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Green My House -- BedZED Style
Jamais Cascio, 17 Nov 05

insidezedfactory.jpgIn my August post about the LEED Home proposal, I noted that what the US Green Building Council really ought to work on next was a LEED for "Neighborhood Development." Little did I know that a comparable plan already existed: the ZEDstandards checklist, from ZEDFactory, the architects behind the low-footprint housing development BedZED.

Like LEED, the ZEDstandards presents a checklist of various sustainability criteria. These criteria are based on the group's experience with the BedZED project, and hit many of the important points about Bright Green cities we've identified here over the past two years, including product-service systems, sustainable transit, and high density development; the only real missing element is a recognition of the value of "smart" environments. The most recent version of the ZEDstandards checklist can be found here (PDF). Details on the process can be found in the 2004 introductory document "Operation Step Change" (PDF), and the "Roadmap to 2050" document (PDF). The rules have less to do with how the homes are built (although that's there, too) than with how the communities are built.

(A quick warning before we continue: the ZEDstandards website is absolutely atrocious. It's all in Flash, and uses mouse movement instead of clicking to open windows. Where possible, I've linked directly to PDFs. ZEDFactory may know sustainable building design, but their web design is awful.)

The ZEDstandards checklist covers five different development types, from rural detatched homes to high-rise flats. The developments must meet criteria including proximity to local food cultivation (both on-site and within a short distance), use of passive heating and very-low-energy consumption appliances, proximity to public transit, schools, and community centers, broadband-connected work spaces, car clubs, and even a "green travel agent on-site" (this one only required for the high-rise complex). Rules for water use and detailed construction guidelines are in development for version two.

The Roadmap document includes the "21 Steps Chart" outlining how the various ZEDstandards criteria directly reduce carbon emissions. The 21 Steps Chart can be downloaded separately (PDF).

ZEDFactory isn't just interested in new developments. Earlier this year, they produced "ZEDupgrade," a document for the Guardian newspaper outlining a variety of "refurbishment systems" to add to existing homes. The particulars are only relevant to residents of the UK, but it's an interesting document for the rest of us nonetheless, as it provides a real-world overview of what can be done (with a sufficient budget).

I found this through a new post on CityHippy blog, an insightful non-US take on living a sustainable life in an urban setting. The post describes the Going Green event at London's Science Museum, with presentations from a variety of organizations providing support for sustainable home design, and with an emphasis green renovations. City Hippy took notes, and his post is chock-full of links; you should pay particular attention to the direct comparison of home micro-wind systems and home solar photovoltaics. Despite the UK's reputation for cloudy, blustery weather, it's a closer competition than you might expect.

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I would like to post thia article on my newsletter to greenbuilders. What are the parameters, we don't make ANY money from the posting.

Posted by: Jon Dougal on 17 Nov 05

It seems like these ZEDstandards may be useful as a guide for Portland, Oregon's proposed urban green development. I wonder if Portland's Office of Sustainable Development has heard of this...

Posted by: Jesse Jenkins on 17 Nov 05

The "LEED for Neighborhood Developments" draft document can be found at

Posted by: Laurence Aurbach on 20 Nov 05



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