Being green is no longer a life choice. It’s not a choice at all. Whether it is in business or residence, old property or new, being environmentally friendly and sustainable is the only option. Shrewd property developers have turned the restrictions this can pose into opportunities and they have integrated energy efficiency with the design and architecture. It can all work in harmony as a ‘super eco’ property and London has become one of the leaders in this field. Discover the Top 12 super eco London properties: in residential, business and future developments.
Many residences are now aspiring to achieve the standard of ‘Passivhaus’. To gain this accreditation the developer must provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. Thermostatic radiator valves is one of the best way to enhance your radiator’s life and durability. The Top 5 super eco residences:
BowZed, Bow, East London
BowZed was designed by pioneering eco-architect Bill Dunster, who was also behind the BedZed development in south London. The building is so well insulated there are no central heating systems in the flats and it is believed to be one of the first zero carbon buildings of the area. 40% of the electricity is from photovoltaic panels and 50% from a micro wind turbine on the stair tower. Hot water is provided by a boiler powered by wood pellets and three tons is enough to fuel the four flats for a year.
100 Princedale Road, Holland Park
Unlike most super eco property developments, 100 Princedale Road wasn’t started from scratch. It was part of an innovative experiment to reduce the carbon emissions of existing social homes by 80%. This three-storey property was the UK’s first certified Passivhaus refurbishment. Energy consumption has been cut by 94%, saving the tenant in excess of £900 a year on fuel bills.
Octavia Housing, Notting Hill
Octavia Housing is a not-for-profit organisation offering social housing for vulnerable members of the community. It was in built in the 1800s and it incorporates three water solar thermal panels tucked behind the parapet at the top of the front facade and a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system in the basement.
The Pavillion, Blackheath
The Pavillion is a split-level courtyard house set low in the middle of the site. It has excellent airtight and mechanical ventilation and the lower ground floor of the Pavilion is earth sheltered, which keeps the structure low profile whilst harnessing the heat of the soil, protecting the property and its inhabitants from temperature extremes. A bio-diverse green roof, rainwater harvesting and ground source heat pumps have been installed, making this one of the first private houses to achieve level five (out of a possible six) on the government’s code for sustainable homes.
Slip House, Brixton
Slip House is the home of architect Carl Turner and his partner Mary Martin and it is their workplace for researching sustainable design. The panes are wrapped in glass planks, which extend beyond the roofline to create a secluded roof terrace. The planks also surround a set of photovoltaic panels that generate electricity. Beneath the property solar assisted “energy piles” transfer the load of the building to the ground whilst drawing heat from the earth up into the building. Rainwater harvesting, triple glazing, a wildflower roof and a mechanical ventilation system have helped the property achieve a level five in the government’s code for sustainable homes and have become high on the buying list of any potential online estate agent, due to it’s popularity.
Most businesses are now striving for a Very Good or Excellent rating from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). A BREEAM assessment enables developers, designers and building managers to demonstrate the environmental credentials of their buildings to clients, planners and other initial parties. The Top 4 super eco businesses:
7 More London Riverside, Tower Bridge
7 More London is part of the More London estate, which consists of six other large office buildings by Foster and Partners (as well as City Hall and the Hilton Hotel). It’s a ‘working community’ with some of the finest views in the city. 7 More London was crowned London’s most eco-friendly building by BREEAM. In addition to a high-performance façade designed to offer shade and insulation, the building features solar hot water panels, green roofs and fully automated building management and metering systems.
Crystal Centre, Docklands
Sat on the riverside at the Docklands, on the doorsteps of the cable cars, the Crystal Centre is a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens exploring the future of cities. It is an all-electric building that uses solar power and a ground source heat pump to generate its own energy. The building incorporates rainwater harvesting, black water treatment, solar heating and automated building management systems.
The Shard, London Bridge
The Shard, Europe’s largest building, recycled 95% of its construction materials and the energy efficiency is boosted due to triple-glazed glass, with a layer of sun shielding glass sandwiched between the inner and outer sheets. The blind control system automatically adjusts itself throughout the day; ensuring shade is only used when necessary. The panes in the outer layer of glass contain low levels of iron, creating a highly reflective surface that limits heat build-up, and adds a shine to the building. These external panes do not meet, which create constant airflow that naturally regulates the Shard’s internal temperature.
RSPB environment and education centre, Thames Gateway
The RSPB resides on the River Thames and just outside Greater London. Over 250 species of bird visit every year and it has brought many visitors to the Rainham Marshes in recent years. Two translucent roof cones allow daylight in and also glow in the dark, acting as beacons for those on the marshes at night. The building was opened in 2013 and long-listed for the UK’s Stirling prize the same year.
So what is the future for London’s super eco property developments? In simple terms, things will be bigger. It isn’t just homes and buildings anymore – it is villages, neighbourhoods, a new way of living. The Top Three Future Super Eco Property Developments:
Royal Docks Floating Village
The Royal Docks Floating Village is still in the planning stages but the proposal outlined an array of brightly coloured houses, paths and restaurants on giant concrete ‘stilts’. It would contain 50 homes, restaurants, cafes and bars. The scheme takes inspiration from Ijberg and have been assisted by Dutch floating structures experts Mark van Ommen of Floatbase and Ton van Namen of Monteflore who have already delivered exemplar schemes of over 300 floating structures.
Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station, a 42-acre development has begun and when it is finished it will be a town for 10,000 residents. It will include a 300 metre high tower and an “Eco-Dome” and it will generate electricity from renewable sources. Alongside the existing power station there will be a new landmark, high quality building designed by the world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, which will apparently be the greenest building in London through innovative use of natural ventilation. It is scheduled to be complete by 2020.
East Village London
The East Village, London was designed and constructed as the Olympic Village of the 2012 Summer Games and is currently being converted for use as a new residential district. It has natural ventilation and designs that flood homes with light. The use of LED lights reduces CO2 emissions by around 5,000 tons each year. The heating systems are 90% efficient and 90% of construction waste was diverted away from landfill too. Outside, living green and brown roof gardens have been planted on all buildings over 100m high to complement and preserve the local environment. And a biomass power station on site delivers renewable energy and heat to the village – all part of earning the neighborhood a Level 4 in the Code for Sustainable Homes and high BREEAM ratings.
Photo Credits: modernarchitecturelondon.com, ukpassivhausconference.org.uk, octaviahousing.org.uk, theguardian.com, ct-architects.co.uk, morelondon.com, thecrystal.org, rspb.org.uk, london.gov.uk, dezeen.com, disegnodaily.com