Unite Students announces net zero ambitions

The UK’s largest private student accommodation provider has announced plans to be carbon neutral by the year 2030

Unite Students, the UK’s largest private student housing provider, has announced ambitions to become net zero by 2030.

The pathway document outlining these ambitions has been validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), and exhibits two key overarching goals: to have net zero carbon operations and net zero carbon development by 2030.

Objectives were informed by research carried out by Unite Students and Opinium. The survey of 1,000 undergraduates indicated that climate change was the issue students were most concerned about, even more than Covid-19. 

Unite Student’s chief executive, Richard Smith, said: “As the UK’s largest provider of purpose-built student accommodation, we believe our net zero carbon ambition also offers a unique opportunity to help generations of students living with us to adopt responsible living habits.  

“We understand the scale of the challenge, but believe this is the right thing to do, and that the change needed will make us a stronger and more resilient business”.

The student accommodation provider says it has invested over £30m in energy efficiency since 2014, and has identified a further £100m of investment to achieve carbon reduction targets.

We understand the scale of the challenge, but believe this is the right thing to do, and that the change needed will make us a stronger and more resilient business – Richard Smith, Unite Students

James Tiernan, head of energy & environment at Unite Students, said: “We have set ambitious targets and developed a detailed plan to get there, including substantial investment in our existing buildings. 

“Our new modelling tool has helped us create tailored plans for each individual building – identifying how different initiatives change energy consumption, carbon emissions, operating costs and EPC rating – and is directly informing our asset management and capital planning.”

Unite Students accommodates 73,000 students across 173 properties in the UK.


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