The BedZED or Beddington Zero Energy Development project was UK’s First large-scale, mixed use sustainable community with 100 homes, office space, a college and community facilities. The project was developed by The Peabody Trust in partnership with Bioregional and designed by ZEDFactory and Bill Dunster Architects (also based in BedZED) and Arup engineers. BedZED was designed to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions and water use. It sought to have a greener, lower impact lifestyle, relying less on private cars and producing less waste. Saving in transportation, water and energy bills at £3,258 annually for the residence and Tenants. The project encourages public transport, cycling and walking with having limited parking space. There are 82 homes, and 15,120 sq ft. of work space been built between 2000–2002. The project was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2003. Some of the core principles that can be highlighted are its zero energy design to use only energy from renewable sources generated on site, such as 8,360 sq ft. of solar panels and downdraft gasifier to provide district heating and electricity needs for the community. The houses face south to take advantage of solar gain and a triple glazed facade that have high thermal insulation in order to provide an energy efficient design. Most rain water falling on the site is collected and reused. Appliances are chosen to be water-efficient and use recycled water when possible.
Low-impact Building materials were selected from renewable or recycled sources within 50 miles (80 km) of the site, to minimize the energy required for transportation. Just over half (52%) of the construction materials by weight were sourced within 35 miles, considerably closer than the construction industry average. The bricks used on the outside walls came from just 20 miles away. Just over 3,400 tons of construction material, 15% of the total used in BedZED, were reclaimed or recycled products. Nearly all of the steel in the building is reused, much of it coming from refurbishment work at Brighton Railway Station. Reclaimed timber was used for the interior partitions and some flooring. BedZED had soaring ambitions to be a very sustainable, zero carbon development but some of the technologies have not proved effective. For example, the originally installed combined heat and power plant which provided carbon-free heat and electricity from local street tree thinning’s never performed well so was replaced by a gas-fired boiler.
On the positive side of things Monitoring conducted in 2003 found that BedZED had achieved these reductions in comparison to UK averages such as Space-heating requirements were 88% less. Hot-water consumption was 57% less. The electrical power used, at 3 kilowatt hours per person per day, was 25% less than the UK average; 11% of this was produced by solar panels. The remainder normally would be produced by a combined-heat-and-power plant fuelled by wood chips, but the installation company’s financial problems have delayed use of the plant. Mains-water consumption has been reduced by 50%, or 67% compared to a power-shower household. The residents’ car mileage is 65% less. A review of the BedZED development in 2010 drew mainly positive conclusions. We have learnt from what has and hasn’t worked, shared this through tours, talks and reports, and used it to inform our One Planet Communities work.