Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had a vision for a greener future. The Beddington Zero Energy Development was launched during his tenure in 2002. Fifteen years later, BedZED is the largest eco-village in the United Kingdom, a mixed set of dwellings and offices located in Beddington, London Borough of Sutton.
The city has managed to halve its carbon dioxide emissions.
Unlike Heidelberg Village in Germany and its passive houses, BedZed has little or no communication about the effectiveness of this prototype which serves as a model for many other projects around the world. Just imagine the typical English houses: adding three more floors, putting solar panels on the roofs, replacing the bow windows with large bay windows, so that there are hardly any walls on the facade. In winter, to keep your feet warm, it is a floor heating. There is a common hot water tank and thanks to the solar panels, electricity is self-produced, but when there is a surplus, it benefits the whole city.
That is BedZED. A small neighbourhood of 250 residents built in the town of Sutton in South London. Solar homes on two hectares were built according to a golden rule: zero carbon.
Half of the dwellings were sold at the market price, a quarter reserved for social housing and the last ones for collaborative housing (several owners who buy together).
Initiated by BioRegional, designed and constructed by Bill Dunster’s team of the architects, Peabody Foundation financed the project, a foundation that usually finances the ‘rent-controlled housing’, so the social mix was particularly close to its heart. And the extra cost of ecological installations has been cushioned by offices and shops, hence the balance.
At the end of the day, the city has managed to halve its carbon dioxide emissions. The system has been emulated, first in Brighton, then in a small village of Ungersheim in Alsace, and then also in Sonoma in California.
BedZED has won numerous awards and honours, including the Civic Trust Sustainability Award; The Housing Design Award; and the Building Energy Globe Award among others.