Sustainable Habitat Challenge

Posted on August 15, 2007


The Sustainable Habitat Challenge, or SHaC 09 is a national (New Zealand) challenge for tertiary organisations that aims to develop sustainable solutions. In short: teams of students and their lecturers will research, design and build a new sustainable house over a period of 18 months, to be finished in November 2009.

Why am I telling you this? Three reasons:

1. This is something we should learn from. This is the sort of cross curricula project that will lift sustainability to become a driver to transform our education.

2. There are lots of opportunities for Computing for Sustainability to be involved in the challenge. This is not just about building but research, communication plans, designs, measurement, community involvement – sustainable house in Second Life anyone?

3. I’m on the committee that is organising SHaC09. Otago Polytechnic is has been funded by the Ministry of Environment to run the challenge.

An emphasis of the Challenge will be as much on process and decision making as final outcome. Having said that, we also hope to find sustainable building approaches that can be easily adopted by our population and industries.

It’s about working together – Students and Staff; Students across departments and disciplines; Tertiary organisations in teams; local authorities and teams; teams and local industry and business; teams and the community. Whilst the Challenge is competitive in nature, and the best responses to the brief will win prizes, an emphasis of SHaC 09 is sharing knowledge and successes with each other and the communities we live in.

It’s about discovery – We’re all learning to be more sustainable and SHaC 09 has learning as its top priority. We hope that by participating in the Challenge lecturers will integrate sustainability into their coursework, that students will graduate with sustainability at the core of their values and that together their projects will educate businesses, industry, local authorities and their communities in sustainable living.

Those of you following the Computing for Sustainability agenda, this project contributes to items 7 (resources) , 10 (Frame “for sustainability” as a core driver for research) and 12 (awareness activities).