gs8 Announces Carbon and Energy Positive, Zero Waste Residential Development

Pioneering property developer gs8 brings forward plans for its ground-breaking residential development in East London. Orford Mews is the innovative pilot scheme for a sustainable building framework delivering viable Carbon and Energy Positive, Zero Waste housing. The collection of nine residential mews properties, forming part of their rapidly increasing regeneration portfolio, will deliver the community-led and uniquely designed dwellings London based developers gs8 are known for. The project is driven by their ambition to deliver a revolutionary design model which dispels the belief that high quality, sustainable development is not as viable as traditional methods of construction. As a tangible benchmark, Orford Mews will achieve and exceed the RIBA 2030 operational energy and embodied carbon targets even before incorporating on-site renewable energy or carbon offsetting schemes.

Ben Spencer, gs8 “When we set out four years ago with a goal to develop a flexible framework to build one of the most sustainable projects in the world, we chose Orford Road as the pilot to prove that if we could achieve our carbon and energy positive, zero waste aspirations on a site this small and constrained, then it could be viably rolled out across any size development. The next stage is implementing the innovative framework we’ve created and prove that developing truly sustainably doesn’t need to mean compromising on design quality or financial viability.”

gs8’s team, including architect Michael Lynas of Studio Anyo and Kirsten Henson of KLH Sustainability, were asked to eliminate any traditional design and engineering methods and challenged to find new solutions over a four year period. Orford Mews represents the realisation of gs8’s aspiration to create truly sustainable, viable and future proofed city dwellings without compromising building aesthetics. Crucially, the dwellings will be liveable and user friendly driven by the simplicity of design. The resultant framework has been designed to apply to future projects both residential and commercial.

Architect Michael Lynas devised the contemporary mews homes by incorporating a series of passive design elements including living walls and roofs, material choices including timber and reclaimed brick, innovative thermal massing solutions, and roof orientation to optimise solar energy generation.

Michael Lynas from Studio Anyo comments, “Our vision for Orford Mews was to create a high quality, efficient design framework that would result in a truly sustainable development. We incorporated a series of design choices to realise this including the availability of local materials, compact massing to reduce heat loss, a bespoke south-facing roof design, strategic window placement to retain heat and capture daylight and material choices driven by purpose and simplicity.”

Situated in Walthamstow – an area making huge strides in regeneration – the eight family houses and one three-bed apartment will qualify potential residents with a questionnaire to assess their willingness to maximise the properties’ sustainability potential. The contemporary, timber-clad homes will also have access to:

  • Community Garden – The communal garden spaces will be created by London Glades, award winning landscape designers, and designed to forage with edible plants for all residents
  • Living Walls and Roofs – Living walls have been integrated into the design for aesthetic and air quality purposes, with bespoke moss roofs further improving air quality
  • Neighbourhood App – Developed to provide real time energy usage stats, suggestions to reduce consumption, smart home technology and gamification features.
  • Wellbeing Space – A multifunctional space to develop a sense of community amongst residents
  • Re-use Centre – The space works as a social meeting place in the development where people gather to swap, give, take and reuse things in line with circular economy principles 

gs8’s development will achieve the following goals through the construction of the Orford Mews pilot scheme:

  • Zero Waste – the application of industry-leading circular economy principles, reusing 100% of non-contaminated materials from the existing buildings in the finished development
  • Energy Positive – buildings have been designed to produce and reduce energy and heat loss and  gain, requiring occupants to consume less energy on a daily basis, resulting in a surplus
  • Renewables – buildings will be powered entirely by renewable sources, such as solar, heat and air so residents will also enjoy little, to no, utility bills
  • Materials – the materials specified at Orford Mews are all assessed on their embodied carbon and sourced locally as a priority
  • Construction – developments are both sustainable in construction and in supporting local communities. gs8 use local labour and materials to support local business and sustainable building

Kirsten Henson, KLH Sustainability comments, “The Orford Mews project has given us the chance to redefine design parameters and explore new ideas for creating inner-city zero carbon homes. First and foremost the residents need to be happy in their homes and community, with sustainable lifestyle choices made easy through the design philosophy of the Mews. The collaborative approach to design and delivery doesn’t finish at construction, we will work in partnership with the residents to help them understand and reduce their energy consumption and ultimately live low carbon lifestyles in an urban environment.”