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Competition To Build A Sustainable Society

Sustainable Habitat Challenge 09 Media Release
For immediate release, 22 February 2008

Nationwide Competition To Build A Sustainable Society

A bold step towards making New Zealand houses suitable for a sustainable future has now been launched at Otago Polytechnic.

The Sustainable Habitat Challenge 09 is a nationwide competition, which envisages teams of tertiary students, industry professionals, local government representatives – and others – joining forces to design and build or renovate a sustainable home.

An Otago Polytechnic initiative, the challenge is funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Sustainable Development Fund.

ShaC09 National Coordinator Tim Bishop says the challenge is aimed at “producing real homes, generating new knowledge and building partnerships between people with the skills and resources to make sustainable living a reality.”

As such, it aims to address one of the barriers to creating sustainable homes.

“There are many people out there who want to build, renovate and live in more sustainable ways. But often, it’s hard to find and coordinate a willing team of designers, and tradespeople and building consent experts to actually make it happen.

“We want to give today’s and tomorrow’s professionals the chance to work together and really explore their ideas around sustainable solutions for housing.

“And we want to provide opportunities for researchers in New Zealand to build a body of knowledge to take us into the future.”

Now Bishop is asking those with skills or resources to contact him or register at the SHaC 09 website. This might include private homeowners or developers who wish to create a sustainable home, who will “gain access to the latest thinking in sustainability, and may even receive a contribution towards their building costs.”
Other forms of assistance could come from trade suppliers who might wish to make materials available. Businesses may even wish to sponsor a team.
Bishop stresses that there is a place for all sorts of expertise – from designers to journalists to historians and more – on the teams. His message to anyone with skills to contribute is simple.
“Join a team. Even volunteer to coordinate a team. Let’s actually make this happen,” he said.

Projects will be judged in categories incorporating issues such as energy and resource use, affordability and supporting a sustainable community.

Teams need to register by 8 May, and the best teams will be selected to complete the challenge and receive a contribution towards their building costs. Projects need to be completed by October 2009. Bishop says he hopes each major centre will be represented by at least one team.


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