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Being green is defiantly the way forward. It makes complete sense to me that if we don't stop using up all the planets resources and lower our carbon footprint, that one day, we will no longer be able to recognise it as the planet it is today.

Although this is quite a radical thought from someone who started recycling only a year ago(!) I admit, I didn't really care, and kind of took the opinion of "well it´s too cold in England anyway, lets warm up the earth a bit". I feel quite ashamed now. Although it is only over the past few years that I have been bombarded with news bulletins and advertising highlighting these environmental issues. I want to do something about it.

Maybe the best place to start is in the house. Well, with A house.

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Beddington Zero Energy Development is the UK’s largest mixed use sustainable community. It was designed to create a thriving community in which ordinary people could enjoy a high quality of life, while living within their fair share of the Earth’s resources.

People move to BedZED with typical lifestyles, and over the years change their behaviour significantly. The holistic design works on three levels:

1.the design solves problems such as heating and water usage

2. the design and services offered help people make sustainable choices such as walking rather than driving

3. the community have created their own facilities and groups to improve quality of life and reduce their environmental impact.

Designed and built by Bill Dunster architects ZEDfactory, it is a mixture of tenure homes and workspaces. This scheme features the first large scale use of zero carbon thermal mass buildings as well as other Eco friendly schemes that sound very complicated!

One thing that interested me was that they all moved in people me a year ago, not particularly knowledgeable about recycling or being environmentally friendly. Where as now the key facts are:

Energy: 81% reduction in energy use for heating, 45% reduction in electricity use (compared to local av.).

Transport: 64% reduction in car mileage 2,318km/year (compared to national av.).

Water: 58% reduction in water use 72 litres/person/day (compared to local av.).

Waste: 60% waste recycled.

Food: 86% of residents buy organic food.

Community: residents know 20 neighbours by name on average

One resident said this about the community:

“We wake up every morning and think we’re on holiday. The heat pours through the windows into the light, airy rooms. We have the sitting room upstairs to make access to the garden across the bridge easy. It’s very flexible”

Now this may seem a bit like an advert, but it is still inspiring, and if there was hope for them, then there is hope for me yet.


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