Ecotravel vs ecobabble: what makes a space REALLY green?

About Vivek Wagle

Green is good.

Green is beautiful.

Green is money.

It’s not easy being green.

Words like “ecotourism” and “sustainability” get thrown around a lot these days. With growing public consciousness around the impact of our consumption and travels, businesses love to jump on the green bandwagon.

Some of these companies pay lip service to sustainability, citing slightly lower levels of water usage or power savings garnered from switching lights off once in a while.

We think that’s half-baked.

True sustainability is about committing to positions that help the environment in ways that benefit all of us. As champions of collaborative consumption, we believe that sharing space naturally helps the environment out through reducing land usage.

And we also believe that if you’re going to call yourself green, you’d better be really green. That’s why we’ve put together a strict set of criteria for inclusion in our It’s Easy Being Green Collection.

To make the grade, these properties go through the wringer:

  • Are they built using reclaimed, recycled, or locally sourced materials?
  • Do they user wind or solar energy to heat, cool, or power the house?
  • Do they have a grey water filtration system, rainwater collection system, or low-flow plumbing?
  • Do they feature an organic garden or use native landscaping to minimize water usage?
  • Do they use green linens or bedding?
  • Do they offer sustainable transportation options, such as bicycles?

One space that passes the test with flying colors is our Off-grid itHouse in California, which derives all its power from solar panels.


(Don’t expect television and wifi, though – this place is for getting away from it all.)


If the middle of the desert seems a bit remote, then check out our Pocket Door House in Portland, which features reclaimed grain-elevator floors, low-flow plumbing, and native organic landscaping and gardens.


We’re pretty proud of our community’s efforts to provide a sustainble future for all of us.

What do you think? Does our Green Collection make the grade? And how are you going green in everyday life?

(Oh yeah, that image at the top is from an Eco-Retreat in Hawaii. Pretty cool, eh?)


About Vivek Wagle

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  1. Tom Lyons

    It’s hard to avoid making a carbon impact when traveling to our new places, due to the fossil-fuled transportation methods we have to take to get there. So it helps to know that the Hosts in the Green collection and their green homes can help with a little offset, making it easier to tread lightly on the environment while we are there.

  2. Frederic

    Please continue the Airbnb picks “It’s easy being green””. It’s a very nice initiative.

    We have started an Airbnb group about Sustainable hosting and travelling. We love travelling, meeting people, hosting people. But we are also passionate about sustainability, and want to have a good impact. All airbnb hosts and guests are welcome to participate. What do you do to be a sustainable host? How to travel with a better impact?

    You will find it here: