Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Staying in University Accommodation

Information for visitors staying in University of Edinburgh Accommodation. If you are staying in University Accommodation at any point throughout the year, then there are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. 

In your room

Reuse towels

University accommodation showing room with two single beds.

You may not think it, but washing towels on a daily basis leads to significant use of water, as well as the carbon emissions from electricity. Although Scotland is known to be a wet country, unnecessary use of water can drastically reduce water we have available for everyday use.

If you don't think you need your towel washed each day, then please leave it on the towel rack in the bathroom. 

Reduce your daily room service

By reducing your room cleaning, you reduce the amount of water and energy used in cleaning the linen.

If you don't think your room needs a clean on a day, then please let us know by using the relevant housekeeping sign on the outside of your door. This will help us to reduce our carbon footprint and keep disruptions to a minimum. 

In our buildings

Refill your reusable water bottle

By refilling your own water bottle you are reducing the amount of plastic that is being thrown away. The University has a number of refill points available across our campus, so you shouldn't be too far away if you need to top up during the day.

Find our free water refill points

Know your bins

Many organisations have their own system for separating waste and the University of Edinburgh is no different. In our accommodation we use the following bins.

Bin Colour Items to be disposed of


Wet paper and food




Green All other items

You can find these bins located in the pantry areas and common rooms of our accommodation buildings, or ask at the reception.


Save energy

The following energy-saving actions can help to reduce carbon emissions at the University.

Turn off lights and equipment

When equipment is left on or in standby it still uses power. By switching unused equipment such as TVs or laptops off at the wall, as well as turning off lights when not in required, you will help the University to save energy.

Boil only enough water for what you need

Woman filling kettle

If you're making a cup of tea or coffee then make sure you don't over-fill the kettle. By boiling only what you need you're saving energy and time!

Turn down heating

Some of our accommodation allows guests to control the heating levels. If this is the case then please use the thermostats provided to make yourself comfortable. Only open a window to cool down if the heating is completely off.

Choose to travel sustainably


Many of our accommodation options are based within 15 minutes walk of central Edinburgh. There are some fantastic, quiet routes to explore along the way. 

Walking around Edinburgh 

Person riding a bicycle in George Square


If this is not enough then a number of our sites now have 'Just Eat Cycles' on-site, which can be hired out.

Cycling around Edinburgh    

Public Transport

Edinburgh is known for having one of the best bus networks in the UK, if not the world. This means that you should be able to reach most parts of Edinburgh by bus easily.

Public Transport around Edinburgh


Travelling by taxi is the most carbon-intensive and expensive way to get around Edinburgh.

If you have no other option, why not ask whether it's possible to travel in a low emission vehicle when making the booking? An increasing number of taxis in Edinburgh are becoming either plug-in electric hybrid or fully electric models.