Is Private Rented Student Accommodation The Greenest Place For Students To Live?

With many students suffering from fuel poverty, Laura Harrison asks if privately rented student accommodation is a greener alternative to older student housing

student accommodation

Fuel poverty has become an increasing issue in the UK and has been a hot topic of discussion ever since the six big energy firms revealed that they were increasing their energy prices even further. For example, according to the BBC, British gas have increased their prices by 9.2% whilst Npower have increased their prices by an extortionate 10.4%.


As a result of the rising energy prices, many have been forced into fuel poverty, particularly effecting the older generation as well as the younger generation. Students might not get the same media attention as the older generation, but many students are actually suffering from fuel poverty. According to an NUS survey, from a sample of 300 students, a total of 78% of students admitted that they felt uncomfortably cold in their own home over the winter months. Furthermore, 79% stated that they were worried about putting the heating on because they were worried about the high bill that comes with it. This figure is only going to increase as energy firms continue to increase their prices.

Poor insulation

Even on the rare occasion that students do put the heating on, it has very little effect on many student homes because they are so poorly insulated. This is supported by the fact that only 36% of the respondents from the NUS survey though that their home was adequately insulated.

Energy is almost instantaneously lost due to walls, flooring, windows or roofing having very little or no insulation at all in student housing. As a result, not only are students paying a high price for energy prices, but so is our environment. Many student houses are very old and unfortunately there are some student landlords around that care nothing more than getting their monthly rent from the tenants, and protecting the environment with long term housing insulation is just out of the question with all the additional costs that comes along with them.

Privately rented accommodation

So the question is how can students live more comfortably in a way that doesn’t have a negative effect on the environment? It could be argued that private rented student accommodation is the ‘greenest’ type of accommodation for students. As this type of accommodation is typically in large building blocks, the individual flats benefit from natural insulation from all of the surrounding flats. This means that less energy is needed to heat the rented accommodation benefiting not only the environment, but also students, as they can save a significant amount of money from soaring energy prices.

Furthermore, rented student accommodation in the UK are typically new builds. Therefore, as sustainable living has become a major part of society, they have been built with the idea of implementing a ‘greener’ lifestyle and are effectively insulated. For example, Touchstone Student Living who offer student accommodation in London as well as other major cities such as Manchester and Nottingham, offer fully equipped modern student accommodation where students certainly won’t be getting any cold drafts.


So unless all student housing landlords miraculously decide that they are going to make all of their housing ‘greener’, for now it seems as though private rented student accommodation is not only the greenest way that a student can live but also the most comfortable -where they will not have to suffer from fuel poverty.


By Laura Harrison

Edited by Helen Kinsella

Image sourced: Nottingham Trent University

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