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Sustainable holiday rentals: Basics to start being sustainable


Author: Pamela Maldonado

Sustainable development is considered as a development that is inclusive in maintaining needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Which means we should all start compromising for the needs of others instead of our own, and make small daily changes that contribute to big future changes. These daily decisions make an impact on our environment, plants, animals , economic growth, health and our future family members to come.  

Start by having in mind the three pillars for sustainable development, and how you can start taking action one by one, thinking about all the positive impacts you will have. The Three Pillars of Sustainability which were identified by the World Summit on Social Development (2005) are : economic (profit), environmental (planet) & social (people).

“If people worldwide switched to energy efficient light bulbs the world would save 105 billion euros annually.”

Economic sustainability in holiday apartments, not only takes good care of your wallet, but it also makes a better world. Here are some ways how Stay U-nique is trying to promote environmentally friendly holiday apartments, such as the one that you might be interested in renting with us on your next vacation. So, here are some simple things that we do to make your holiday apartment eco-friendly and sustainable.



Changing the apartment’s traditional light bulbs such as fluorescent and incandescent lights to LED lights is 80% more efficient, since 95% of LEDs is converted into light and 5% is wasted as heat. They don’t contain toxic elements, which can contaminate our environment when disposed of in landfill waste. You also will have a better quality of the light distribution in one direction, contrary to others which waste energy by emitting in all directions. They also last up to six times longer which means lower carbon emissions,  and reduces the frequency of replacement of the light bulbs. Less energy use reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. They are SAFER, STURDIER , LONGER LASTING, AND EASIER TO INSTALL.

We have noticed that when travelling, people don’t pay attention to electricity usage as much as they would do at home, like the lights are ON all the time, but especially the AC. Please let’s remember that even on holiday we need to be concerned on how we use energy, even if we are not at home we still have small actions that can be used to take care of not making negative impact in the world we live in. Switching to LED light bulbs is a great option, even if the guests don’t feel like it can have an impact on them, a better usage of the energy will eventually impact on the property’s owners’ bills, and therefore the price rental which can also help reduce future apartment cost for the guests. This way your wallet – and our planet – will be happy.


Insulated spaces results in better thermal performance keeping the heat in during the winter and the heat out during the summer. This way your holiday apartment  will feel fresh during summer and the AC usage will be less, also during the winter it will feel warmer and central heating will be used less. An easy and cost-efficient way to insulate the windows is by using window film, which is a protective layer used to cover the window glass to insulate it. Also weatherstripping, which seals gaps around doors and windows.


Small savings will add up over time and so will small expenses. Saving energy with energy efficient appliances can significantly reduce electric bills. Including clothes washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, air purifiers and humidifiers, that will account for 20 percent of the apartment’s total electric bill. This also impacts on the guests vacation expense, if the owner’s bill decreases significantly by 50%, there is a chance that the price of the apartment will decrease as well.


Adding some plant pots as details on a holiday apartment will not only give a special and cozy touch to the apartment but also, it benefits the interior reducing carbon dioxide levels, reducing levels of certain pollutants. They purify the air, they reduce stress, they add color, and they are a great way to decorate seasonally, also, they smell great! It helps our guests to have an eco-therapy when they are inside the apartment, relaxing and decreasing their stress levels.

Sustainability at Stay U-nique

Since we are striving to improve daily, we are committed to our uniqueness by helping our environment and the property owners we work for. For transportation during work hours, we use our electric scooters and bicycles. As for the apartments we work for, we are starting to reduce plastic usage by providing a water filter jug to our guests. Also, in every property we provide a sign which includes detailed instructions on how to sort the garbage with the colour system for recycling, as it is different in every country, this way we can ensure that our guests may use it correctly. 

Stay U-nique has also joined the WeRespect initiative, which solidifies the relationship between tourist rentals and local populations.  We know that touristic apartment activity can have a negative impact on locals if it is not done properly, this is why we use noise meters to avoid and to keep control of excessive noise from guests so we can respect the local environment and improve our social sustainability. By being respectful to your neighbours during your stay, whether through the noise you produce or general politeness, you can make a real change in the way tourism is seen by locals.

Barcelona, leading sustainability tourism. 

The city is very committed on becoming more sustainable as they learn from it daily; mobility in Barcelona is an example on caring for environmental health by having eco-friendly transportation. 100% of the buses and 90% of the metro stations are adapted for people with reduced mobility since 2007 and currently making them accessible to people with functional disabilities, the new buses are also more comfortable and pollute less, with 30% lower emissions, guaranteeing reliable services and  helping make the city a healthier place, 34,4% walk or use a bicycle, 39.6% use public transportation, 26.1% use private transportation.

Other ways you can support sustainability

  • Buy cartons instead of plastic bottles
  • Use a reusable produce bag, substitute it for single plastic bags which can tale 1,000 years to degrade. 
  • Re use the containers for storing food leftovers. 
  • Stop chewing gum, since it is a synthetic rubber, this means plastic. 
  • Stop using the plastic straws, you can use reusable stainless steel straw. 
  • Use eco-cleaning products for your home. 
  • Don’t leave the water running.
  • Buy local food, since you help reduce your carbon footprint by buying seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farms. 
  • Get a reusable water bottle, stainless-steel or BPA-free. 
  • Sell or donate used stuff, someone might still need it even when you don’t.


If you would like more information about sustainable development and the  different ways you can include yourself into supporting, please click the following link and read the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 




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