Article writen by: Sarah Chan
Whether you're studying at Loughborough University or Leicester University, if you've been listening to the news lately you will have heard a lot about COP26, but what actually is it? COP26 is a global conference where the United Nations bring together countries to discuss plans that will be actioned to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce Earth's temperatures rising. Discussions are held over two weeks and this year's conference is expressing a huge concern for action to happen as soon as possible due to the increase of the Earth's temperature causing more flooding, beach erosion and devastating damage to the environment. If you're in student accommodation Leicester or student accommodation Loughborough with Student Beehive, then you're already doing your part and here's exactly how:
Living in homes sourced by renewable energy
Heating buildings accounts for more than a third of the UKs carbon emissions due to the main source of energy being a high contributor to greenhouse gases. That's why within the past seven years, Student Beehive have been replacing all gas heating systems to electric. This is due to gas being detrimental for the environment as this is a fossil fuel that emits high greenhouse gases. This change from gas to clean electrical energy has significantly cut our carbon footprint as the electrical energy used in each room creates zero pollution and is a sustainable source of energy. So when you are cooking in your shared kitchen, studio or one bed apartment; you can be assured you are using clean energy each time.
We know it's easy to forget about turning off appliances but leaving heaters on makes a home less energy-efficient. It's important to be energy-efficient so your greenhouse gas emissions are kept as low as possible and to make sure energy is not wasted. That's why each room in Loughborough accommodation and Leicester student accommodation has a booster button. This button is there to simply switch on your heater and to switch this off after a certain amount of time which ranges from two to four hours. This means when you leave your room, even if you do forget to turn the heaters off, energy is not wasted as it automatically switches off within the timer set.
Air Heated Pumps
Student Beehive has recently launched it's first student accommodation outdoor heated pool - a luxury facility that can be enjoyed when staying in Forest Court in Loughborough. Most heated spaces require burning of a fossil fuel or converting electricity into heat so you may be wondering how is this heated sustainably? The answer is... an air heat pump. Air heat pumps are certainly the way forward, with energy for heating being created by using air from the outside.
Air heat pumps take in outside air to warm up a liquid inside a set of tubes. This liquid is then turned into gas as it heats up and passes through a compressor to increase the pressure. This gas then transfers its heat to the surrounding water to make the pool warm and perfect for an evening dip after a long day of studying.
Air heat pumps can be used to heat up water in kitchens and rooms so Student Beehive have now enforced a policy to ensure heat pumps will be used going forward to replace broken boilers so the company's carbon footprint is reduced is even further.
Across three of our sites, Forest Court, Kingfisher and Radmoor, we have fitted solar panel units. Solar panels use light and heat from the sun to create energy that can be used for electricity. This is one of the most recommended renewable resources and COP26 has emphasised the need for using solar power to replace unsustainable forms of energy in order to make a significant change to prevent the world's carbon footprint.
Bike rental service
We know it's important to travel to and from places during university and how easy it is to get a taxi to speed up the journey. That's why at selected sites we now offer rented bikes for just £3 a day. Not only will you be getting in exercise, but you will also be traveling in a way that cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, reduces noise pollution and congestion.
At each accommodation site, we have separate bins for general waste and recycling in both the main site bin areas and the shared kitchens, studios and flats. Recycling is often something that is overlooked but this is a brilliant way to reduce the demand on raw materials and save energy. Our onsite maintenance team make sure when bins are taken out, the recycling bins are correctly containing only recyclable goods. This is to ensure, Student Beehive as a company are preventing pollution by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Why do we need to lower our carbon footprint?
After reading all the ways Student Beehive are lowering their carbon footprint, you may think to yourself why is this so important? And the reason why is because of the future and climate change. Climate change refers to the shift in temperatures and weather patterns; this impacts all countries and the effects can cause harm to communities and species in their natural habitats. By reducing our carbon footprint, we can reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions emitted into the Earth's atmosphere and reverse/prevent damage caused by climate change.
How you can do your bit
For there to be a real change it's important that everybody makes a change to lower their carbon footprint so here are some simple ways you can help:
- Meatless Mondays: we're seeing more of the population get behind eating vegan and vegetarian meals for at least one day during the week. This is a global movement that inspires people to reduce meat in their diet. Ingredients that often replace chicken and beef include Tofu and Quorn.
- Combatting fast fashion: the fashion industry is a big contributor to pollution with up to 60% of all materials being used by fashion companies being plastic and non-recyclable. We recommend re-using your current wardrobe whilst also purchasing from sustainable clothing brands such as Patagonia, TOMS, Zara and Tala.
- Switch those lights off: it may seem simple but it makes a huge difference. Whenever you leave your kitchen or bedroom, switch your lights off. This saves energy and helps your home become more energy-efficient which is important when reducing your carbon footprint.
Student Beehive is a trading brand operated by Harington Student Ltd and Twitten Student Ltd