Purpose of the project:
Unite Students, the UK’s leading manger and developer of student accommodation is investing £21m in LED lighting. The CO2 saving of 2,000 tonnes/year equivalent to that emitted by 400 homes will reduce Unite’s carbon footprint by around 3.5%. Unite Students is committed to reducing CO2, and lighting was recognised as a significant source. Following extensive trials and pilots, an upgrade to state-of-the-art LED lighting and controls was identified as the optimum response. Unite Students, in partnership with Philips Lighting, will be installing LED lighting in 130 properties across 23 UK towns and cities over the next two years.
The investment in LED lighting forms a signature commitment in Unite Students’ new business purpose to provide a Home for Success for the 43,000 students living with them each year. Home for Success will provide students with everything they need to be successful at university, whether defined as academic achievement, personal growth or preparing for the world of work. To that end, the new lighting will provide a better quality of light, which is more conducive to both study and sleep. Unite Students undertook a rigorous procurement process before selecting Philips Lighting as their strategic lighting partner. Philips will deliver the complete lighting upgrade, from survey and design through to installation and aftercare. Philips worked with Unite Students to develop a fitting with upgradable components, allowing future upgrades to exploit technological developments and reduce waste. Unite consulted their students on preferences. As a result, light levels in accommodation are to be increased. External lighting will be improved to boost safety and security, while motion-sensors reduce the time corridors must be lit. All parts of the business have been brought together by the project, requiring a planned and ongoing communication campaign. The project supports a long-term sustainability engagement programme for students, helping them to form responsible living habits which will endure.
Moving from fluorescent lighting to LED, in combination with enhanced lighting layouts and controls, has already delivered a substantial reduction in emissions. The three sites fitted out during 2013 have seen greenhouse gas output drop by around15%. Phase Two of the project rolling out the LED solution to all properties in Unite Students’ estate is expected to save around 2,000 tonnes of CO2/year. The longevity of the new lighting solutions will also significantly reduce generation of hazardous waste from fluorescent lamps, and cut supply chain emissions to the 23 towns and cities where Unite has accommodation. The new lighting has also been designed to create an environment more conducive to study. During the project research, one student said of LED: “This lighting makes me feel more focused and happier. The room seems bigger and more inviting.” By saving energy, reducing carbon and creating the best possible environment for students, the LED lighting project at Unite demonstrates how a holistic approach to sustainable development can deliver tangible benefits.
“The new lighting will create a more inviting space for students which they can person- alise 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.” - Richard Smith, Managing Director for Unite Students