Student accommodation set for energy efficiency makeover

Unite Students, which provides accommodation for 41,000 students across the UK, is collaborating with Philips to install energy-efficient LED lighting across all of its properties.

In a £21m investment deal announced today (29 July), Unite will install 300,000 new light fittings and 85,000 dimmers and sensors in its properties over the next two years in a bid to deliver energy savings throughout its property portfolio.

Unite Students managing director Richard Smith said: “The new lighting will create a more inviting space for students which they can personalise for socialising or study. At the same time it will reduce Unite’s carbon footprint and the longer lifecycle of LED lights will significantly reduce maintenance workloads for our city teams.”

Home for success

Unite estimates that the LED lights will reduce its overall carbon footprint by around 3.5%. The firm will put £9.6m of investment into the project and the 300,000 new light fittings will provide an average energy reduction of 10-15% per year, or annual carbon savings of 2,000 tonnes of CO2.

The installation of the new LEDs comes as part of Unite’s ‘Home for Success’ programme, aimed at renovating its student accommodation and making its properties more energy efficient. The predicted energy savings will result in payback within five years and allow Unite to make further improvements to its properties.

Unite’s plans will renovate the lighting systems of student accommodation in more than 120 purpose build properties in 23 university towns and cities. LED lighting will be installed throughout student properties with dimmer switches to save energy and Philips colour-change lamps in every bedroom.

Philips’ commercial director Dan Scott said: “Philips is working closely with Unite Students to drive down energy consumption and maintenance costs through the use of efficient lighting.

“The new lighting is also helping Unite Students to achieve its primary goal of creating the best possible environment for student learning, reinforcing the power of light to uplift and transform our surroundings.”

In April this year, the National Union of Students highlighted how students are demanding better education in sustainable development and business, with an overwhelming majority of first year students feeling that sustainability should be embedded in university courses and in university life.

Matt Field

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