The invitation promised ‘Prime movers and great minds will explain how a sustainable, better future is within their grasp’. An exciting and unique collaboration was unveiled in Essex to demonstrate how it can be done and rolled out nationally.
ZEDfactory are perhaps best known in the UK for developing BedZED in Wallington, UK’s first large-scale eco-community built in 2002.
Now a Grade 2 listed building, considered to be of national importance and therefore worth protecting because of its special architectural interest. ZEDfactory has designed or erected buildings in Holland, France, Portugal, Italy, Qatar, UAE, Somalia, Brazil, New Zealand, South Korea, and China with major projects ongoing.
The company has always welcomed visits and links with schools, colleges and universities, reaching out across the country with its message of sustainable construction.
Community Build Group brings together like-minded individuals and bodies to work for the common good in their communities. Special focus is on the next generation and those who are disadvantaged. It builds partnerships with delivery organisations to open opportunities for training, reskilling, employment and sustainability.
This unique partnership we call ‘ZEDGeneration’ comprises ZEDfactory, FE colleges, local authorities and community to offer a range of opportunities for our youth, their families and their neighbours. It can, and will, deliver fast, green, clean and zero energy bills housing (with surplus solar power to fuel an electric vehicle). It will upskill a generation on new technologies, off-site construction, and delivery of affordable homes to solve the housing crisis. Less dependency on fossil fuels, and expensive and controversial alternatives such as nuclear energy and fracking, is the prize. Central government support would ensure delivery and roll out nationally.
BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development). Completed in 2002, BedZED is a community of 82 homes, 18 live/work units and 1,560m2 of workspace and community facilities built for the Peabody Trust in the London Borough of Sutton.
A zero energy bills home at BRE science centre
- never pay any fuel bill every again
- and have enough surplus energy to run an electric car - free!
ZEDGeneration - the Project
South Essex College (SEC) in Basildon will be the first Green Construction Training College in Essex. The initiative here will develop a bespoke training and assembling site on campus, designed in conjunction with ZEDfactory, the Zero Bills Home, for students to get work experience by learning how to construct these homes.
Later it’s planned to move to a purpose built pop-up factory manufacturing and assembling these buildings, and then to start construction in the community.
With proof that this project does have the delivery capacity and the voiced support of key partners, this needs to be turned into commitments without delay so work can commence.
Those in local government should be looking at their brown field registers; land and car parks to bring forward and enter into collaborative building projects swiftly. Without this action, this sadly compromises ZEDGeneration’s success and a generation of young people denied the opportunity to make a real difference in their communities and to this world.
Central government Ministries and Departments should welcome the leadership shown by FE Colleges (others are waiting with similar proposals to South Essex College) and ZEDfactory and commence discussions with ZEDGeneration with a view to see where support can be forthcoming.
The Government should consider advising where grants are available to turbo charge progress; ZEDGeneration has put forward our ideas of how young people can be a significant part of the solution to our housing and environmental crisis.