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Residential Energy Savings Of 35% Possible By Getting Inside Tenants' Brains

A new report has revealed that huge energy savings are possible by engaging tenants.

Encouraging residents to make more sustainable decisions in their accommodation can help to reduce a building’s carbon emissions by up to 35% according to a study by ASK4, Utopi and Spike Global.

Changing Behaviours looked at residents living across a range of residential housing to determine how their energy behaviour affected net-zero targets.

The report found that turning the heating up by three points in an average apartment can double the amount of electricity consumed, which it said posed a serious challenge for the student accommodation sector, which relies on the ‘all-inclusive bills’ model to attract students. 

While 70% of students found all-inclusive bills to be a key desirability factor in their property search, data showed that students used up to 35% more electricity than in accommodations where utilities are billed separately.

The research also focused on the barriers currently preventing residents making a switch to more sustainable behaviours, the importance of education, and the role that behavioural science and technology can play in reducing energy consumption.

Utopi compared two identical, electrically heated student flats, one of which was heated between 18-22 degrees celsius, with the other heated between 25-30 degrees celsius. At the end of a six-month period, the overheated flat used 1,670% more electricity, equivalent to an additional £1,474, or 1.65 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The research revealed that 65% of millennials and 70% of Gen Z would be prepared to make major changes to their own lifestyles to combat climate change and found that delivering energy usage statistics and data directly to the end user, comparing with their neighbours’ energy consumption, can result in a more considered approach to their energy use.

“Not everyone may fully understand all the jargon, such as what a kilowatt hour means. We use resident portals to engage and educate residents directly, in a way that’s easy to understand,” Spike Global Marketing Director Jonny Wootten said.