The service has launched a “sustainable hosting plan”, with a £1 million fund to support hosts who want to take measures such as replacing a boiler, insulating a roof, walls or flooring, installing heat pumps or adding solar panels.
Energy efficiency measures can help people to save money on their bills in the longer term, but they also carry initial costs which may be particularly hard to find as living costs surge.
Airbnb, which links up people looking for a holiday let with property owners, said it will work with Energy Saving Trust to provide a personalised home energy efficiency check and action plan for hosts, offering information about potential steps they could take to improve the efficiency of their home.
The new scheme will be open to those who are based in the UK and have had two or more stays over the past year, according to Airbnb, which committed last year to a goal of operating as a net zero company by 2030.
Hosts who are keen to take part in the sustainable hosting plan, which has also been launched by Airbnb in France, can initially register their interest for a grant and find out if they are eligible.
Those who are interested in making improvements may be signposted to local installers and may receive a grant of £1,000 – or £3,000 if they are a “superhost” – towards their renovation bill. Superhosts are Airbnb’s top-rated hosts.
If people already have a contractor they want to use they can ask them for a quote and send this to Energy Saving Trust for verification.
Terms also state that the Airbnb grants can only cover up to 90% of the cost of the renovation works and the grant must be used for energy improvements and cannot be used to cover someone’s energy bill.
Linda Ayanwale, a superhost from London who plans to apply for the scheme, said: “I bought my property with hosting in mind and share a space in the loft to help cover some of my mortgage repayments."
“My property is rated D for energy efficiency and is poorly insulated so there is space to make improvements. I want to add better insulation and plan to apply for the grant from Airbnb to help with the costs.”
Applications will remain open until the grants have been allocated and under Airbnb’s requirements any improvement work should be completed before November 2 2023.
Under the initiative, once a host is ready to go ahead with the renovations, they will send their quote to Energy Saving Trust for validation and sign a letter to have the work carried out by November 2023.
They will receive the grant when work has been completed and proof of this has been received by Energy Saving Trust.
A bank transfer of the awarded grant will be issued directly to hosts after they have submitted the proof of work, which could, for example, include a copy of a bank statement and an updated energy performance certificate.
According to Energy Saving Trust, a £1,000 grant could cover around a quarter of the cost of a typical boiler replacement and a sixth of the cost of installing solar panels.
Amanda Cupples, general manager for northern Europe at Airbnb, said: “More than a third of hosts across the UK say they host to afford the rising cost of living."
“In the face of rising energy bills, we want to support hosts further by helping them with energy efficiency improvements and bringing their bills down in the long term."
“Getting started with energy efficiency improvements can seem a challenge so our sustainable hosting plan will provide hosts with the backing to take the first step and make positive changes.”
Inga Jirgensone, group head of business development at Energy Saving Trust, said: “Improving the energy efficiency of our homes and switching to low-carbon heating systems is the quickest way to reduce energy costs both now and for the long term."
“These steps are also crucial in reducing carbon emissions as the UK transitions to net zero."
“We know the value of tailored advice to help people approach retrofitting and to ensure the best outcome for investment. We look forward to working with Airbnb to help develop a more sustainable future for hosts.”
Earlier this week, trade association UK Finance proposed a range of measures aimed at helping to tackle the climate change challenge, as well as rising energy bills and living costs.
UK Finance suggested that stamp duty rebates should be given to homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements within two years of buying a property.
David Postings, chief executive of UK Finance, said earlier this week: “Climate change is the number one public policy priority facing this and future generations."
“The challenge we face means we can no longer just consider our options, but instead need to see strong action. In housing this means addressing the impact of heating the UK’s 28 million homes.”