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The LED project – Creating innovative light fittings that reduce our carbon footprint



  • £7.8m investment project to replace all UPP lighting with LEDs
  • Reducing UPP’s carbon footprint by an estimated 3,870 tonnes through the replacement of over 120,000 lights
  • Playing an important role in helping the UK achieve its Net Zero emissions target by 2050
  • Design of eight new innovative light fittings or ‘luminaires’, now used worldwide
  • New fittings have an expected life of 16 years, compared to the one-year expectancy of traditional units

A key business-wide initiative to help reduce energy consumption is the Utilities Optimisation project. This £7.8 million sustainability project replaces all light fittings with innovative new LED fixtures.

This project will see the replacement of over 120,000 lights and, when the transition is complete, will reduce our carbon footprint by roughly 3,870 tonnes. The project is estimated to pay for itself after five years of operation and makes a significant reduction in our carbon output.

The project recognises the important role that our sector can play in helping the UK to achieve its Net Zero emissions target by 2050.

Aside from the environmental benefits, the project extends lifecycle replacement requirements as the new luminaires have an expected life of 16 years (with a 10-year warranty) compared to the one-year expectancy of traditional units. This makes them a less resource-intensive option and reduces health and safety risk when replacing high-level lights.

The LED project was developed through an innovative partnership with Osram which began in 2015. The brief was to identify and design the longest life and greenest solutions, sympathetic to the student experience and style of the facilities.

The partnership has resulted in the creative design of eight different luminaires specific to the student accommodation and education environment. Critically, for utmost safety, the units have an internal battery (an integrated power pack to sit inside the light) for emergency escape areas.

The ideas developed through UPP’s partnership with Osram have now been sold worldwide, benefitting a much wider audience beyond our UK operational portfolio.