Beddington Zero Energy Development
Filed under: Sustainable Design & Technology
Future Housing Today
BedZED represents best practice in urban sustainable housing. With zero net carbon dioxide emissions, heating reduced to 10% of normal, rain water use for toilets and washing machines, this is the most advanced eco-community in the UK. It’s so impressive that demonstration homes were built in Johannesburg to show the way to the delegates at the United Nations Earth Summit in 2002.
Organisation and funding
Bioregional, under its director Pooran Desai secured funding from the World Wide Fund for Nature to promote the initial idea. Consultative engineering firms Arup and Ellis and Moore refined the original designs of architect Bill Dunster and showed how zero fossil energy use could be achieved. It was costed by quantity surveyors Gardiner and Theobold.
Sutton Council, by agreement with the then DETR, sold the land at less than the market price. The Peabody Trust built the project, providing 95% of its costs. Funding was also provided by the European Union for solar panels, the Energy Savings Trust (for construction of a Combined Heat and Power plant) and the Environmental Action Fund. Costs were covered by selling properties at the going market price.
BedZED’s reduced CO2 emissions clinched the deal allowing Bioregional to buy the land at a price lower than conventional companies eager to get their hands on it. By valuing CO2 reduction at 25424338 (50 euros)/tonne, this led to a saving of between 254243100 000-254243200 000 over a 20-25 year life. The project could also boast employment opportunities, educational value and waste reduction and benefited from the political support of Sutton Council and the local MP.
Previously the site was a contaminated sewage-spreading site, so clean up and topsoil replacement was needed prior to construction. Ten full-time members of staff supervised the development of the project. This included expert professionals, able to undertake tasks, such as interpreting complex building regulations and designing computer models.
The benefits of BedZED are environmental, economic and social. The development uses low energy and renewable fuel, including a wood-fuelled 130 kW Combined Heat and Power plant and 777m2 of PV solar panels. Heating the homes uses about 10% of the energy of typical buildings of the same size and total energy demand has been reduced to 40%.
Water savings are made by using rainwater for toilet flushing and treating wastewater using a special on-site sewage treatment works which is once more used for toilet flushing. Water consumption is reduced by using water saving machines and placing visible water metres in the homes.
In building the homes, it was made a policy to maximise the use of reclaimed, recycled and locally produced materials. Local contractors were used wherever possible, boosting the local economy. The development’s compulsory Green Transport Plan promotes public transport and alternatives to the car. Walk and cycle paths are linked into Sutton’s existing network.
Biodiversity has been encouraged on the site by planting a rich variety of vegetation, including wetlands, willow coppice and lavender fields. The development includes an 18-hectare Ecology Park.
A sustainable local economy and community were high priorities in the development of the project. This included the development of space for over 200 employees. Food growing projects have been encouraged on site. The village green, café, sports ground, créche and healthy living centre all provide informal meeting places. One third of the units are for low-income households, one third are for key workers (part rent, part buy) and one third are for private sale.
|24 Helios Road|