Higher Education Funding Council for England

Putting a quality mark on greener student homes at Staffordshire University Students' Union

Sunday 13-04-2014 - 11:19

Students know all too well the substandard quality of the privately-rented student housing landscape in the UK.

With energy efficiency currently rising up the priority list in the UK property market, Staffordshire Univeristy Students' Union’s new initiative GreenPad allows students to find the best environmentally friendly accommodation, listing properties which have been assessed and certified by trained student auditors.

“As GreenPads are energy efficient, students won’t need to use as much energy and as a result, they will benefit from cheaper bills as well as help saving the planet”, explained GreenPad co-ordinator Katie Ferneyhough.

Stephanie Roy is a 2nd year BSc animal biology and conservation student, and one of GreenPad’s auditors. “I think it's an important issue and relevant to many current problems", she says.

"Student housing should be comfortable and also introduce principles of future living - like paying bills and saving money.”

GreenPad is also beneficial for landlords looking to rent to students because, through the assessment process, they can learn how to reduce their letting costs by making their properties more energy efficient. This allows them to stand out from the lettings crowd when students trawl through  hundreds of potential homes.

“Although I believed I had made my properties as energy efficient as possible, the process of carrying out the audits of my houses helped my tenants and me by bringing to my attention some additional points of value”, commented John McPhaden who lets out several properties to students.

The growing popularity of GreenPads demonstrates that students are not only keen to reduce their living costs at university, but they also have an increasing sense of responsibility for lower-carbon living.

Staffordshire University Students' Union president Rochelle Owusu-Antwi is really excited about the new lettings service, saying "it’s time we improved housing offered to students within the private rental sector. We want to help students live more sustainably and save some cash along the way”

“GreenPad will form the perfect worked example of how a sustainable homes project, led by the union, can really make a difference to our student experience and our environment.”

By creating an accreditation mark which assures students of the quality of properties, initiatves like this help to facilitate market-driven change across the privately rented housing sector.

Students want lower-carbon housing for a huge range of reasons - ranging from lower bills, to warmer houses, to cleaner living. GreenPad helps landlords and students work together to create these greener homes right across the community.

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