Over 100 student households receive home energy advice
We’re almost halfway through our Homes Fit For Study (HFFS) project, delivered in partnership with National Energy Action (NEA). Through Homes fit for Study, we aim to support over 21,500 students to save 3,170,800 kWh of energy and 556 tonnes of CO2. Exposure to fuel poverty will be alleviated through providing high-quality home energy advice to students, living in the private rented sector. This is more relevant than ever due to the energy crisis and cost of living crisis.
Through Homes Fit For Study, students across the UK have completed over 100 energy audits of student houses! These audits provide essential energy guidance and upskill students. Read about how Stefan, one of the auditors, found the experience:
It’s been really interesting volunteering as a student energy auditor. Reducing energy use and utility costs is a passion of mine that has developed over my time at University, and I wanted to see what I could do to help my peers do the same. Being able to have training for an energy awareness certificate was also very valuable. I’ve learnt a huge amount that has shed light on problems with student homes that keep coming up; most notably, damp.
Nearly all the homes I audited had signs of damp, and this was often due to the extractor fans in high-moisture areas (the kitchen and bathroom) not working. It was a little worrying to see how regular this was, and how it did not seem to be being addressed by landlords; especially as damp can cause respiratory health problems. Highlighting the problem of damp in the auditing meetings with people will hopefully help set a solution to those damp problems in motion.
Separately, it’s been very rewarding to talk to people about energy bills. As we’re in a cost of living crisis at the moment, energy bills are stretching budgets further than ever before. Some of the people I audited were very glad for the help on bills, and it turned out to be very useful telling people that they have a right to choose their energy supplier, even when they are ‘just’ tenants. Consumer rights are really important to me, and it was great to be able to champion them within the context of these audits.
Overall, the ‘Homes Fit for Study’ program is one I am very glad for, even though it’s there to monitor a problem that shouldn’t really exist: students not being able to study in adequately heated and ventilated accommodation. Hopefully the data gathered will go some way to building a case for students to demand better standards from their accommodation in future. They certainly deserve it.
We intend to further analyse the findings of the student audits, create resources that meet the needs of students, and share data for those campaigning to change the private rented sector.
If you’re a student interested in being involved in audits next year, you can register your interest by emailing Grace.
If you work for a university, college or students’ union, get in touch with Jade to arrange for us to visit your students and share free resources.