Lifestyle is as Important as Technology: BedZED Ecovillage Virtual Tour (Video)

BedZED ecovillage photos

Image credit: Bioregional Development Group

Sustainability is about so much more than technology - yet stories about sustainable buildings so often get reduced to the energy use, renewable energy systems, or other technical jiggery-pokery. Ultimately, we need to remember that people live in buildings, and it is those people's lifestyles - including diet, transportation methods, energy use and consumption habits - that will determine how sustainable a building really is. In digging around on the Bioregional Development Group's website for my post about their environmental footprint calculator, I came across an excellent video outlining the importance of taking lifestyles into account in eco-architecture. Click below the fold to check it out. The video below shows just how important it is to include ease of recycling, transportation options like car clubs and public transit, and clear feedback on energy use. A word of caution though - as I wrote in my post about the 7 year anniversary of the BedZED ecovillage in London, while the pioneering development certainly achieved huge direct emissions reductions in heating and energy use, it hasn't yet gotten even close to the goal of One Planet Living that it was created to facilitate. A big part of that shortfall seems to be due to emissions outside of the development itself - while folks may be living with lower electricity bills, they still head off to work in inefficient office buildings, and many of them still jet off on vacation. (BedZED was built to facilitate telecommuting - but it seems most residents still travel for work.)

To my mind that shortfall doesn't negate the work done at BedZED - in fact far from it. The fact that this development has put so much thought into facilitating sustainable behaviors, and continues to monitor how residents behave and what incentives have worked best - is a huge testament to the importance of this project. If every development was built with such holistic goals in mind, we'd soon build up a thorough picture of how our built environment effects our behavior and our environmental impact. And the sooner we do that, the sooner we can start progressing toward truly One Planet Living. (Check below the video for some further reading on The Bioregional Development Group.)

More on the Bioregional Development Group
BedZED Seven Years On: Did this Pioneering Development Work?
TreeStations: A Bioregional Solution to Urban Forestry Waste
Centralized Ordering for Decentralized Supply: The Bioregional Charcoal Company
The TH Interview: Pooran Desai and Sure Riddlestone of the Bioregional Development Group
Firewood: Bioregional Development Group's Latest Offering

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