Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Best Earth

Imagine living in a home where you generate your own energy, re-use your waste, and harvest your water from the rain? Where the furniture is made from recycled material, and the windows and walls so designed that the house is cool in summer and warm in winter? Where the bulbs use one-hundredth of the electricity that our ordinary light bulbs today use?

This seemingly impossible dream house is becoming a reality in many parts of the world. One full housing society, called BedZED, has just come up in London, U.K. and already over 60 families are staying in it. Bed stands for Beddington, the locality in London where it is situated, and ZED stands for Zero Energy Development. The entire colony uses no fossil fuels like petroleum and coal and oil. Rather, it uses a mix of solar panels; large windows to capture natural light, and a generator run on waste. These houses use only 10 per cent of the heating energy that is used normally. Passive solar gain stored within each flat by thermally massive floors and walls, reduces the need for both electricity and heat to the point where a 135 kW wood fuelled combined heat and power plant can meet the energy requirements for a community of around 240 residents and 200 workers.

Water too is sparingly used, after the rain is collected on the roofs. The bathroom toilets are designed to use only half of the wasteful amount of water we use in our normal flushes. Wastewater is treated at BedZED through biological means and re-used in the houses. All the families are also encouraged to adopt environmentally friendly lifestyles, e.g. using public transport and bicycles as much as possible, buying organic food, switching to electric cars, setting up office as close to home as possible to reduce transportation needs, and so on. The BedZED reconciles high-density three-story city blocks with high residential and workspace amenity. Workspace is placed in the shade zones of south facing housing terraces, with sky gardens created on the workspace roofs, enabling all flats to have outdoor garden areas, with good access to sunlight, at the same time as providing well day lit workspace without problematic summer overheating.

It is interesting that much of this does not use ultra hi-tech, but mostly common sense applications with and appropriate technologies. As many people working on such solutions will tell us, the thing most missing in our world is just that: common sense! For instance, a skylight (a window on the roof) is enough to bring in light into the house that we don't need to use bulbs and tube lights through the day. A lot of our traditional houses had such a feature is it. Or, it is so easy to put our wet kitchen waste into a pot and make it into compost (we can speed this up by using earthworms), which can be used in our or our housing society's garden.

So, BedZED may be in London, nowhere near where we live in India. But surely we can also start demanding that our architects and builders start using common sense and easily available technologies to make our lifestyles a bit friendlier to the earth.


Kavi said...

Informative as usual Jeevan ! We have certain organisations practicing this. The 'Total Environment' projects are a fine example of this, although they cost a bomb !

Anonymous said...

... good info Jeevan ^_^ i heard something like this too here in Japan. Hope they can build more coz its good for people and more friendlier to the environment.

good read here yaar, thanxxxx!

have a great week ahead!


Syam said...

it was an awesome info Jeevan and I really amazed while reading thru it :-)

indianangel said...

Very nice and informative post Jeevan! Thanks for sharing with us! Edho science fiction padam paartha maadhiri irundhudhu! :)

KK said...

very informative post Jeevan. nice to know that the world is moving towards being friendly to earth. :)

Keshi said...

wow! I think thats a great idea altho I dun wanna re-use my waste LOL!


Pavithra said...

Useful information !! Hope we some soon in India too !!

dumbdodi said...

Cool infor again Jeevan. I hope too we get this stuff in India

tulipspeaks said...

everything seems to be perfect..may be except for the past re-using my own waste.. hmmm.. :/


mysorean said...

Now, this is something really useful! I mean finally man has found how to use technology to his benefit alone without harming the environment. Great post Jeevan as usual! :)

பொற்கொடி said...

அடடா.. என்னங்க இது.. நியூஸ் எல்லாம் சொல்லி அசத்தறீங்க! என்ன மாதிரி மொக்கை பதிவாளர் இல்லியா நீங்க :0

Arjuna_Speaks said...

interesting concept jeevan :) - thanks for sharing the info..

starry nights said...

Thanks for sharing this post. I am glad it is good for the environment. would be nice to live there.

Jeevan said...

Kavi – Thank you, even the rainwater harvesting was a nice strategic to increase land water know!

Kathy – Thank you dear! We should do some thing to save our earth:)

Syam – It’s very amazing to know a city that lives with nature.

Indianangel – Thank Friend, at least happy that I can write this here, but we have questions, when we are going to follow this.

KK - :)

Keshi – it was a great idea hug!

Pavithra – Thanks pavi, we should:)

Dumbdodi – Thank you friend.

Amutha – mostly the waste of humans and which comes form factories are not cleared in a good way. We need to found a better way.

Adi – we have to use this technology to change our usage. Thank you friend:)

Poorkodi – ungal varukaiku mikka nandri:)

Arjuna – Thank you for sharing with me too:)

Starry – it would be nice if we change our surrounding like that.

aruna said...

Good job by BedZed ! Its high time world needs these changes !