Targeting Energy Wastage at Unite


Unite Set For 10% Energy Reduction Thanks To Eseye’s Award-Winning Shoebill

energy-monitor-award-logoEseye’s energy monitor, winner of Best Home Energy Monitor at the European Smart Metering Awards 2013, is helping one of the UK’s leading student accommodation providers cut energy consumption.


Unite is the UK’s leading student accommodation provider. A FTSE 250 company and listed on the London Stock Exchange, it manages over 130 properties and houses 42,000 students across 24 major cities nationwide. The company has seen continued expansion since it was founded in 1991 and now has nearly 1000 employees. At the end of 2012 Unite began work on a new development in Camden which will provide quality accommodation for 563 students, with a view to adding a further 4000 beds across London sites by 2014. Unite provides an ideal setting for young people living away from home for the first time, with a simple rent structure that includes heating and electricity bills.

Although including energy bills in the rent can make life easier for tenants, it can encourage excessive energy consumption from some students. With electricity the second largest bill for Unite it needed to take measures to ensure it was being both greener and more cost-effective. Not only did Unite have to deal with ever-rising tariffs, but it had to battle with the increased energy consumption of students coming to the UK from warmer countries. It wanted to capitalise on an increasingly environmentally aware student body and foster a greater sense of responsibility over energy bills amongst its residents. By finding out where and when the most energy was being expended, they could better devise strategies to reduce energy consumption. Key to this plan was a monitor that wasn’t intrusive to the business or the residents and that didn’t require releasing staff to take meter readings.


After other suppliers failed to provide satisfactory solutions that could offer the efficiency and data levels required, Unite’s Operations Manager Neil Hinwood was put in touch with Eseye’s Channel Development Manager Malcolm Barnes.

It was clear that Shoebill, winner in the Home Energy category at the 2013 European Smart Metering Awards, was the perfect fit for Unite. Not only would it collect data more frequently than similar products on the market – every half an hour instead of once or twice a day – but unlike other monitors, it could measure consumption from two units through its twin current clamp sensors.

This would effectively halve the cost and installation time for Unite. Not only is the product itself is cost-efficient, but the data transfer is also extremely cost-effective, sending only lightweight UDP (user datagram protocol) packets to its server to turn into http posts. Of course, on top of its competitive cost-saving solutions, it would ultimately save Unite the most money by allowing them to work out how best to manage their energy.

It’s a brilliant tool that really pays for itself because it educates people on energy efficiency. What’s so often missing from other energy monitoring services is context. Users might have information on their electricity usage, but they don’t necessarily know how efficient they actually are because other devices only collect and report data, rather than analyse it. Shoebill sends your data to a server, which then allows you to compare your usage with other people. Paul Marshall

Chief Operating Officer


Shoebill is currently being trialled across five locations with plans to roll it out nationwide. Unite commended Eseye on its approach to problem solving and more importantly on finding solutions to potential issues before they arise.

After a long search for the right solution to help our tenants become more aware of their energy use, we came across Eseye and soon established that they were able to develop and deliver a product that would provide exactly what we were looking for. Eseye’s focus and creativity around cost reduction has been great and we are pleased with the units now in operation. Neil Hinwood

Head of Commercial Services

The Shoebill trial has already helped Unite target individual buildings and tenants to see where the most energy is being used, allowing them to direct marketing campaigns where they’re most needed. By engaging with tenants over energy consumption and highlighting ways of reducing usage, they will not only foster a greener culture within student communities, but will be on track to beat their target of 10% reduction in electricity bills. With a nationwide roll-out, this will have a significant impact across the company and will enable Unite to identify areas that could contribute to energy waste – for example using light sensors in halls and stairwells. The data provided by Shoebill is absolutely vital in cultivating a more efficient operation, where there are vast opportunities for savings in cost and energy.



More information

Eseye case studies are written in conjunction with customers and partners to provide interesting illustrations of how the Internet of Things is evolving and how Eseye, its customers and its partners are using innovation to deliver value adding services to homes, enterprises and cities.

For more information about this case study or to discuss any aspect of it, please contact the Eseye Marketing Department on or alternatively on +44 (0)1483685200.

Eseye Website

Follow Eseye

Unite website



mautic is open source marketing automation