligible Hosts make approved upgrades to their properties.



Content review

We started by supporting Airbnb to add appropriate caveats to their content before publication. For example, setting out the basis for each claim in an article, including the data it was based on, current energy prices, and validity dates. This collaboration helped to ensure that Airbnb’s communication reflected real world conditions and likely savings. The content was designed specifically to raise awareness about behavioural changes that Hosts and their guests could make to save energy.

Airbnb’s digital tool

To help encourage Hosts to make energy efficiency upgrades to their home, we delivered an Airbnb-branded version of our Home Energy Efficiency Tool. The tool enables Airbnb Hosts to assess their properties online by answering six initial questions.

Powered by our market leading dynamic engine, the Airbnb tool creates a virtual model of the Host’s property and simulates thousands of retrofit combinations to determine the most cost effective package of improvements. It presents these to the Host alongside the estimated costs, fuel bill savings, carbon reductions and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) score improvements. 

Grant management and impact assessment

To help Hosts carry out some of the recommended upgrades to their properties, we assisted in the operation of the grant management of the Sustainable Hosting Fund. This involved assisting Airbnb in distributing funding awards to its Hosts by managing the award process, providing eligible Hosts with a list of recommended service providers who could make the improvements and distributing the grant money.

All relevant Host data was captured in a grant management database to track funding allocations over time, validate claims to ensure compliance with the terms of the funding, and to provide evaluation and analysis services to Airbnb to inform future phases of grant funding.

We also provided an impact assessment to estimate the energy, fuel bill and carbon savings achieved through the first phase of the Sustainable Hosting Plan based on the eligible measures that Hosts received funding for.

The estimated average impact can be seen below:

KPIs Total impactAverage impact (per Host)Equivalency statement (based on total impact)[1]
Energy savings720 MWh/year2,165 kWh/yearThis is equivalent to powering 13,000 laptops for a year.[2]
Fuel bill savings£50,300/year£150/year
Carbon savings (annual)167 tCO2e/year0.5 tCO2e/yearThis is equivalent to flying from London Heathrow to Edinburgh 1,200 times.[3]
Carbon savings (lifetime)[1]3,320 tCO2e10 tCO2e This is equivalent to flying from London Heathrow to Edinburgh 25,200 times.[3]
EPC score improvement+5 points

1 Refers to the carbon savings that will be realised over the lifetime of the measure(s) installed.

2 Based on the average laptop consumption over a year.

3 Based on airplane emissions ranging from 0.154 to 0.246 kgCO2e/km on a per passenger basis, not the entire aircraft.

Our Solstice team is now bringing all these functions into one seamless experience for Hosts. Additionally, our Insights team has worked with AI tools to add functionality, meaning Hosts can now enter their postcode and look up if there’s a local or national grant in their area, for example for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. There’s also functionality to search for certified installers, using TrustMark, MCS or competent person schemes.

The output of all of this is that Hosts will be able to find financing options, grant information and trusted installers, all based on their location, whatever their needs, all in one place using an intuitive interface.

Last updated: 20 June 2024