Recent research from accommodationforstudents.com shows that students are increasingly looking for more sustainable accommodation.
In fact, sustainability and the environment are important factors when making purchasing decisions generally. Students weigh sustainability 7.6 (out of 10) for importance when making a purchase, with a highly motivated 25% of respondents scoring it 10. At the other end of the scale just 8% of students are not making any effort to live more sustainable lives.
Students give slightly less priority to sustainability considerations when selecting accommodation (7.1 from 10). However, over half scored 8 or more and the majority of students would like to live with other students who take the issue seriously – they like the idea of environmentally friendly housemates. Longer term, 83% told us they anticipated environmental factors becoming more important.
Price, location and bills
Of those that did not consider sustainability to be relevant when choosing accommodation, the majority indicated this was because they considered price and location to be much more important factors.
In addition, 27% simply did not know which factors to take into consideration. A good illustration of this knowledge gap is that 25% did not know what an EPC certificate was and 34% did not know if the energy they used was from renewable sources.
Understanding energy sources and usage is particularly key, given the rise in importance of bills inclusive rents in student accommodation.
Is the lack of a monthly bill a problem?
While a bills inclusive offering is important to attract students, it could come at a cost to the environment. The lack of a monthly bill may encourage tenants to leave the heating on for longer than necessary, which has an impact on both the environment and costs. There is a clear advantage here to encouraging more sustainable behaviour, as it benefits both the pocket and the environment.
88% would choose sustainable accommodation
Our research shows that the vast majority would opt for the more sustainable option if all other factors were equal. In fact, 38% would actually be prepared to pay more and only 30% would definitely not.
66% of students felt that landlords had an important role to play, with 95% of the opinion that it would be a good idea for landlords, letting agents and other property managers to provide advice on how to reduce their environmental impact in student accommodation.
Making a difference
There does seem to be a clear convergence of trends, with students more interested in sustainability, while at the same time looking to landlords for advice. There is also an environmental and commercial ‘pay-off’ for landlords. It is certainly a trend accommodationforstudents.com (AFS) will continue to track and seek to address. In addition to planting a tree for every property advertised, AFS have launched a campaign that can be used by landlords to encourage more sustainable behaviour from their student tenants. This will be just the start of a long term strategy to address this important trend.