Problems in one green community won’t keep U.K. from building more

Four years ago, a housing complex called BedZed opened in south London with the ambitious goal of running entirely on renewable energy. Well, things haven’t gone quite as planned. BedZed’s biomass-fueled electric system was unreliable, forcing it to go on the national energy grid. Its natural sewage-recycling system, out of commission for seven months, has not been replaced because of expense. But even so, residents are living the good green life: well-insulated buildings, solar panels, and a wind-driven ventilation system lower electricity usage, and community gardens and a car-sharing club sweeten the deal. “The social side is almost the best bit,” says one resident. BedZed’s problems aren’t deterring Britain from planning additional low-carbon villages and a 10,000-home eco-friendly town. “This is not about symbolic gestures,” says a deputy at the Department for Communities and Local Government. “It is about serious long-term plans to substantially change the way we build and develop.” Word.