Straw home, Auckland retrofit winners

A Central Otago straw bale home with a "holistic and aesthetically pleasing approach" to sustainability and an "inspiring" retrofit in Auckland were winners in the Sustainable Habitat Challenge.

The awards were announced last night at a ceremony in the Port Chalmers Town Hall, as part of the Sustainable Habitat Challenge Symposium being held in Dunedin this week.

Teams were challenged to design, fund and create their vision for sustainable housing in less than two years.

Challenge co-ordinator Tim Bishop praised the nine teams from around New Zealand who created eight new builds and retrofits for the challenge.

It highlighted the diversity of sustainable building practices available in New Zealand and showed it was practical and possible for everyone, he said.

Judges were architect Dave Strachan, Beacon Pathway manager Nick Collins, researchers Maggie Lawton and Nigel Isaacs and broadcaster and Dunedin city councillor Dave Cull.

Team Housewise, whose members were from Housing New Zealand, the University of Auckland, New Zealand Housing Foundation and Landcare Research, won the retrofit section with its work on a Housing New Zealand property.

Cr Cull said the project had "inspiring potential" to make a difference to New Zealand.

Team Central Otago, incorporating Otago Polytechnic's Central Otago campus and Sol Design, won the new build section with its insulated straw bale house.

"We were struck by the holistic and aesthetically pleasing approach to sustainability taken by the team," Ms Lawton said.

The Challenge was established by Otago Polytechnic and supported by the Ministry for the Environment.

For vision: The Plant Room; Waikato; Whareuku; BACH 101; Ecocrib.
For collaboration: CPIT and Dunedin; Whareuku; Team Housewise; BACH101.
For communication: Whareuku; Team Otago; The Plant Room.
For innovation: Whareuku; Team Central Otago.

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