BedZED: The Development that Redefined Sustainable Housing
September 21, 2016 5 Comments
Yesterday I got to fulfill a long-term dream to see first-hand one of the most ambitious and important sustainable housing projects on the planet – Beddington Zero Emissions Development, aka BedZED .
Even though it is now almost 15 years old it still sets the standard internationally for a large-scale, mixed use sustainable community. This pioneering eco-village is in south London suburbia and has 100 homes, office space, a college and community facilities. It has been inspiration for sustainable neighbourhoods and our One Planet Living Communities across the world including Fremantle where we have been jokingly calling a similar planned development here FredZED.
BedZED is also Bioregional’s headquarters. Bioregional is the not-for-profit organisation the City of Fremantle works with as part of its One Planet framework. Bioregional developed its ten One Planet Living principles out of our experience in planning, building, working and living in BedZED. After giving a talk to Bioregional staff on what we are doing in Freo I did a fascinating tour.
It would be fair to say that this eco-village has influenced and inspired a new generation of One Planet Communities and eco towns including our own award-winning WGV.
BedZED’s set impressive new level in terms of energy and water efficiency. It’s aim of using no fossil fuels is in every part of the design. Its houses and flats are passively solar heated using multi-storey glazed sun spaces facing south. The homes are all very highly insulated but also well ventilated using the distinctive and colourful wind cowls on the roofs. Here, fresh outside air is drawn into the building and pre-heated by outgoing stale air via heat exchangers.
A communal boiler supplies hot water for the entire development via an underground mini-district heating system. A large hot water tank in each home helps to keep it warm in winter as well as storing hot water.
BedZED’s buildings have substantial thermal mass to store heat in brickwork and floor and ceiling slabs, helping to maintain a comfortable and even temperature night and day throughout the year.
Extensive photovoltaic (PV) panels, on the roofs and incorporated into south facing windows, supply some of BedZED’s electricity. Any surplus PV power is exported into the local grid.
Water use is reduced to 76 litres/day; out of which 18% represents rainwater or recycled water; use of aerated taps, low flush toilets, smaller bathtubs. One innovation at BedZED is the use of a reed-water biofiltration system that purifies blackwater into greywater for use in non-potable applications, such as toilet flush or water for gardening.
But going beyond this impressive energy and water efficiency, what I was also really impressed with is how the design helped cultivate community and a kid-friendly environment. This will be the subject of my next post.