The plan is part of the company’s way to encourage cleaner tech in their host’s vacation and rental properties, Canary Media reports. The pilot program is being billed as a big win for hosts. Not only can they cover a lot of the costs for a new heating/cooling system, but they can also plan to save money on their utility bills.
“This program would save me a ton of money,” Elle Michelle, an Airbnb host in Massachusetts, said on the company’s website. “As a host in a home built in the 1970s, I’ve been wanting to make upgrades to improve my insulation and heating systems not only for my pocket but also for the environmental impact.”
Hosts can earn $2,000 to install the heat pumps plus $500 for insulation and other upgrades. Heat pumps typically cost between $4,000 and $8,000. But, with a combination of Airbnb rebates and tax incentives (the government now gives tax credits of up to $2,000), hosts could knock off half the top-end cost.
Heat pumps are becoming popular as an efficient way to provide heating and air conditioning — touted as a cleaner alternative to fossil-fuel burners. Heat pumps don’t have to burn fuel for heat, but rather, the units move the energy inside and outside the house as needed, according to a New York Times description of the process.
“A heat pump is probably the biggest thing that consumers can do to help fight the climate crisis,” Amy Boyd, director of policy for the clean energy advocacy agency Acadia Center, told the New York Times.
Airbnb is serious about the transition to electric. The company has had similar programs in Europe, but the New England offer is the first one in the U.S.
“We’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm from our hosts,” Clark Stevens, head of stakeholder initiatives at Airbnb, said in Canary’s report. “We’re really focused on learning all we can and making this a success. … We absolutely want to continue to grow programs like this.”
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