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Case- study in the spotlight: Successful sustainable housing quarter in London makes a more sustainable lifestyle possible

Since its conception in 2002, Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED) has been a flourishing green community. BedZED is an environmentally friendly housing development in Hackbridge, London. It was designed by the architect Bill Dunster to support a more sustainable lifestyle. This article tells you about the important assets of this residential and workspace development project. It gives you the opportunity to find out what makes BedZED so successful.

In BedZED you find plentiful green spaces, recycling facilities, water saving features, and a legally binding green transport plan. The 82 homes, and 1,405 square metres (15,120 sq ft) of work space were built in 2000–2002. The BedZED Development design meets very high environmental standards, with a strong emphasis on roof gardens, sunlight, solar energy, reduction of energy consumption, and waste water recycling. In terms of materials, BedZED is built from natural, recycled, or reclaimed materials.

Solar techniques & hot water from centralized heat and power plant 

Using passive solar techniques, houses are arranged having south facing terraces to maximize heat gain from the sun. Each terrace is backed by north facing offices, where minimal solar gain reduces the tendency to overheat and the need for energy-hungry air conditioning. A centralized heat and power plant (CHP) provides hot water, which is distributed around the site via a district heating system of super-insulated pipes. Should residents or workers require a heating boost, each home or office has a domestic hot water tank that doubles as a radiator. The CHP plant at BedZED is powered by off-cuts from tree surgery waste that would otherwise go to landfill. To reduce the embodied energy of BedZED, construction materials were selected for their low-embodied energy and sourced within a 35-mile radius of the site when possible. The energy expended in transporting materials to the site was therefore minimized.

Sustainable transport

The entire development has been designed to encourage alternatives to car use. A green transport plan promotes walking, cycling, and use of public transport. A car pool for residents has been established, and all these initiatives have helped to provide a strategic and integrated approach to transport issues. BedZED’s target is a 50% reduction in fossil-fuel consumption by private car use over the next 10 years compared with a conventional development. BedZED was the first low-car development in the UK to incorporate a car club, “ZEDcars.” It also follows a “pedestrian first” policy, including good lighting, drop curbs for prams (strollers) and wheelchairs, and a road layout that keeps vehicles to walking speed.


For more information on this inspiring project, please also read this article on the Inhabitat-website