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15 Jun 2015

ZEDfactory: zero carbon buildings not solar panels

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Category: Architecture

While many in the industry may know architects ZEDfactory for the BedZED mixed use development near Sutton, the company’s founder Bill Dunster has used many of that Stirling Prize nominated scheme’s sustainable principles in other, commercial projects too.

“It’s a much bigger story than just solar panels,” he explains. “Working with manufacturers, we maximise efficiency and minimise energy demand. It just requires a modicum of imagination.”

Dunster is appearing in the Homebuilding theatre in a seminar session on whether industrial approaches are the solution to improving productivity in housing construction at the Build Show, held between 6-8 October at part of this year’s UK Construction Week, at Birmingham’s NEC. Much of what he has to say about productivity stems from his longstanding involvement in zero carbon design and development.

As well as creating large photovoltaic canopy with translucent solar panels on the roof of, for example, an office building, he talks of using the context of the building too. In a new urban quarter in China, he describes using the spaces in between the buildings as semi-enclosed, letting in daylight and fresh air but providing ample shelter, in manner of the ridge and furrow roof at Waterloo station. In a completely joined up green building approach, Dunster talks of solar cladding which gains electricity that can be used to power the heating and cooling systems.

Another example of ZEDfactory’s work is the One Planet Business Garden in Amersfoort in the Netherlands. Here, a flat-roofed 1970s building has been transformed into a mix of retail, residential units and office spaces with an energy neutral, low carbon footprint green site, making a good business case for investors and those wanting to use the spaces while maintaining a sustainable approach. “It really shows how any building can be transformed into an aspirational climate-neutral project,” add Dunster finally.

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