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Unite Students and Philips announce £21m partnership – 29 July 2014

11 November 2016

Unite Students, the UK’s leading manager and developer of student accommodation, has partnered with Philips, the global leader in lighting, to install energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lighting throughout all Unite’s properties over the next two years. The £21 million investment, of which Unite Students share is £9.6m, with the remainder funded by Unite’s co-investment partners, forms part of Unite’s commitment to providing a ‘Home for Success’ for its 41,000 students. 

Unite Students is making the investment to improve the physical space within its properties so that students feel more at home, to increase the energy efficiency of its buildings and to reduce the running cost of its portfolio. Unite expects to see payback within five years and the resulting cost savings and service efficiencies will allow Unite Students to make service improvements, such as free cleaning and longer reception hours, at no additional cost.  


  • £21m investment in LED lighting as part of Unite Students ‘Home for Success’ commitment. 
  • Focus on improving the physical space in all Unite Students properties: over 120 properties in 23 UK towns and cities.
  • Reduction in energy consumption of c.10-15% per annum and reduced lighting-related maintenance activity due to the significantly longer lifespan of LED light bulbs.  
  • Annual carbon savings of around 2,000 tonnes CO2/year – equivalent to total annual emissions of 400 typical UK households. This will reduce Unite’s overall carbon footprint by around 3.5%.  
  • Over 300,000 new light fittings and 85,000 sensors and dimmers to be installed.

LED lighting will be installed in corridors, kitchens, lounges, common rooms, and reception spaces, as well as outdoor areas. The upgrade will provide high quality lighting for staff and students to create a better working and living environment. The installation of dimmer switches and a Philips LivingColors colour change lamp in every bedroom, will also allow students to personalise their lighting to suit study, relaxation or socialising. 

The two-year project will be rolled out across Unite’s portfolio and will involve three joint Philips-Unite project teams. 

Richard Smith, Managing Director for Unite Students, said: 

“We are pleased to announce this partnership with Philips and our investment in LED lighting, which supports Unite Students’ commitment to providing a home for success for the students that live with us. Success for students means many different things from getting the best degree they can, securing a job after graduating, making lasting friendships and relationships, to personal growth and developing into who they want to be.

“The new lighting will create a more inviting space for students which they can personalise for socialising or study. At the same time it will reduce Unite’s carbon footprint and the longer lifecycle of LED lights will significantly reduce maintenance workloads for our city teams.”

Dan Scott, Commercial Director, Office & Industry, Philips, said: 

“Philips is working closely with Unite Students to drive down energy consumption and maintenance costs through the use of efficient lighting. The new lighting is also helping Unite Students to achieve its primary goal of creating the best possible environment for student learning, reinforcing the power of light to uplift and transform our surroundings.”

In addition to supplying the lighting itself, Philips is providing a range of services to support Unite Students in unlocking the potential that lighting can bring, both in terms of energy efficiency and ambiance. Prior to commencing the rollout across the portfolio Philips surveyed the Unite Students properties to evaluate the existing lighting, in order to deliver the best results and recommend the most appropriate lighting solutions. Philips will manage the installation and provide after sales service support to the Unite Students team.