Visit Day Descriptions

Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED)

The BedZED scheme in South London provides affordable, energy efficient housing and workspace using innovative technologies and an innovative construction approach, making a more sustainable urban life-style not only practicable but attractive and desirable.  BedZED is a mixed use development solar urban village funded by the Peabody Trust in collaboration with BioRegional Development Group.

On a brownfield wasteland site in the London Borough of Sutton, the development provides 82 dwellings in a mixture of flats, maisonettes and town houses and approximately 2,500m² of workspace/office and community accommodation including a, nursery, organic café/shop and sports clubhouse. 

Central to the aims of BedZED are that the project clearly addresses some of the key environmental issues for urban communities (as identified with Agenda 21 and the Urban Task Force) of mobility, energy and pollution whilst also providing a sustainable high quality of life.

The Palestra (TfL/LDA Building, Southwark)

The Palestra Building in Southwark is home to both Transport for London (TfL) and the London Development Agency (LDA).  It now houses the UK’s largest hydrogen fuel cell, which will generate cleaner, low-carbon energy on site, saving thousands of pounds on energy bills. TfL and the LDA have also announced that all their head office buildings will participate in the 10:10 campaign, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 10 per cent providing an estimated £400,000 in cash savings.

TfL installed the £2.4m Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, which includes the hydrogen fuel cell, at the Palestra building to generate energy locally, cut carbon emissions and save money off energy bills.  It is estimated that the fuel cell and power plant will cut carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent and generate £90,000 cost savings per annum.

The state of the art hydrogen fuel cell, funded by the TfL Climate Change fund, will provide electricity, heat and cooling to the building.  In addition, the building's hot water supply will be heated by the fuel cell.  At times of peak energy use, the building will generate a quarter of its own power, rising to 100 per cent off-peak.  The waste heat from power generation will be pumped into a unit on the roof which will work to keep the building cool and supplement the building's six electric chillers.

An estimated £400,000 will be sliced from head office energy bills in the next financial year by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by ten per cent.  This will be achieved with the help of a number of additional initiatives, including:
• Solar panels to heat water;
• Green roofs to boost insulation, help absorb rainwater and boost local ecology;
• The replacement of 2,500 lights with more energy-efficient parts including high-efficiency lamps;
• Motion and daylight sensors on lights so lighting will only come on when needed;
• A staff engagement programme from April 2010 to encourage TfL and LDA staff to reduce their energy usage;
• Replacement of around 1,000 halogen lamps with low-energy LED lamps that will cut energy by 90 per cent and improve lamp life by 25 times.

Closed Loop Recycling Plant, Dagenham

The Closed Loop Recycling Plant transforms discarded soft drinks and water bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and milk bottles made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) back into food-grade plastic, which is used to make new bottles and food packaging.

The plant in Dagenham is the first to use state of the art technology to sort, wash and super clean both types of plastic meeting EU and US FDA standards.  The facility is capable of recycling 35,000 tonnes of bottles each year, and 875 million bottles that would otherwise have been exported for recycling or sent to landfill will now be processed and remain in the UK. This represents nearly 20% of the plastic bottles that are currently collected for recycling in the UK, saving approximately 52,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

An initial investigation of the UK market by Closed Loop showed huge amounts of packaging were being used by consumers in retail outlets but that there was a complete lack of recycling infrastructure.  This led to the establishment of Closed Loop Recycling (London) in March 2004.  This was just the first step towards creating an integrated recycling programme in the UK.

Following an approach from the London Development Agency, an investigation into the possibility of installing ‘Closed Loop’ programmes in London quickly revealed that a major ‘step’ in the ‘Closed Loop’ programme was missing - a food-grade plastics recycling plant.
Through public and private equity secured through Foresight Venture Partners and the Allied Irish Bank, the UK’s first food-grade plastic recycling plant has been built in Dagenham, Essex.  The plant now works with national food retailers such as Marks and Spencer.

Greenwich Millennium Village

The Millennium Communities Programme has brought forward a range of high quality and innovative developments, aimed at delivering new homes and commercial buildings to help residents and end users live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Each of the communities was carefully planned to include green open spaces, wildlife areas and recreation facilities to provide high quality public and private realm where community life can flourish.

Good transport links were a priority, and planners were tasked with giving as much thought to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists, as they do car-users. The Programme has attracted some of the UK’s most talented architects and successful developers, who all rose to the challenge to deliver exceptional places to live and work.

Seven developments have been delivered regionally with a central team ensuring that the standards set were deliverable and consistent, that the way in which the standards were achieved was collated and that all lessons learned were widely disseminated to the housing industry in general.

There are seven Millennium Communities in total, of which Greenwich Millennium Village was the first to be built.  There is real evidence to show that the lessons learned from the delivery of these exceptional places has greatly influenced the housebuilding industry in particular.

The Code for Sustainable Homes contains many criteria that were first tested in the Millennium Community standards eg. daylighting, energy reduction, waste management.

The developments also brought forward good examples of how to deliver sustainable urban drainage, homezones and community energy systems – all of which are now finding themselves at the top of the sustainability agenda.

The Millennium Communities showcase good practice and tried/tested methodologies for creating sustainable communities that vary in their approach to design.

Thames Barrier

The Thames Barrier is one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world. The Environment Agency runs and maintains the Thames Barrier as well as the capital’s other flood defences.

Although flooding cannot be prevented entirely, the risk of flooding can be managed.  Over 2.5 million properties in England and Wales are at risk from flooding from rivers and the sea.  Changes in our climate, such as more severe storms and wetter winters, will increase that risk.  Through flood risk management, the probability of flooding from rivers and the sea is reduced through the management of land, river systems, and flood and coastal defences. The Environment Agency works to reduce the damage floods can do through effective land use planning, flood warning and emergency responses.

The Thames Barrier spans 520 metres across the River Thames near Woolwich, and it protects 125 square kilometres of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges.

The barrier became operational in 1982 and has 10 steel gates that can be raised into position across the River Thames. When raised, the main gates stand as high as a five-storey building and as wide as the opening of Tower Bridge. Each main gate weighs 3,300 tonnes.
As of 16 April 2010, the Thames Barrier has now been closed 412 times, 119 of which have been to protect London from flooding since the barrier became operational in 1982. 76 of the closures were for tidal surge conditions and 43 due to prevent rainfall/fluvial flooding. In addition to these, one closure was to assist with salvage work on the Marchioness and one for repair works following the Sand Kite incident. The other occasions were monthly closures, for experiments and tests.