A Visit to One Planet Living Community, BedZED
“A One Planet Community works best with a mix of uses including houses and offices” said Pooran Desai, Co-founder of BioRegional and the innovative One Planet Living framework that champions a more sustainable way to live by creating better places for people to live, work and do business. “This creates a vibrant neighbourhood and opportunities to reduce the need for cars which create such congestion in urban areas. If the Baylands development can do this at the same time as contributing to the local community and economy, it has the potential to become a truly world class project.”
Desai’s reaction to the potential of no housing on the Baylands site underscores the importance of having a mix of uses, including residential, in a community to make it a truly
sustainable development. The Brisbane Baylands was designed in an effort to comply with the City of Brisbane’s Sustainability Framework which is based on the One Planet Living principles developed by BioRegional. The ‘Sustainability Framework for the Baylands’, is a guiding document for the sustainable development of the Baylands project and was recently featured in Western City, the monthly magazine of the League of California Cities. UPC’s Jonathan Scharfman was excited to take an up and close look at BedZED, Bioregional’s award-winning development and headquarters. BedZED, located in London, UK, was designed to achieve big reductions in climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, and is the world’s first One Planet Community. Similar to the goals of the Brisbane Baylands proposal, aka the Developer’s Sponsored Plan (DSP), it seeks to make it easy for people living there to have a greener, lower impact lifestyle, relying less on private cars.
BedZED is a community of 100 homes (ranging from one-bed apartments to four bedroom homes), office spaces, a college and community facilities. Of course the eco-development was designed to be exceptionally energy efficient. For example, the project throughout has extensive photovoltaic (PV) panels, on the roofs and incorporated into south facing windows, to supply some of BedZED’s electricity. In addition, to ensure good ventilation with the well-insulated homes, a passive ventilation and heat recovery system were installed onto the rooftops – the colorful wind cowls for which BedZED is now famous for.
The eco-village also saves water with dual flush toilets, aerated flow taps and shower heads and low water consumption washing machines installed throughout. The Brisbane Baylands aims to conserve water with similar measures, including using native plant landscaping to incorporate plants with low to no water demands and the construction of an onsite recycled water plant to provide recycled water for irrigation and other non-potable uses.
BedZED’s sustainability efforts have proved to be financially rewarding as well. For example, for a one 3-person household using an on-site club car instead of its own vehicle, the estimated total annual savings in transport, water and energy bills is £3,258 a year, compared to an average London household with its own car. That’s over $4,200 a year! In addition, a BedZED home sells for about 5 to 10% more than homes of the same size in the surrounding area.
The community is designed as a dense development, relative to UK’s suburban terms, with no driving allowed within the project. According to their brochure, “this combination of high-density housing and BedZED’s rich mix of private outdoor space and shared, traffic-free outdoor space encourages neighbourlisness.” Well-designed, compact development is both sustainable, and creates a sense of community.
The Brisbane Baylands is a truly sustainable development, and includes:
• Tidal/freshwater wetland enhancement zones
• Bio-detention zones and bioswale network
• Greywater treatment plant/recycling facility
• LEED Silver, GreenPoint rated or better buildings
• Onsite solar field and extensive roof-mounted PVs throughout the development to supply clean energy
• Central drainage channel and stormwater collection/treatment system throughout the site
• Using Life Cycle Assessment for the selection materials and making process decisions for construction of buildings
• Sustainable transportation system, leading to low vehicle miles
traveled with sustainable and robust transit system, as well as car and bike-sharing services
• And more!
It was a fun field trip and a great way to glean ideas for the Brisbane Baylands! Many thanks to the Pooran Desai and the Bioregional team for their hospitality!