Guaranteeing Healthy Homes Conference March 2018 – Wellington

The conference opened with a bang, with the Minister of Housing and Development, Hon Phil Twyford, giving a rousing presentation that made it clear that change was coming; a message well received by this audience. Decades of failure had resulted in a “hell of a mess”, he said, but he declared he was optimistic and not at all daunted by the task. Our generation could sort this out. It was a positive, even inspiring, note to begin on.

Acclaimed business journalist — and house renovator — Rod Oram gave a terrific keynote address that succeeded in providing the larger context for all the nitty gritty that was to follow. His power-point presentation took us around the world and back in time (and pointed to weeks of reading, should one be interested in the reports he referenced). He ended by talking about the extensive retrofitting carried out on his family home in Auckland. He has meticulously documented their energy bills and how they have plummeted, but made a good point that spreadsheets and cost-benefit analyses are limited in what they capture. There is no line item that can express the subjective improvements: “warm, dry and beautiful”.

The schedule that followed was packed, with three speakers in each of three timeslots on both days. Participants benefitted from a wide range of perspectives, including from academic researchers, not-for-profit agencies and public servants. Those working on the frontlines of assisting the most vulnerable New Zealanders in our worst housing provided some powerful insights into the suffering they experience and the costs we all share.

By the end of the day there was frank acknowledgement that the current Building Code is “rubbish” and different opinions about how to address it.

The second day similarly got off to a rousing start with a mind-expanding talk by Daiman Otto. The potential of prefabs to transform how and what we build goes far beyond what the audience likely imagined.

He was followed by a very warmly-received talk by Anahera Rawiri about the homes being retrofitted and newly built to house members of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei hapū in Auckland. She was frank about some of the challenges they were addressing and the role housing played in a much wider context of community development.

Eco-Design Adviser Nelson Lebo kicked off a discussion with a considered presentation on why there is not more uptake of services, programmes and advice. He spoke from the perspective of an educator and argued passionately for educators to tailor their advice to the needs of individuals. This was followed by spirited small group discussions that followed on over lunch.

The afternoon had more technical presentations and finished on a high note with architect Bob Burnett, who has launched the open-source “Superhome” movement, which educates the public about the value and possibilities of building homes above Building Code minimums.

By Rachel Rose – Freelance Writer

View full programme


 Conference Workshop May 2017 – Wellington

Proved to be a great success this year, with a great line up of speakers.

We had a great range of inspirational and informative speakers presenting topics covering building design updates, current research and behavioural psychology.

The conference brought together a diverse collection of delegates from the energy sector, architectural design, housing and health, government departments and the not for profit sector. Here are some of the great talks provided by our speakers:




Conference Workshop 2016 – Palmerston North

This year’s conference celebrated the 10 Year Anniversary of the EDA Network.

Since 2006 thousands of homes and households have benefitted from an EDA consultation, talk or presentation and the service has come to be regarded as a leader in its field.

At this year’s conference we looked at how the service started, what it has achieved and how it continues to raise the bar on improving NZ’s housing stock.

See the presentations below:

Double glazing: Demystifying the options
Home schooling: Best practice in client-centred learning
Raising the standard of rental housing: Case studies and experience
Thermal imaging: Revealing hidden truths and other uses
Building above the building code: Short term savings can mean long term costs

Conference Workshop 2015 – Basin Reserve, Wellington

We had 113 people attending from around New Zealand. Attendees commented that they found it very useful, hearing from a range of experts in their field as well as networking with industry professionals, academics and local and central government agencies.

See the presentations below:

Keynote: Lessons we can learn from our housing, Professors Brenda and Robert Vale, Victoria University
Robert and Brenda have a new book “Living within a fair share ecological footprint”.

Auckland housing assistance, Adrian Feasey and Eion Scott, Auckland Council EDAs
Auckland Council offers funding assistance and free assessment to homeowners and landlords through the Retrofit Your Home and Healthy Rentals programmes.

New build design reviews, Richard Morrison, Kapiti Coast District Council EDA
Richard looked at the importance of balancing functional requirements in a new build with specific features.

Health and the domestic environment, Professor Julian Crane, Asthma Research Unit, University of Otago School of Medicine
International studies show that warm, dry, weathertight homes have the biggest impact on respiratory issues such as asthma.

Performance testing of heaters and curtains, Paul Smith and George Block, Consumer NZ
Consumer undertakes independent testing and product comparison.

The healthiness and toxicity of common building materials, Dr Emina Petrovic, Victoria University
In the last 20 years we have produced more chemicals than in the previous millennia of humankind.

Ditching the clothes horse, behaviour change and indoor air quality, Dr Nelson Lebo, Palmerston North City Council EDA
Explores theories on adult learning and behaviour change, and how they can be applied to the housing sector in New Zealand.


Open Day 2014 – Pelorus Sports House, Hutt City

More than 30 designers, home performance advisors, industry leaders and even a councillor or two attended the 2014 Eco Design Advisor Open Day, held in Petone, Hutt City, in early August. The range of speakers and opportunity to network with the seven Eco Design Advisors proved a hit with the audience, with comments ranging from “Really stimulating, rejuvenating and interesting day” to “Great study day, incredibly interesting and very relevant”. To see the range of topics and download presentations, click on the topics below.


Introducing the Eco Design Advisors Richard Popenhagen – Nelson City Council
Real Dream Homes Kay Saville-Smith – CRESA
Making a Healthy Home Richard Morrison, Kapiti Coast District Council
Heating – Issues and Options Richard Popenhagen
Housing and Health Philippa Howden-Chapman – Otago School of Medicine
Asbestos – Handling Risk Communication Dr Stephen Palmer – Hutt Valley District Health Board.
Homestar and Housing Warrant of Fitness Matthew Cutler-Welsh – NZ Green Building Council
Moisture and Condensation in your Home Richard Popenhagen