Student Energy Blog

Sustainable accommodation supporting universities’ carbon emission target

Sustainable accommodation supporting universities’ carbon emission target

Brite Green’s latest higher education University Carbon Report shows whilst universities in England are improving their year-on-year reduction in carbon emissions, the sector is still falling behind the 2020 HEFCE target set.

The report provides an impartial insight into how universities are performing against the HEFCE target which was created to hit the carbon reduction commitments laid out in the Climate Change Act 2008. At the current rate, universities are set to fail the carbon reduction target and just 40% of the universities England were on track to meet or exceed their objectives.

Being confronted with such an aggressive goal, universities are considering all angles of their operation to improve their chances of success. The strategic selection of private student accommodation is one example of how they are achieving this.

Unite, the largest manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation were selected by King’s College London, part of The Russell Group University due to Unite sharing “our commitment to provide a suitable environment for students to succeed”.

The building with LED lighting, water-saving and energy management technologies included was a certain factor in the “Excellent” standard awarded by BREEAM and over 27% reduction in CO2 emissions achieved against building regulations.

This is an example of a building where the unofficial theme of “efficiency is green” evolved. But if there is not the luxury of tearing down the building and starting again with a green spotlight on it, an amber energy audit may be the best place to start:

And then there is The Student Energy Project. The behavioural-change project in operation across over 50 student residences in the UK this year, designed to reward students for their positive eco-behaviours. In 2016/17 we achieved a total reduction of 299.654 tonnes CO2 emissions in electricity and 206.894 tonnes CO2 emissions in gas for our clients.

Teaming our innovative technology which displays students’ energy and water use along with a jam-packed engagement programme operating throughout the year at the residence, students are loaded with incentives to get them to sit up and take notice of how they can inhabit improved behaviours to become better environmental users.

Competitions, e-learning courses, points earned for saving energy and water and fire dancing whilst students take part in a “black-out” event are just a few examples of how TSEP gets students saving energy and water (and reducing those carbon emissions) without even realising.