Eco Housing Project
When most people think of an eco-friendly house they picture a few solar panels scattered atop the roof, perhaps a loft bursting with insulation and a family of bicycles waiting eagerly outside. However, ZEDhomes takes the idea of domestic carbon emissions to an all-time low, quite literally. A company that claims to be the,'most socially and environmentally-aware developer in the country’ is part of an new elite group of “Eco Extremists” trying to change the way we live.
Our awareness of ecological issues is rapidly increasing; coupled with technological advances being made faster than you can say “photovoltaic solar panel”, ZEDhomes is filling an ever-widening gap in the green market. As an organisation, it deems the “traditional boxes” we currently live in to be unsustainable in a world where we are using up enough resources to need 3 planets to survive. They appear to have found affordable, stylish and practical solutions in their range of low and zero carbon developments; amazingly, these can use as little as one fifth of the energy consumed in a typical traditional house.
To the naked eye, the rather futuristic sounding sky ZED looks like a slightly more verdant version of a high rise building. However, behind this lies an array of energy-saving installations such as CHP (Combined Heat & Power) units; this surprisingly simple system pictured below uses just one of many renewable energy resources: biomass, that ZEDhomes harnesses to provide an alternative power source. Perhaps a more universally acknowledged system is solar panelling, which ZEDhomes installs wherever possible to generate electricity and also directly heat water tanks; perfect for a steaming hot, emission-free bath.
One of the things that sets ZEDhomes apart from other eco developers (of which there are plenty) is its versatility and ability to attack carbon emissions from all angles. The styles of accommodation it offers range from the compact and affordable ‘ZEDpod’ intended for first time buyers with a green conscience, to ‘rural ZED’ for the countryside dweller - complete with super-insulating, super-absorbent, super-oxygenating roof made out of small grassy plants called sedum. It really is a case of no stone being left unturned with the creation of ‘retail ZED’ allowing even a commercial business to acquire the green stamp of approval by dint of its wind turbines and other energy saving features. The level of detail this organisation has gone to in order to minimise waste and carbon emissions is quite phenomenal. I have no doubt who would win in an epic battle to conserve heat between standard insulation and over 80cm of bulky, brick, mineral wool and concrete (locally sourced of course!) belonging to a typical ZEDhomes roof – ironically quite a thick idea. Their triple glazing with an intelligent low emission coating makes double glazing look amateur. And the biological on-site sewage system, which feeds plants and recycles water ensures that there is definitely a strong smell of success for the future of green housing.
One of the largest and most successful developments to date has been in Ashford in Kent. After a thorough grilling by the local council, residents and press during 2006, ZEDhomes were given permission in 2008 to build just over 1000 flats in the southern area of the town. This revolutionary development promised sustainable living accommodation, 20% of which was affordable, as well as 88,000 ft of retail space. The ambition of this project inspired many people to speak out both for and against the upheaval of the area - with many thrilled to be Britain’s first real “eco-town”. However, there were the usual reservations related to the creation of such a huge development; sadly proving that the lure of zero carbon emissions has not yet become an imperative for many people in the UK.
Companies like ZEDhomes, despite their slightly alien status at the moment, are surely going to form an essential part of how our buildings and lifestyles are designed in the future. It is only a matter of years before fossil fuels will be entirely consumed; so call it “being green”, call it “forward thinking”, but however you choose to acknowledge these individuals and the work they do, they are most indisputably one step ahead.
Author Ruby Elliot
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