NZGBC supports idea of New Zealand Housing Strategy, stages housing summit in June

24 May 2016

The New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) has added its voice to the call for a nationwide housing strategy – and they’re holding a Sustainable Housing Summit next month that will bring together industry leaders to discuss the critical challenges and opportunities facing housing in New Zealand.

The NZGBC is a not-for-profit industry organisation dedicated to creating a sustainable built environment, by encouraging best practice in the building industry through green building rating tools, education and training. It administers three rating tools: Homestar (residential), Green Star (commercial) and NABERSNZ (office energy management).

NZGBC CEO Alex Cutler says she agrees with United Future leader Peter Dunne’s idea of a New Zealand Housing Strategy.

“The current housing crisis is a complex issue that will only be solved by a multi-faceted, long-term solution. New Zealand needs a housing strategy that works towards improving the quality of New Zealand’s housing stock, and that provides the type of residential built environment that meets our, and international, expectations,” says Ms Cutler.

“Local and central government, the building industry and other parties all need to work together to develop a comprehensive response to this pressing issue. After 10 years in the industry, NZGBC is well placed to contribute knowledge about the built environment to this discussion – and next month’s Sustainable Housing Summit is a great example of that.”

NZGBC is holding its biennial Sustainable Housing Summit in Auckland (June 15) and Christchurch (June 17); the theme is “Scaling up Sustainably”. International and local experts will discuss innovative projects and green building solutions with key decision-makers from the residential building, construction and property sectors. There will also be a panel debate in both centres on housing health and affordability.

Ms Cutler says sustainability in buildings isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

“Sustainability in the residential sector means building well-insulated houses that are healthier and cheaper to heat, which vulnerable families desperately need. It means using building materials more efficiently, reducing construction waste going to landfill and building homes more quickly through technological advances such as prefabrication.

“It involves planning quality, medium-density developments around public transport routes. It means planning neighbourhoods with homes, businesses, services and green spaces so people spend more time in their communities and less time commuting in their cars,” she says.

“We have speakers from around the world talking about models that could be adapted to solve issues around the country, not just in Auckland. These ideas are part of the solution.”

Ms Cutler adds, “An overall housing strategy must work towards improving the quality of NZ’s housing stock, both existing and new. With a Building Code that is less stringent than many other OECD countries, New Zealand needs to fully tackle how we construct new homes so as not to build in obsolescence, as well as take bolder and clearer steps towards upgrading our existing building stock.

“Having a vision of the built environment that we want to live in will enable us to provide better-quality housing that meets the needs of all New Zealanders.”

For details about the Sustainable Housing Summit, visit www.nzgbc.org.nz/shsummit16.