Student Accommodation leads the way on ESG
The Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) sector has always been naturally pre-disposed to considering such ESG issues from the sector’s early days.
The very nature of the sector grew out of the idea of using spaces efficiently and repurposing former offices, out of date old halls or brownfield locations, modernising declining office locations and releasing former Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) stock into the local housing market.
As the sector developed, the needs of their customer base started to come to the fore. Students who lived in PBSA have needs other than just a space or a bed to exist in, so social areas started to appear in all schemes, an initiative which led on to collaborative interactive working spaces as lessons were learnt over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Operators and developers worked with the local surroundings to integrate their schemes within their communities. Examples can be seen up and down the country in University cities and towns of areas being regenerated by their new student population.
All-inclusive rents mean that it is in the operators interests to be efficient in their use of energy, which in turn has meant educating and encouraging their customers about becoming more energy aware themselves. Further advances and awareness of green issues see students being more demanding in what they want their accommodation to provide them. Many operators trade on the basis of their brand and need to deliver this to their customer base. Whether students will happily pay for this remains a question to be answered – even more pertinent is whether their parents will pay for it! Whatever the case we know that investors demand it and will pay a green premium, so developers need to deliver it.
A small snapshot of why PBSA is already all over ESG…
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