Student accommodation, environmental behaviour and lessons for Property Managers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Property Management, 2021
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Purpose Humans have been aware of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions for over three decades however, per capita GHG and water consumption increase, and environmental impacts, grow. The built environment overall contributes around 40% of total global GHG emissions and action is vital. Whilst the built environment industry, professions, regulators and stakeholders have acted; increasing building code standards and developing building rating tools and technology to reduce energy and water consumption exists, our environmental impact grows because of human behaviour. In the tertiary education sector. student accommodation constitutes a large part of the real estate of the university; and contributes large amounts of their GHG emissions and environmental impact. Property Managers have the ability to educate and install systems and technologies to improve behaviour if they understand it. Design/methodology/approach This exploratory pilot study used a questionnaire survey to explore how student’s worldviews differ to one another and the possible subsequent limitations to behaviour in the context of climate change. Analysis is conducted based on 71 responses from international university students living in residential accommodation on campuses in Stockholm. Findings The results suggest that there are different perceptions about the environment and the actions that are needed, and; that this leads to different behaviours amongst students. The findings suggest that the limited knowledge and ability to relate environmental consequences to one’s own actions, as well as effective communication and risk averse behaviour, is one of the critical factors in mitigating climate change. A deeper understanding of participants worldviews and the different resulting behaviours was achieved through the survey. Research limitation This pilot study was conducted with the participation of a relatively small number of university students. It is recommended that future studies expand the number of participants, including representatives with more varied backgrounds, education levels and different age groups. Originality The knowledge gained about environmental attitudes and human behaviour can help policy makers, regulators and particularly property managers to develop more effective strategies to deliver better sustainability outcomes.
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