A Villa`s Eco-Credentials Have Become the Key Factor in the Demand for Luxury Holiday Rentals

Eco friendly rental villas are more popular. It’s that simple. A survey conducted in the States revealed that two thirds of holiday renters stated that “green practices” was a key factor in selecting their rental property with 40% saying they wouldn’t rent a property that didn’t have “green practices”.

There is no doubt that eco-credentials are active criteria for when people are making their decisions as to which luxury holiday villa to rent and economics tells us that this translates into higher rents and higher occupancy rates.

We are working with The Luxury Villa Collection to inform their clients how to green their homes to attract more bookings.

Increased Comfort, Lower Running Costs, Greater Asset Value Its worth mentioning that an energy efficient villa is more comfortable to live in (and healthier) and costs less to run. It’s also more valuable and will command a higher price should you ever need to sell it. By “greening” the property you are increasing the value of your asset. There’s plenty to be said about all of this but in this article I want to focus on practical things you can do you to “green” your villa and boost bookings.

What exactly do you have to do to improve your eco-credentials?

Here are some ideas although exactly what you might want to do will depend on your particular situation and how far you want to go in a retrofit / modernisation. It will depend on the condition of the villa, and your budget. You don’t have to do everything. We would need to do the numbers as part of your decision making.

If you are serious about this book a free consultation with John Wolfendale to get you questions answered. Click here to do that.

Improve the insulation. The best option for improving the insulation in an existing, especially older, property is a SATE (Sistema Aislamiento Termico Exterior). You attach an insulating material to the outside of the property. The great advantage of using this system is that the insulation covers the whole property from the outside. You eliminate thermal bridges. A thermal bridge is a weak point in your thermal envelope that allows heat to escape out of or into your villa. If you wrap insulation around the outside there aren’t any thermal bridges.

Great insulation reduces your energy requirement and makes an easier job for your renewable energy system. It means you can get close to carbon zero and/ or install a smaller renewable energy system.

Improve the windows and shading. Windows used to be the weak point in any thermal envelope and to an extent they still are. However, modern technology means that a window need no longer be a weak point. You should have minimum double glazed e-coated windows and also window frames with a thermal break i.e. a design that means there is no thermal bridge in the opening and closing mechanism or at the join with the wall.

Shading is also vital in the Spanish summer sun. A window that is exposed to the sun in Southern Spain will sabotage all your attempts to cool the room inside no matter how powerful the air conditioning system. Shading, which comes in many forms: deep permanent shade; retractable awnings; deciduous vegetation that varies with the seasons; may create opportunities to increase your shaded outside areas and chill out zones. These space are often those most valued by your guests.

Incorporate a Renewable Energy System. We have some clients who have what you might call an “active” house as opposed to a passive house. Their villa is full of energy consuming modern conveniences such as two electric ovens, tumble dryers, heated pool, air condition, under floor heating everywhere and much more. And it’s all powered by free energy from the sun because they have a large photovoltaic system. These mod cons are carbon free as well as being running cost free.

You need to size your system correctly and identify the best places to locate the PV panels. You need to evaluate your requirement according to your consumption and the energy efficiency of the villa.
We often advise against solar hot water in favour of photo voltaic solar panels because with solar hot water you get a lot of hot water in the summer when you don’t want it. What you want in the summer is electricity for air conditioning. In the winter you have enough electricity anyway to heat your water.

Install a Heat Pump. Heat pumps boost the efficiency of the electricity you use. This could be grid electricity or electricity generated from your own PV panels. Think of it like this. If you have a heat pump and your villa is well insulated then you need a smaller, less expensive, less intrusive, PV system. Heat pumps can heat your home in winter, cool it in the summer and provide hot water for the kitchen and bathroom.

Install a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Exchanger If we imagine for a moment that you have modernised the windows and perhaps the doors of an older property then you will have made it more airtight. So it’s a good idea to install a ventilation system. In fact mechanical ventilation is compulsory in new builds according to the building regulations. This will introduce fresh air from the outside into your villa. It’s healthy and it prevents mould.

In order to conserve the heat within the villa, or the coolness you may have generated in the summer, you can use a heat exchanger. A well set up system takes the dirty and wet air from kitchen and bathrooms and introduces fresh air into the living spaces and bedrooms and, as it does so, it exchanges the heat. So you have fresh (filtered) air in the house at the right temperature. It’s comfortable, healthy and energy efficient.

Energy Certificate After the works get your energy certificate renewed so you can boast (hopefully) a certificate “A”. With increasing emphasis on reducing global warming it’s only a matter of time before the lowest grades are taxed higher.

Layout and aesthetics are also important factors that will affect a villas let-ability. Most older villas have a layout that is not so popular these days. People are looking for shaded chill out areas in front of the view and or the pool possibly with an outside kitchen or possibly integrated into the living area so the outside and the inside spaces can be used seamlessly. This is great for holidays. There are separate private spaces and maybe a separate media room. So if you want a comprehensive renovation we can do that too.

If you’d like to talk to us about a retrofit or a renovation of an existing villa then make an appointment to talk to John Wolfendale. You can do that here.

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