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Z-Squared: Greener Than Platinum
Sarah Rich, 24 Aug 06

zsquared.jpg For quite some time, BedZED has held the top slot in our unofficial ranking of the hippest, greenest residences around. Completed in 2002, Beddington Zero Energy Development excelled not only in terms of sustainability but in terms of livability and aesthetic appeal.

Recently, the development hit some rocky ground and sent green geeks wondering whether better buildings were possible (or whether the ones we idealized were perhaps falling short). Fortunately for BedZED's developers, the shaky press they received was offset by the fact that they are among the very people formulating better possibilities.

The next thing emerging from these cutting-edge creators is Z-Squared, "a 2,000 home zero carbon zero waste mixed-use community. It will be a One Planet Living Community for the UK, providing homes and employment for up to 5,000 people, with retail, leisure, health and education facilities nearby." BedZED became something of a launching point from which Z-Squared could pursue greater goals. These were guided in large part by the ZEDStandards, a comprehensive guideline for sustainability in housing developments spearheaded by Bill Dunster Architects' ZEDFactory. The ZEDStandards mirror the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED codes for neighborhood design to some extent. The two were given a side by side comparison here last year, but since LEED for neighborhoods (LEED-ND) has yet to be officially implemented, we're still comparing built environments to concepts. For now ZED's got the evidence and they're showing fast improvement on their own innovations.

Some of the measurements and experiments Bioregional used to establish Z-Squared can be seen here.

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My favorite part of this story is that they used KBR Infrastructure Engineers on the project -- If I'm not mistaken, that's Kellogg, Brown & Root, ie, Halliburton. Not a company I'd want within a mile of my green project.

I'm hoping I'm wrong and KBR is some green British acronym, but I kind of doubt it.

Posted by: Tim on 24 Aug 06

hey -

I'v broadly in favour but definitely have reservations about the z-squared approach (which i hope to find time to write about soon!)

beware of too much uncritical praise of these guys...if building UK cred is important ; )

Posted by: Hana Loftus on 24 Aug 06

Another similar project in Bangalore, India, that one of my mates, Thomas, bought into:

Posted by: Carol Beckley on 25 Aug 06

These are great developments, and great prototypes, but their green glamour obscures their significance. I respect these projects immensely, but recognize that the vast majority of buildings in the Developed World have already been built - improving existing infrastructure dwarfs new construction in its world-changing impact. Changing existing buildings is seldom flashy or newsworthy, but it's where billions of barrels of oil, rather than thousands, can be saved. Here's one article offering a glimpse into vital work. By all means, let's keep "pushing the envelope" with projects like Z-Squared, but let's keep "improving the envelope" of the millions of buildings we've already built.

Posted by: David Foley on 26 Aug 06

tape a look at this, the germans started 10 years earlier...!!!


Eric ezechieli

Posted by: eric ezechieli on 26 Aug 06

This looks to be an interesting development, which I hope to follow in the future. Thanks for the sustainable development news, Sarah.

Posted by: PK - Jetson Green on 27 Aug 06



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