Update from our friends at SHAC

Posted on December 4, 2008


shacteamsHere’s an update from SHAC:  (more detail and lots of pictures in pdf).

The goal of sustainable housing for all New Zealanders got a step closer this week.  Ten teams of students and professionals released their first peak at designs for a variety of sustainable homes.  The Sustainable Habitat Challenge teams will begin their projects in January 2009.

SHAC 09 National Coordinator Tim Bishop says that helping all New Zealanders live well and be free from reliance on expensive resources is the aim of the SHAC teams.  “Teams are exploring what is practical and possible to build today, and are discovering new opportunities,” Bishop says.

SHAC 09 teams are getting ideas and input from many local students and professionals and are exploring a number of designs, some with new looks and some that look like existing building styles.

Dr Allanah Ryan from Massey University says that “green buildings don’t come out of thin air, they are the products of massive amounts of effort by all sorts of people”.

“In as short a time, say 10 or 20 years, houses in New Zealand won’t be designed and built like what is common today, they’re likely to resemble houses SHAC teams are designing and building now.” – John Cheah, Team Whareuku coordinator

The University of Auckland, School of Architecture and Planning are developing their design for the first Passive House in the Southern Hemisphere. The project, known as ‘zero.plus’, will see the creation of a self sustaining zero energy living unit, for the urban environment, requiring no purchased energy for heating or cooling.  They are still looking for a site on which to build.

Christina van Bohemen, Chair NZIA Auckland Branch says that zero.plus project is an exciting project that could really inform residential design in New Zealand… introducing a new architectural language determined by resources and lifestyle.

Team Whareuku, also at the University of Auckland, have focused on a building system for remote communities to use local materials and resources, and minimizing the need to rely on outside architectural and engineering expertise. Construction is underway on this project.

Victoria University’s project known as ‘The Plant Room’ is focused on developing sustainable options for apartment dwellers. With the addition of what appears to be a relatively simple glass ‘clip-on’, a fairly ordinary apartment could become the way of the future for city dwellers. The ‘clip-on’ provides a place to grow food as well as collecting rain water and solar heating.

Sustainable Architecture Lecturer at Victoria University and The Plant Room coordinator Alex Hills says that the team have designed a system that is able to extend and enliven the façade of existing apartment blocks while reducing stresses on existing infrastructures.

The ten SHAC completed houses are to be judged in November 2009. Projects will be rated on technical, social, and economic criteria.  The judges for the competition are Robert Vale – Victoria University, Nick Collins – Beacon Pathway, Maggie Lawton – Braidwood Research and Consulting, Dave Cull – television personality, builder, councilor, and Nigel Isaacs – BRANZ.


project name Institution/s location build type
Te Hira Whanau Bach 101 Te Hira Whanau & UNITEC / ScALA / Te Hononga Rangitoto Island retrofit
Team Canterbury CPIT, University of Canterbury, and Lincoln Christchurch new build
Team Housewise Housing New Zealand, Landcare Research, University of Auckland Auckland retrofit
Whareuku University of Auckland Lake Rotoiti new build
Team Dunedin Otago Polytechnic, University of Otago Dunedin new build
Team Waikato Wintec Hamilton new build
zero.plus The University of Auckland, School of Architecture and Planning Auckland new build
The Plant Room Victoria University, Massey University, Weltec Wellington retrofit
Team Central Otago Otago Polytechnic Clyde new build
Unitec EcoBach Unitec Auckland new build