My experience of living in cold, draughty and expensive-to-run properties means that I’m always on the look-out for innovative ways to improve the way that we build in the UK. Which is why I was so excited to come across award-winning carbon zero housing firm ZEDFactory.
I spoke to the company’s founder Bill Dunster about how their designs will enable you and other self-builders to realise a super-efficient home. I discovered that not only can we establish zero bills homes, but that our properties could also generate money, too.
We are architects, product designers, and master planners. We design and manufacture housing solutions that we believe deliver on energy efficiency, sustainability and low running costs. Leading by example is by far the best way of demonstrating that most people can benefit enormously from moving across to a zero carbon home and personal transportation solution with no overall annual energy bills. We’re one of the most serious and dedicated practices in the UK working on these ‘Zero Bills’ homes and we’re the people you phone up when you want to change your lifestyle.
It’s a house that actually makes you money and has no energy bills. With ZEDFactory the outside of your property is like your very own power station, fitted with renewable technology like solar panels. The integration of all of these ideas is where the benefits come. You can power your electric car and your electric bike with one of our houses, for instance.
We’ve just won a project to build Zero Bills apartments, which will be called PortZED. We generally have four or five large housing projects like this on the go at any one time – and we’re working on zero energy public buildings all over the world; we’ve just finished a low carbon hotel in Brazil.
It isn’t that different, to be honest. Our aim is still to take our customers through what they can have, what we can offer them, what works and what doesn’t. If you’re engaging in the self-build movement then you have already taken it upon yourself to think about your future. The fact is that if you’ve given it some serious thought, you’re not just going to go out and build anything – you’ll want a personalised home that works for you – and we want to work with our clients to give them just that.
We have a range of options for people who want to build their own home, which we can tailor. Some might just want to purchase our roofing system, for instance, but the best thing to do is to opt for our core package because you’ve got the mechanical and electrical services all integrated into the structural frame ready to finish and move in to. We try to make it really easy for people to order and have their new home built. The point is that you don’t have to have any extra fees at all. It comes with its own insurance and mortgage packages, so you haven’t got to worry about those things if you don’t want to.
You can make an existing home Zero Bills, it’s just more difficult. It’s easier when you’ve got a new build and you’ve got the opportunity to put all these things in from scratch. It’s definitely not impossible and we are doing this in certain locations.