September 22, 2021

Creating Sustainable Student Housing

LOFT_Sustainable_Green_Building (2)

Sustainability is a hot topic across every industry all around the world. And rightly so. The damage that’s been done to the planet can be reversed if everyone pitches in, so creating more sustainable student housing options should be a priority for the accommodation sectors.

There are plenty of ways to reduce carbon emissions and cut waste in BTR and PBSA, but given that a private rental is the most common type of student accommodation, we wanted to tackle the best ways to create sustainable student housing for landlords as well.

What is Sustainable Student Housing?

Sustainable student housing is a property rented out to students that’s highly efficient in regards to:

  • Energy usage

  • Waste and recycling

  • Materials used

Having a plan in place to improve sustainability is important not just in terms of helping the planet, but in attracting younger age groups to rent out your property.

According to a survey carried out across 27 countries in 2020, 59% of Gen Z have the desire to change their lifestyle “a great deal” to be more environmentally friendly. A further 32% said they would “moderately” change their lifestyle to help the environment.

Young people are leading the fight against climate change. They want to be associated with people, products and companies that are doing good in this world.

Since this is your target demographic, anything you can do to improve sustainability in your property will put you in the students’ good books.

How to Create Sustainable Student Housing

While it can sound like a daunting process at first, creating sustainable student housing isn’t too challenging. All it requires is a few changes to your property and a can-do attitude. Here are our top tips:

Build Awareness

For many students, uni will be their first time away from home. Chances are it will also be the first time they’ve had to fully look after themselves and a property, too, so a helping hand on how to be more sustainable wouldn’t go amiss.

You don’t have to go overboard when building awareness. A sticker above light switches reminding students to turn the lights off, a cheat-sheet on how to use the washing machine (particularly at lower temperatures),  installing smart meters and a mark on the kitchen calendar for when the recycling bins are collected will encourage best sustainable practices.

Install Solar Panels

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When solar panels were still a new concept, they were expensive and they’ve struggled to shake off that stigma. In actual fact, the cost of solar panels has dropped by more than 50% in the last ten years. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the price of solar panel installation dropped by £288 on average.

With significantly lower costs, solar energy is a great way to make your student let more sustainable. As it’s a renewable energy source, solar can be used indefinitely without producing any greenhouse gases. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that solar panels can reduce a property’s carbon emissions by 1.3 to 1.6 tonnes per year on average.

Choose Your Furniture Partner Wisely

Creating sustainable student housing also means thinking carefully about the furniture installed in your property.

Your first port of call should be to use a reputable furniture supplier, a company that has a lot of experience sourcing pieces specifically for student properties. By using a specialist, it limits the chances of furniture being damaged and thrown out. With 18 years working across private student properties and PBSAs, we know exactly what furniture is needed to keep you and the students happy.

Union Wharf, London 11

But accidents happen, and items do need to be removed on occasion — especially if they’re unsafe to use. At LOFT we use sustainable materials where possible to limit the impact on the environment and to make recycling easier.

We also take away damaged furniture for recycling, alongside the packaging used to protect and hold the replacement pieces.

How Can Students Be More Sustainable?

It’s the little things that make a big difference, and the habits your student residents pick up now could have a huge impact on their lives and the wellbeing of the planet in the future.

Here are a couple of ways you can encourage students to be more sustainable in everyday life:

Provide Reusable Bottles or Thermoses

Over 2.5 million disposable drinking cups are used and tossed away in the UK every year. That’s a staggering — and frankly unnecessary — amount. You can help cut that number by providing the students with their own reusable bottle and thermos.

Not only will it stop waste, it’s a nice touch that your tenants will appreciate. For the cost of a few pounds at any supermarket, we think that’s more than a fair trade.

Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

A normal incandescent light bulb will last for around 1000 hours. In comparison, compact fluorescent energy-saving bulbs have a lifespan between 3000 and 15,000 hours. LED light bulbs last even longer than that with some brands still going strong after 50,000 hours.

With the right bulbs in place, you students will hardly ever have to replace their lights. But just in case, keep a few energy efficient light bulbs in a drawer for them, so they’re not tempted to buy any regular bulbs.

Supply Reusable Bags

A large student house will mean plenty of trips to the supermarket. Providing some reusable bags for the students to take with them will cut the need for buying plastic bags that will only get used once.

Just like with the bottles and thermoses, it’s another nice touch that shows you’ve gone above and beyond in supplying the students with everything they need.

The Impact of Sustainable Student Housing

Everything we do to help out the planet is worthwhile. With student accommodation being a huge sector in the UK, creating more sustainable student housing will have a significant, positive impact on the world.

At LOFT, we take care to source furniture made from sustainable materials, and we never throw away pieces that can be recycled or upcycled. Even the packaging for our furniture is disposed of responsibly.

To ensure you’re doing your part to fashion a sustainable interior for your student residents, make sure to get in touch with a member of our team with your requirements.