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


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 in New Zealand in June.

The summit focuses on the vital role sustainability plays in building better homes and communities and, in particular, the challenges to be met in reversing the health impacts of low-quality homes while meeting exploding demand in New Zealand.

As the international keynote speaker, Ms 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% of trips around the city are made by bike, walking or public transport — and Ms Reimer is the lead councillor involved with the plan. She was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee medal in 2013 for her leadership on the initiative.

Ms Reimer 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, including innovative projects, inclusive development and density done well, as well as the critical challenges and opportunities facing housing in New Zealand.

Other international speakers include:

Sustainable communities pioneer Adam Beck, director of Brisbane’s Centre for Urban Innovation, who will discuss some of his projects in the United States and further afield.

James Legge, director of Melbourne’s Six Degrees Architect, who 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, who 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, who will talk about how emerging district utility infrastructure can support sustainable urban renewal.

The biannual 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.

NZGBC chief executive 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,” Ms Cutler says.

“Registrations for the NZGBC’s residential sustainability rating tool, Homestar, have jumped substantially in the past six months, so there’s a growing appetite for change,” she says.

“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.

Local speakers will demonstrate the value of innovative building techniques, discuss sustainability’s growing role in urban developments, and debate the thorny issues currently confronting New Zealand around housing health and affordability. They include:

Fletcher Building residential and land development chief executive Steve Evans, who will discuss Fletcher Living’s sustainability benchmarks on the Christchurch East Frame development, and how they’re working towards a people-centred, economically-vibrant precinct.

Panuku Development Auckland sustainability manager Viv Heslop, who will discuss successful urban revitalisation in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, and explain the key mechanisms that have been used to ensure sustainability is a defining, visible feature of the quarter.

Other speakers include:

Holmes Solutions project director Tim Porter, who will talk about waste reduction through evidence-based design and prefabrication. Together, these techniques provide a profound opportunity to build safer, better, cheaper, faster and greener.

Tall Wood chief executive Daiman Otto, who will outline how prefabrication and offsite manufacturing are critical tools in creating genuinely affordable, sustainable housing outcomes, while also increasing certainty and quality for clients and end-users.

NZGBC chief executive Alex Cutler, who will look at what the New Zealand residential sector has achieved in the past few years, and how to capitalise on the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Senior journalist Mihingarangi Forbes will act as MC at the Auckland summit, where Labour spokesperson for housing, building and construction Phil Twyford will provide the opening address.

Sustainable housing expert Matthew Cutler-Welsh will be the MC in Christchurch, where Christchurch City Council urban design and regeneration manager Carolyn Ingles will provide the opening address.

The Auckland summit will be held at the Crowne Plaza on June 15, and is supported by principal sponsor Assa Abloy and event sponsor Resene.

The Christchurch summit will be held at the Christchurch Civic Building on June 17, and is supported by principal sponsor Davis Ogilvie and event sponsor Resene.

For a full programme and speaker information, visit

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