The LafargeHolcim Awards Bronze 2017 Europe winning zero carbon ZEDpod is a prefabricated home with a difference. The approach decouples housing provision from land prices by installing the units with “air rights” over car parks, offering almost instant high-quality housing solutions without the land and planning issues associated with a conventional new build.
According to ZEDpods architect Bill Dunster: “The beauty of the ZEDpod concept is that it enables affordable, quality city homes where land is scarce or expensive. A pod is put up quickly and enables keyworkers to live near their work, while at the same time maintaining precious car park spaces.”
The design of the housing units has been developed further since its submission in the LafargeHolcim Awards, increasing the total floor area to meet national affordable homes minimum space standards. The low cost, pre-fabricated homes are built to higher standards than conventional houses, being super insulated, triple glazed, with heat recovery ventilation and plenty of daylight, reducing energy demand significantly. The solar roofs generate more energy than the houses consume and are designed to have the lowest running costs possible.
The upgraded design has passed the Q Assure Build warranty test, which is a prerequisite for the provision of home loans – and therefore an option for first-home buyers. In collaboration with Lesko Modular Group, ZEDfactory is converting a disused food distribution warehouse in Peterborough into a manufacturing site with a capacity to produce around 18 pods per month.
With a lack of interest from car park owners, little traction with administrators, and negative preconceptions of living above car parking spaces, focus has broadened to include alternative land sources such as ground-mounted sites and land parcels waiting for funding of long-term development. ZEDpods provides an affordable housing alternative in a region where demand for housing outstrips supply by 500 homes per week.