Sustainability – what are we missing?

Sustainability is dominating the public agenda.

From achieving net zero through to Covid19’s devastating impact on mental wellbeing, there is a new expectation for institutions to do better.

The higher education sector has long been leading the charge. From early Passivhaus adoption through to ambitious net zero targets and declarations of a climate emergency, the sector has driven early adoption and led innovations.

Now we face new challenges.

Unprecedented demand, ageing estates and a renewed focus on student experience means Universities must again reimagine their campuses to create the best possible environments for both living and learning.

watch our expert panel as we discussed:

  • How to leverage the link between sustainability and wellbeing
  • Flexible student accommodation. What does this mean for sustainability?
  • What is really important to students?
  • Refurbish or build – what is the right way to address increasing demand
  • Is Passivhaus the only answer?
  • What don’t we do that we should?


Georgia Elliott-Smith - Environmental engineer and Chartered Environmentalist

Georgia started her career as one of UK construction’s first Environment Managers. Following an Antarctic expedition, she became UNESCO Special Junior Envoy for Youth & the Environment, speaking to young people around the world on environmental issues. Founder and Managing Director of sustainability consultancy Element Four, Georgia works with organisations such as the Bank of England, Nike and Deloitte to deliver more sustainable projects and business practices. A critic of traditional approaches, Georgia promotes “disruptive sustainability” – a combination of best practice and activism that generates purpose and drives actions necessary to achieve meaningful change in industry. She has also delivered a TEDx talk in 2021, encouraging people to change the way we do business. Since 2020, Georgia has been challenging the UK government in the High Court over the proposed UK Emissions Trading Scheme and its failure to uphold the Paris Agreement. She is also one of the campaigners opposing the rebuild and expansion of the Edmonton Incinerator.

Jason Clarke - Head of Energy and Environment, UPP

Jason is responsible for the company’s energy and environmental sustainability strategies, policies and plans to reduce energy consumption and cut carbon and costs across its portfolio of 36,000 rooms and 15 university partnerships. He works with internal and external stakeholders, including university partners, supply chain partners and shareholders, to coordinate collective action and drive positive change through the delivery of a programme of energy and carbon reduction initiatives. Previously, Jason worked at City University in London where, as Head of Sustainability, he developed the University’s sustainability strategy, policies, and governance structure, focusing on decreasing environmental impacts, saving resources, and engaging with the campus community. He previously held senior energy and environmental roles in the local government and health sectors, on-campus residential accommodation.

Sophia Barker, BEng MSc - CEPH Engineer/Passivhaus Consultant, Max Fordham LLP

Sophia joined Max Fordham LLP in 2013 after completing a master’s degree in engineering management and a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at Brunel University. She became a Partner in 2017. Sophia has been a part of Max Fordham’s ‘Building Performance’ workgroup for several years, and it has been a natural progression for her to work on Passivhaus projects. She is keen to dissect how buildings can perform better, from design through to construction and when in-use.

Tim Abram, ARB RIBA CPHD - Associate at Willmore Iles Architects and Certified Passivhaus Designer

15 years’ experience in the student residential market, working primarily on “On-Campus” DBFO projects from bid through to delivery. Recently delivered the multiple award winning project at Mount Oswald, Durham University. Certified Passivhaus Designer with an ambition to apply Passivhaus principles to the large scale residential projects that we deliver and raise the bar in student accommodation generally.

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UPP designs, builds, finances and operates  residential accommodation exclusively for the UK Higher Education sector. Since 1998, we have established 15 successful, long term partnerships with some of the UK’s leading universities, providing over 35,000 beds and making a home for over 400,000 students from across the world.

UPP has forged a powerful reputation for driving innovative, student-led approaches to campus accommodation. We prioritise the student experience, creating safe, accessible places where all students can live and learn in comfort. We bring our experience in listening to and supporting students directly to bear in how we design our spaces – pioneering in areas such as sustainable buildings, student wellbeing, community partnerships and accessibility.



Free live webinar & QA

Blended learning – Did we forget about the students?

Free Education Webinar with Class

Wednesday, June 15, 11AM London BST

Join our expert panel as we look at what blended learning means in 2022 and how universities can meet the needs of ever more diverse student expectations.

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