Canadian sustainability champion heads powerful speaker line-up at 2016 Sustainable Housing Summit

15 March 2016

Andrea Reimer, the deputy mayor who’s helping transform Vancouver into one of the greenest cities in the world, will share lessons learned and inspiring ideas at the Sustainable Housing Summit (Auckland, June 15; Christchurch, June 17).

The biennial summit, now in its third year, is presented by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), a not-for-profit industry organisation dedicated to creating a sustainable built environment. The summit focuses on the vital role sustainability plays in building better homes and communities.

As the international keynote speaker, Andrea Reimer will share insights on the city’s award-winning Greenest City Action Plan. Vancouver has become a leader in urban sustainability and resilience – already, more than 50 percent of trips around the city are made by bike, walking or public transport – and Andrea is the lead councillor involved with the plan. She was awarded the Queen's Jubilee medal in 2013 for her leadership on the initiative.

Andrea joins a line-up of prestigious international and local speakers, who will demonstrate why sustainability in the residential sector is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. They’ll discuss real-life examples – innovative projects, inclusive development and density done well – as well as the critical challenges and opportunities facing housing in New Zealand. Other international speakers:

  • Sustainable communities pioneer Adam Beck, director of Brisbane’s Centre for Urban Innovation, will discuss some of his projects in the United States and further afield.
  • James Legge, director of Melbourne’s Six Degrees Architects, will talk about upsetting the status quo with the Nightingale model: where architects act as developers to deliver affordable, well-designed apartments that are environmentally and socially sustainable (and still provide a fair return to investors).
  • Kristian Edwards of Norway’s Snohetta Architects will appear via live video link (Auckland summit only) to talk about the ZEB Pilot House, a net positive energy house that offsets all its CO2 emissions through using methods such as innovative passive design, solar and geothermal energy, and water heat recovery.
  • Richard Palmer, WSP Sydney’s Associate Director Sustainability, will talk about how emerging district utility infrastructure can support sustainable urban renewal.

NZGBC CEO Alex Cutler says housing is currently a hot topic, given the issues around affordability and urban sprawl in Auckland, Christchurch’s ongoing rebuild, and the Government’s proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.

“There’s a pressing need for better-quality, affordable housing in New Zealand, and embracing sustainability is the best way to deliver this. Registrations for NZGBC’s residential sustainability rating tool, Homestar, have jumped substantially in the past six months, so there’s a growing appetite for change,” says Ms Cutler.

“This is an opportunity to look at the wider picture and decide what kind of homes and communities we want to live in. The speakers at our summit will discuss inspiring solutions that are already showing results, and I look forward to the insights they’ll share with our residential building community.”

Panel discussions will feature lively debate between a range of Kiwi experts on housing health and affordability. Senior journalist Mihingarangi Forbes will act as MC at the Auckland summit, and sustainable housing expert Matthew Cutler-Welsh will be the MC in Christchurch.

The Auckland summit is held at the Crowne Plaza, Auckland CBD, and is supported by principal sponsor Assa Abloy and event sponsor Resene. The Christchurch summit is held at the Christchurch Civic Building, and is supported by principal sponsor Davis Ogilvie and event sponsor Resene. For a full programme and speaker information, visit www.nzgbc.org.nz/shsummit16.