Climate justice embodied in build

Foundations go in and a septic tank is installed in readiness for the climate safe house in...
Foundations go in and a septic tank is installed in readiness for the climate safe house in Waitati. Photos: Supplied
A warm dry house is a human right. It is also an element of climate justice, writes Scott Willis.

Scott Willis
Scott Willis
The calls for climate justice resounded around the country last month as up to 170,000 people joined the School Strike 4 Climate.

Climate justice is about more than simply the adverse environmental impacts of climate change. Climate justice is the recognition that climate change is also a complex social justice issue. The human face of climate change requires a community development approach.

As the manager of a place-based NGO that works on creating local climate solutions, this makes complete sense to me. We have been working on one project in particular this year that is all about climate justice and the hopes and fears of real people.

The climate safe house project, a brainchild of the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, is concerned with urban renewal, affordable, adaptable housing and shelter for the vulnerable.

Insulated panels ready for the house.
Insulated panels ready for the house.
After years of development, the project gathered speed in June this year when the trust and Otago Polytechnic signed an agreement to build the country's first climate safe house at the Home & Living Show on November 2-3, with the help of local tradeswomen.

Since then, I feel as though I've hardly slept a wink. Thankfully, Becky Thompson, quantity surveying manager with our main sponsor, Naylor Love, has the construction management of this project in hand as we rapidly approach D-Day. Let me explain.

Over the past few months we have worked with more than 40 generous sponsors to secure almost all the materials and services needed to build a warm, efficient, elevated and transportable home for a community member whose home has been rendered uninsurable and uninhabitable through repeated flooding. We are very close to our resourcing goal and in the final stages of delivery.

Resource and building consents have been issued. The Waitati property has been leased and a deed of residence for the climate safe house has been agreed. The site has been cleared, piles built and septic tank installed and drainage readied for the house. Meanwhile, in another part of the city, DS Builders have received the structural insulated panels that will make up the thermal envelope of the climate safe house and are preparing them for assembly at the Home & Living Show.

The climate safe house will be open during construction on both days of the show. On November 4, Fulton Hogan will transport the basic house to Waitati, where it will be craned into place by Waikouaiti Auto Electrical Cranes and completed on site. The completed climate safe house will demonstrate not only high thermal efficiency and low carbon impact, but also how smart, clean-tech design can provide energy security even when the grid goes down, thanks to sponsors Control Focus, Aotea Electrical and Signify.

For an invitation to the formal official opening of the climate safe house, take a look at our PledgeMe campaign.

So far we've developed technical/design solutions, dealt with social and legal issues, secured fantastic partners and noted the compliance challenges presented by an outdated and ineffective building code.

We would not have made these discoveries or created a pathway for others without embarking on a project full of risk and surprises. But the flax-roots approach, while rich in insights and appropriate design, is also hard to resource. We've kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to ensure the climate safe house can serve as a climate and social justice policy template. The PledgeMe campaign will top up the massive commitment made by our Dunedin and national partners and sponsors.

I'm so proud of the Otago "can do" attitude - working together to simply get stuff done. We all want climate justice. That's why this project matters.

The PledgeMe campaign is at: bit.ly/2VZ6VMD

Solar panels. Photo: Reuters
Solar panels. Photo: Reuters
PV market set to grow

The installation of solar PV systems on homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities will take off in the next five years, transforming the way electricity is generated and consumed, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) latest renewable energy market forecast.

These applications - known collectively as distributed PV - are the focus of the IEA's Renewables 2019 market report, released this week.

The report forecasts that the world's total renewable-based power capacity will grow by 50% between 2019 and 2024. This increase of 1200 gigawatts - equivalent to the current total power capacity of the United States - will be driven by cost reductions and concerted government policy efforts, the agency predicts.

Solar PV accounts for 60% of the rise. The share of renewables in global power generation will rise from 26% today to 30% in 2024.

The expected growth comes after renewable capacity additions stalled last year for the first time in almost two decades. The renewed expansion remains well below what is needed to meet global sustainable energy targets, however.

"Renewables are already the world's second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals," said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director.

Scott Willis is the project manager of Blueskin Energy Ltd. Each week in this column, one of a panel of writers addresses issues of sustainability.

 

Comments

I dont really understand from this or from the climatesafehouse website what it is.
Perhaps a wooden submarine or a house on stilts?
Please help.

 

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