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Competition to Build a Sustainable Society

Media Release

Nationwide Competition to Build a Sustainable Society
Friday 6th June 2008

Nine teams from the country’s leading tertiary institutions have signed up to the challenge of providing a more sustainable way of life for New Zealand home owners.

The Sustainable Habitat Challenge 09 (SHAC 09) is an Otago Polytechnic initiative. It’s funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Sustainable Management Fund to foster communications, collaboration, and innovation in the area of sustainable design.

SHAC 09 is a nationwide competition, which has teams of tertiary staff and students, industry professionals and local government representatives joining forces to design, and build or renovate to create a sustainable home.

SHAC 09 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.”

“We want to give today’s and tomorrow’s professionals the chance to work together and explore their ideas about housing that supports sustainable living”.

“Sustainable living involves reducing the use of costly and scare resources while improving quality of life”.

“We are throwing out preconceptions of what more sustainable housing should be like.”

The SHAC teams are comprised of members from polytechnics and universities throughout the country, and include a diverse range of backgrounds such as engineering, marketing, architecture and filmmaking. They are supported by private individuals and businesses interested in contribution to the challenge.

The nine teams are: Unitec Sustainable; Unitec Te Hononga; Team Central Otago Polytechnic; Team Canterbury; Team Waikato; Zero Plus, University of Auckland School of Architecture and Technische Universitaet Berlin; Whareuku, University of Auckland School of Engineering; The Plant Room, Victoria University, Massey University and WelTec; and Dunedin.

The judges for the competition are Robert Vale Victoria University, Nick Collins Beacon Pathway, Maggie Lawton Braidwood Research and Consulting, Dave Cull television personality and builder and Nigel Isaacs BRANZ.

SHAC building sites are scattered throughout the country from Rangitoto Island to Clyde in Central Otago. The construction will range from mud brick and straw bale to practical improvements of conventional, affordable designs.

The SHAC teams meet regularly via national video conferencing to exchange ideas and support. They have begun work on developing their proposals to design and build sustainable housing in their local communities.

SHAC National Coordinator Tim Bishop is thrilled with the number of entries saying it was a reflection of the increased awareness around issues such as affordability, durability, energy requirements and carbon footprint.

Teams still need assistance from industry innovators. Team contact details are on the SHAC web site.

”These teams represent the best thinkers in the country. But even better than that, they’re not just thinking about the problems, they’re providing the solutions,” Tim says.


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