Developers embrace London’s zero-carbon challenge

London's zero-carbon ambitions proved their commercial viability when 17 developers jumped at the chance of working on a major zero-emission housing project this week.

Six shortlisted candidates will now be competing to take on the development of the 200-home estate in London’s Docklands, which is to produce zero carbon emissions thanks to a combination of energy efficiency and onsite renewables.

The shortlist was announced simultaneously with the results of an independent study that found the carbon-neutral goal to be both technically and commercially feasible despite of the inherent difficulties linked to the site.

The Gallions Park development is to be the first of many since the London Mayor’s pledge for all new publicly-financed housing to be made carbon neutral. The announcement, made at a meeting organized by former US president Bill Clinton in New York last Friday, builds on the Mayor’s previous call for at least one carbon-neutral development in each London borough by 2010 – part of a drive to make London a ‘global leader in climate change mitigation.’

Ken Livingstone said: “The strength of interest from the construction sector towards our call for a partner to develop London’s first zero carbon housing scheme shows that the industry is willing and ready to take on my challenge.”

“I am totally confident that once I take over responsibility for the investment plan for London’s £1.7 billion affordable housing budget not a single pound will be spent subsidising environmentally inefficient public sector homes in the capital,” he said.

Simon Reddy of Greenpeace UK said: “Gallions Park is showing the way forward. Not only will such progressive housing produce less global warming gases, but it should also mean that cheaper energy bills drop on residents’ doormats.

“And by producing power locally, Gallions Park will avoid the enormous inefficiencies of antiquated and dangerous technology such as nuclear power.”

Ted Kyzer of the London Development Agency said: “We need to find ways in which we can help increase London’s housing stock in a way which minimises its impact on climate change. The Gallions Park development will show how we can build environmentally-friendly homes on a commercial scale.”

The Mayor’s Energy Strategy commits London to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent from a 1990 baseline by the year 2010. Around seventy per cent of the capital’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings.

The developers shortlisted for the Gallions Park project are L & Q Group, Guinness Trust/Gallions Housing Association, Crest/Bioregional Quintain/Southern Housing Association, Metropolitan/J Leon & Co Ltd, Bellway/Genesis Housing Group and Lendlease/First Base.

For more details on zero carbon development in London see the Mayor’s Energy Strategy.

Goska Romanowicz

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