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Array ( [item_id] => 891 [title] => Making a positive contribution [html] =>

Jerome Partington wants New Zealanders building their own homes to shift their thinking from compliance to "doing good". He talks to Kim Dungey.

Sustainable architecture expert Jerome Partington says it’s not enough for buildings to be a little  more energy efficient; they should make a positive contribution to our communities and the health of our natural systems.

Auckland-based Partington is an advocate of the "living building challenge", arguably the world’s most rigorous performance standard for buildings and precincts.

The programme goes a step further than "green" and sustainable building, which focus merely on improving existing performance or "doing a little less harm", he says.

Instead, it uses the challenging goals to achieve better social outcomes and to give back to nature. The resulting buildings might create local employment, as did New Zealand’s first "living building" — the Tuhoe headquarters in Taneatua — or help nurture the local ecology, like the Californian resort designed to mimic the estuary which existed on the site before being filled in for development.

"One of our challenges in New Zealand is that it looks like all the ecosystems are healthy," he says.

"But even New Zealand is very degraded ... When we make investment decisions — be it in a building, a new industry or a farm — we need to start saying, ‘is this just about financial optimisation or will this project serve the health of the ecosystem and the health of the communities around it?’."

"This value-add is our only hope for a long term future on this planet."

To qualify as a "living building", a project must achieve what is called quadruple net zero performance in toxicity, energy, waste and water use. This means the building must be carbon neutral, generate at least as much energy as it consumes and use only rainwater collected on site. No materials with toxic chemicals can be used and no waste can go to the landfill.

While a "green" home is about 15 to 30% more efficient than a standard one, a "living building" is 90% more efficient than code, Partington says.

"The Challenge also asks us to design buildings that are really beautiful and that people will appreciate over decades so will be less likely to demolish in 30 years time."

The sustainability manager at Jasmax (architects for the new University of Otago Dental School), Mr Partington will visit Dunedin next week  to train architects, building professionals and polytechnic students in the ‘‘living building’’ programme. He will also give a public lecture on Tuesday.

Only 35 buildings worldwide have received full or partial "living building" certification since 2006, though about 400 are registered and hoping to follow suit. These include a net zero energy home in Auckland which was the first project certified outside of the United States (www.zeroenergyhouse.co.nz) and Te Uru Taumatua — Tuhoe’s $12 million headquarters near Whakatane.

Camp Glenorchy, scheduled to open later this year, is expected to be New Zealand’s first net zero energy camping ground, while Otago Polytechnic is using the living building philosophy to guide the design of its student accommodation, which opens early next year.

Meeting the requirements around materials is one of the toughest parts of the programme, Partington says. Not only must participants calculate and offset the embodied carbon, source mostly local products and services and use only Forest Stewardship Council-certified, reclaimed or windblown timber, they have to show how they will avoid dumping anything during the building’s design, construction, operation and demolition. All "worst in class" toxic chemicals on a so-called "red list" also need to be avoided.

This last requirement can benefit not only those who occupy the building, but those who refurbish it and those who make building products in the first place, he says. During the Tuhoe project, a firm which made concrete spacers and used formaldehyde in the moulds as a release agent, decided to no longer use the carcinogenic compound.

The programme also has a "Declare" eco label, which he likens to a food ingredients label for building products: "It tells you where it’s made, what’s in it and what to do with it at the end of it’s life."

Architect Jason F. McLennan calculated people could build a "living building challenge" home for the cost of a double garage, Partington says, but New Zealanders still focus on how big buildings are and what they look like rather than how they perform in terms of health and resource use.

The New Zealand Building Code, which is the "compliance" level most people build to, is "not very aspirational" and results in "incredibly inefficient" homes.

Many people have also "caught the development financial bug" and see homes purely as short-term investments.

The rest of the world is "cracking on with green building", but New Zealand has only recently started producing building scientists in its universities so there is a lack of understanding about how buildings work.

And while many countries have moved to high-quality prefabrication, New Zealand has tried to fix an old method of construction — the timber-framed house — rather than starting from first principles.

Insulating buildings properly and making them airtight requires a different approach, he says, describing how insulated precast-concrete panels his firm used at a West Auckland school resulted in warmer, drier classrooms.

"We have all the technology we need to design incredibly efficient, healthy homes. We just need a bit more will and a little education."

Chairman of the non-profit Living Future NZ, Mr Partington accepts that the requirements of the "living building" challenge are onerous but says that is what creates change and innovation.

So the message he will deliver on his Dunedin visit will be one of optimism but also "a bit of a reality check about the path we’re on".

"The amount of time, money and land that’s invested in the development sector in New Zealand is huge but are we getting long-term value from that investment? There’s a question we need to be asking ourselves."
 
