A number of sustainable communities, or eco-communities, are cropping up around the world as a way for individuals to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Industry members are jumping on board with these innovative ideas, with their advent creating industry stimulus and positive action toward reducing an area’s carbon footprint.
These developments are based on a key foundation of community orientation and economic strength. In bringing people closely together with other like-minded individuals, these environmentally responsible communities also offer to aid in the very social issue of low-income earning through the low-cost nature of energy-efficient, low environmental impact living.
The UK has always been a leader in industry projects of this nature, playing host to BedZED, the world’s largest mixed-use zero carbon community.
Now, they can add another exciting green sector project to their enviable portfolio with the latest plans from artist Damien Hirst and associated architect Mike Rundell of MRJ Rundell Associated, who envision the construction of 500 eco-homes in the town of Ilfracombe, Devon.
In a true sustainable fashion, the eco-village offers to tackle the three pillars of true sustainable living: economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability.
As a key part of the planned major development, the community will rely on renewable energy. Wind turbines will be hidden in rooftops, photovoltaic solar panels will be implemented, and state-of-the-art insulation will be included in order to control the interior climates of the homes in order to lower the overall energy used for heating and cooling purposes.
Combined, these technologies will create a community that leaves little or no carbon footprint through energy production and use.
Acting as Hirst’s representative, Rundell described the economic factors being used in this development as vast. With the creation of housing that is reasonably affordable and shows benefits through long-term energy savings and by offering a positive lifestyle experience, the overall value of the area will be increased.
This will be additionally maximised by the high level of residential growth that is expected to occur given the fact that affordable, high-standard dwellings come as an attractive living option in the area.
“You have to ask yourself the question do you want cheap housing or do you want to attract business and money to allow the town to grow?” Rudnell says.
The development is also expected to bring about a sense of social sustainability through this higher level of living value that will brought to residents of the community and to Ilfracombe as a whole.
“We believe that if you bring wealth, energy and business to a town like Ilfracombe, it will have far wider social benefits than simply, say, introducing a youth club,” says Randall.
A complete planning application is expected to be submitted within six months.
It is through holistic developments of this nature that true sustainability can be found without having to resort to high cost, high wow-factor means.