Homes in Christchurch, New Zealand, region should be renovated, rebuilt for long-term sustainability, CEO of New Zealand Green Building Council says

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand , September 26, 2011 (press release) – Bettering Canterbury’s housing stock for greater sustainability should be a key pillar in any rebuilding planning, says the CEO of New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC).

This issue was discussed in Christchurch last week at the second in a series of three ‘Green CityDialogues’ hosted by the NZGBC. The meeting was a forum for building industry representatives to discuss how rebuilding and renovating Canterbury homes sustainably could deliver better long term outcomes for the region.

“Cantabrians are facing significant renovations, and in some cases rebuilds, and for some members of the community it is the first time that they have faced doing this,” says Alex Cutler, CEO of the NZGBC.

“Our discussion centered on how they can rebuild affordably and sustainably, as well as how a homeowner who is facing structural repairs orrebuilding can incorporate suitable insulation or double glazing or energy efficient heating, for example, in their rebuild solution,” says Ms Cutler.

“There is an opportunity for the industry to deliver sustainable solutions in the rebuilding and repair plans. There is also a strong need for leadership and creative solutions, as well as help and guidance for Canterbury homeowners that focuses on pragmatic solutions for the community.”

The panel of industry representatives at the meeting addressed how the industry and residents could overcome the technical and financial challenges of bettering the housing stock, and the current barriers to achieving this in Christchurch. Ms Cutler says the challenges were acknowledged and potential solutions were discussed.

She says that the Homestar home rating tool (www.homestar.org.nz) is a key measure of the environmental performance of stand-alone homes that is already available to the community, and could greatly support the greening of the residential sector in Canterbury.

“Homestar™ is the comprehensive home rating system developed by the New Zealand building industry and backed by the Government that aims to help Kiwis create healthier, morecomfortable and energy-efficient living spaces,” says Ms Cutler.

“It provides a benchmark for rating the environmental attributes of New Zealand homes to increase their warmth, health and comfort, alongside practical guidance for how to achieve this.”

She says that as the Homestar tool was developed for New Zealand conditions, it could provide vital assistance for people and organizations across the wider Canterbury region that are thinking about the environment and sustainable communities as part of the rebuild.

The audience at the Green City Dialogue, held on Monday evening, 19 September, at the Westpac Business Hub, included representatives from a range of organisations, including construction, project management offices, community trusts and Universities, as well as individuals interested in how sustainable homes could be delivered as part of the rebuild.

Panel members included Russell Devlin of Solarchitect, Duncan Joinerfrom the Department of Building and Housing, Brent Mettrick of Stonewood Homes, Annette Purvis of IAG New Zealand, Nick Collins of Beacon Pathway and Chrissie Williams, representing Christchurch City Council. Colliers International, Westpac and Wynn Williams & Co sponsored the event.

The third and final of the Green City Dialogue events in Christchurch will be held on Thursday, October 27 at 5.30pm, again at the Westpac Business Hub. Anyone interested in registering to attend can do so through the NZ Green Building Council web site, www.nzgbc.org.nz.

For more information and industry professionals who can assist homeowners with guidance on the Homestar rating tool, visit www.homestar.org.nz.

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