Hear him

Jerome Partington’s free public lecture, "Why living buildings are transforming our world", is on at The Hub, Otago Polytechnic, Forth St, on Tuesday at 6pm. The short presentation will be followed by a panel discussion in which he will be joined by Otago Polytechnic campus project manager Tracey Howell and project manager Brett Nairn.

Otago Daily Times

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Making a positive contribution

Jerome Partington wants New Zealanders building their own homes to shift their thinking from compliance to "doing good". He talks to Kim Dungey. Sustainable architecture expert Jerome Partington says it’s not enough for buildings to be a little more energy efficient; they should make a positive contribution to our communities and the health of our natural systems. Auckland-based Partington is an advocate of the "living building... Read more >>

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He huinga whānau, he herehere tangata....

Array ( [item_id] => 894 [title] => Tuhoe Real Estate [html] =>
Jo Tuhoro (Hamua) grew up in a 2 bedroom whare built by her Koro Charlie. Nurtured by her nanny and koro, and surrounded by her many aunties, uncles and cousins, Jo remembers how Tūhoe values and beliefs were instilled in her from a young age.
 
“Our grandparents taught us that family should always be your focal point and it is here in this home that I learnt about Tūhoetana.”
 
Now married with three tamariki, she instills values of whānaungatanga into her own family.
 
“My family’s holistic wellbeing comes first, and as a Wife & Mother, my role is and will always be to support, love, teach and encourage those around me.  At times it is a challenging role, but one that will continue to help me grow with my Whanau.”
 
Grit and whānau are also the core values that influence her mahi.
 
jo tuhoro jpeg
 
“The same concepts apply with my mahi by putting people’s wellbeing first and truly understanding what it is that they need, and how I can help them achieve that…it is one of the most rewarding and priceless roles that I could have. Investing into the future of our tamariki and our community is what drives me.” 
 
Just over two years ago, Jo began studying real estate and took a position as a receptionist for Real Deal Real Estate in Whakatane. With a lot of determination and the support of her whānau, Jo was able to fulfil her ambition of becoming a licensed Real Estate agent. 
 
 “My first house that I sold was in a rural town and at the time the dwelling would require a large amount of renovation. Coming from 11 years in the healthcare industry, and having never been in sales before, selling this dwelling was not only a confidence booster but also gave me a sense of achievement and excitement all at once”.
 
Jo says she is keen to contribute back to her iwi by providing sales support and guidance to those who are looking to sell or purchase property. She says she enjoys meeting people from all walks of life, learning what is important for them and their whānau, and helping them to achieve their goals.
 
“Know what you want in a home, the features, the size, the location. Take your time, look around and don’t rush into buying or selling any property. Talk to a financial advisor or your Financial Institution to find out how much you could borrow. Check all options available to you and ask the necessary questions. If you feel you need to ask the question, ask it!”
 
Jo also looks forward to the future of real estate in Tūhoe - Te Urewera.
 
“I believe that with the correct policies, procedures, initiatives and support mechanisms in place, the future of real estate in Tūhoe Te Urewera would not only be promising, but successful. By implementing these initiatives, Tūhoe will be able to preserve, maintain the land and build sustainable living for future generations whether it be on Whanau land or through the concept of Papakainga. It would be amazing to see an increase in development of homes for whanau by whanau to reinvigorate our Rohe and get back to our grassroots.”
 
Jo describes her own dream home as a sustainable, eco-friendly dwelling on a medium sized block of land. 
 
“A house is a building with walls, but a home is made when it is filled with love and whānau.”
 
If you are looking to sell or purchase property call in and see Jo at Real Deal Real Estate, 44 Domain Road, Whakatane.
 
 
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Tuhoe Real Estate

Jo Tuhoro (Hamua) grew up in a 2 bedroom whare built by her Koro Charlie. Nurtured by her nanny and koro, and surrounded by her many aunties, uncles and cousins, Jo remembers how Tūhoe values and beliefs were instilled in her from a young age. “Our grandparents taught us that family should always be your focal point and it is here in this home that I learnt about Tūhoetana.” Now married with three tamariki, she... Read more >>

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Te Uru Taumatua represents the Tūhoe nation and the lands and wealth held in common for Tūhoe.   The purpose of the Governing Board of Te Uru Taumatua is to lead and serve the cultural permanency and prosperity of Tūhoetana by unlocking the unity potential of Mana Motuhake.  Advancing Tūhoe social and economic development in a way that is distinctively Tūhoe recognises that we will build the Tūhoe nation with our minds, our hearts and our hands.

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The purpose of Iwi Registration is to build the Tūhoe nation by registering in a central place the descendants of Tūhoe tipuna Tūhoe or Potiki and those who affiliate to a Tūhoe Marae and Tūhoe Hapū.  Your Iwi Register is based on Tūhoe whānau and Tūhoe hapū.