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Learning from BedZed

by mel starrs on January 4, 2007

in Case Studies

BioRegional have written a great response to the detractors of BedZed, which can be found here (via::here). With all the talk of zero carbon homes, BedZed has been in the spotlight, and unfortunately has had probably more than it’s fair share of teething problems. As I’ve said before we should learn some lessons from the project, rather than wringing our hands and proclaiming the whole endeavour pointless. From BioRegional’s response:

The main difficulty was the tar content of the wood gas which built up in the engine used to generate the electricity, this was exacerbated by a planning condition which meant that the plant was required to shut down overnight, which caused further problems with tars forming as the equipment cooled down.

BioRegional are involved with WWF on the One Planet Living® project. Their ten guiding principles are:

  1. Zero Carbon
  2. Zero Waste
  3. Sustainable Transport
  4. Local and sustainable materials
  5. Local and sustainable food
  6. Sustainable water
  7. Natural habitats and wildlife
  8. Culture and Heritage
  9. Equity and Fair Trade
  10. Health and happiness

I agree with most of these, but there is always a danger of potential contradictions when economics, fair trade and ethics collide. For more comment on food issues see the Economist article from December 2006 here. I’m still mulling food issues over in my head. If I ever work out which side of the fence I’m sitting, I’ll no doubt blog it. For the minute, I’m firmly placed atop that proverbial fence.

Expect to see much in the press over the coming year on Z-squared (pdf, 72 pages) which is the part of the proposed development at the Thames Gateway. Less son of BedZed and more the mother of all zero carbon developments, if the project is a success it will become the standard against which everything else is judged.