London mayor Ken Livingstone this week signed up two top architects to help set tough BedZED-style targets, as he called on UK construction to make sustainability the key priority.
He used property fair MIPIM to announce that he had invited sustainability experts PRP and Bill Dunster to advise the Greater London Authority on how to adapt zero-carbon technology for use on large projects such as Wembley stadium and the regeneration of King's Cross.
Dunster was the creator of BedZED, the much-praised but expensive zero-carbon housing scheme. His ideas have been used by PRP to design the St Matthew's 12-unit key-worker housing scheme in Brixton, south London, where solar power and special insulation mean that annual heating bills are expected to be as low as £75 a year.
Livingstone and David Lunts, his regeneration expert, have both praised the scheme and now want the technology to be incorporated into every development in London.
Speaking to Building at MIPIM, Livingstone said: "I've asked the practice [PRP] to come in to talk to my planning officers - I want to roll this out. We want St Matthew's to be used as an exemplar scheme and will talk to them about how to go about this."
Livingstone emphasised sustainability in every speech he made at the property fair. Speaking at an event held by the London Development Agency, he said: "Climate change has come from nowhere to become one of Londoners' top three concerns, along with crime and the cost of living. We want London to take the lead on sustainability.
"We need to look seriously at projects now, such as Wembley and King's Cross. Let's make something we don't have to go back to and improve in 20 years."
Climate change is one of the top three concerns of Londoners
London mayor Ken Livingstone
Andy von Bradsky, director of PRP, said that the joint venture between the firm and Dunster, which is called PRP ZEDfactor, had proved that developments could combine sustainability with affordability.
He said: "The technology has moved on since BedZED and even since St Matthew's. When we meet with Ken we'll look at the current research to see how we can make it better and cheaper."
Livingstone could face opposition from developers suspicious of the 10% hike in construction costs that sustainable developments are thought to require.
Von Bradsky said the London mayor might need to provide incentives or legislate to ensure take-up of the new ideas.
"It needs to run alongside a legislative framework," he said.