BedZED, the first ecovillage

BedZED: the first eco-village is born

In England, promoters committed to sustainable development have for the first time created an ecological pilot village, without recourse to fossil fuels and without CO2 emissions. An exciting experience which, from Switzerland to South Africa, is already being exported. In France, under the impetus of WWF, low-cost housing programs should follow this model.

At a time when, in France, communities are increasingly being alerted to climate change, a pilot experiment conducted in Great Britain is proving that putting sustainable development into practice on a city scale is possible. . In 2000, an ecological village, comprising 82 homes and 2 m300 of offices and shops, was created in the southern suburbs of London, in Sutton.
Nicknamed Bedzed (for Beddington Zero Energy Development), this unique eco-village wants to demonstrate that “habitat can be designed and built without damaging the environment. To achieve this goal, the designers of Bedzed seem to have carried out a gigantic life cycle assessment (LCA), which consists of evaluating the environmental impact of the life of a product, from its realization to its disposal. … Or recycling. But if usually, we establish the balance sheet of a tire or a television, in the case of BedZED, it is the whole life of a village (construction of housing, needs in energy resources, travel, professional activities, life social, waste management, etc.) whose environmental, economic and social impact has been designed and assessed. To achieve the eco-design of this new kind of living space.

halved Footprint!

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The first sustainable principle applied to BedZED is that of the local loop: making maximum use of local resources, reuse and recycling (limited transport, reinforced local economic development and preserved cultural identity). Here, 90% of the materials come from less than 50 km around (certified wood) and are often recycled (old railway tracks…). The design of the housing is thought out in terms of energy efficiency and quality of life: reinforced insulation, maximum sunshine, terraces and small gardens, ventilation system with heat recovery ... The use of renewable energies and the optimization of natural resources of the BedZED project a great real-life example of what rational use can be in terms of resources: rainwater recovery for toilets, electrical and thermal energy supplied by biomass (recovered wood), recovered heat and photovoltaic panels located on the facades. This produced electricity even makes it possible to charge 100% of the electric vehicles made available to residents for sharing.
Travel is reduced, since workspaces are available, local shops have been created, and a system for delivering fresh produce from the region exists.
Finally, this streamlining allows BedZED 50% to reduce its ecological footprint. To give an order of magnitude compared to conventional homes, the heating is reduced 90% of the total energy consumption 70%, and the volume of waste 75%.

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Sustainable housing "easy, affordable and attractive"

BedZED was designed by the Peabody Foundation, London's largest home charity, in collaboration with the BioRegional Development Group, a very active environmental group and architect Bill Dunster, renowned for his interest in solar homes . A trio with both simple and ambitious designs, as explained by Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, from WWF international, an association that supported the project from the start, and Pooran Desai, director of BioRegional: ”(…) Making the concept of sustainability something easy, attractive and cheaper. The overall goal was to enable people to live in a sustainable way within an ecological footprint of two hectares, which is the average environmental space available per person in the world. And this without sacrificing the comfort and benefits of a modern, mobile lifestyle. "
It seems that a bet has been won, because BedZED is not reserved for an elite "bobo" or for extremist militants. More than half of the units were reserved by the Peabody Foundation for low-income families, and the units were sold at a price equal to those in the traditional market, with the additional cost of some facilities being met by income provided by the activities of shops and offices developed in BedZED. Modern comfort is not sacrificed, bathtub and not shower in the bathrooms, electric oven and stoves, individual washing machine… The village is also endowed with community places of life: health center, sports club, playground. games, daycare, cafes, restaurants ...

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New villages WWF

BedZED was awarded in July 2000 by the Royal Institute of Builders and Architects (IRCA) and will serve as inspiration for the housing program planned by the English government (1 million homes over 10 years!). South Africa, China and even Portugal are forming partnerships for construction programs. »All the English regions are engaged in a calculation of their ecological footprint and the construction of a macro scenario, and a global network is being formed to set up pioneer sites living according to the principles of sustainability demonstrated at BedZED ”, welcomes Thanh Nguiem, volunteer member of the general management of WWF, at the origin of a Franco-British structure to import the BedZED approach to France. In France, the very enthusiastic WWF is already looking forward to the rehabilitation and construction of low-income housing programs according to BedZED's sustainable criteria, in partnership with companies (Savings Bank, Nature & Découvertes, etc.) and large cities interested (Nantes, Lyon, Lille….)


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