Wilkinson Primary School (Passive House certified) Photo: Juraj Mikurcik / Architype UK
Business, Events, Housing, Non-profit organisation, Otago, Schools, Upper Clutha, Wanaka

Passive House event in Wanaka

Southern Sustainable Building Network invites you to a public event on Passive House for School and Business in Wanaka.

Elrond.jpg

Elrond Burrell, Director of VIA Architecture has been invited to speak at a public event on Friday 18th August 2017 at Mt Aspiring College North Block between 7 and 9pm.

“Our children deserve healthy, warm learning environments as well as homes.” He says.

Passive House is a building standard that is energy efficient, comfortable and affordable at the same time. Passive House is not a brand name, but a tried and true construction concept that can be applied by anyone, anywhere, and is particularly valuable to educational and commercial premises.

The Passive House Standard is achieved by means of highly efficient building systems, careful planning and highly efficient components such as super-insulating window frames, highly efficient ventilation units, thermal bridge free connection details, glazing that allows solar gains.

Elrond says, “Too often keeping NZ schools warm in winter comes at a cost of the indoor air quality – windows are shut and the heating turned up. As a result CO2 and humidity builds up leading to drowsy inattentive children (and teachers).”

Elrond Burrell is one of Australasia’s most experienced Passive House specialists, having worked for leading UK sustainable architecture practice Architype for 10 years and has been instrumental in the design and delivery of some of the UK’s largest Passive House apartment buildings, several Passive House schools, as well as Passive House offices, community facilities and homes.

The event is organised by Southern Sustainable Building Network, an informal group of professionals and homeowners who are interested in sustainable construction in Central Otago /Lakes. 

Entry with kohā – Confirm attendance by email if possible to florencemicoud@gmail.com. For more information please call 021 0279 2481.

Header Photo credit
Wilkinson Primary School
(Passive House certified)  
Photo: Juraj Mikurcik / Architype UK
Business, Energy, Otago, Recycling & Waste, Transport, Upper Clutha, Wanaka

New! Retail Eco-Makeover

There are many cheap, easy ways to improve your shop’s environmental sustainability. Changing your lighting can reduce your costs, adding eco-products in your display can attract clients, not giving away plastic bags can save the oceans and marine life… And so on! No small stuff!

We have designed the Retail Eco-makeover, a 10-chapter audit to look deeply into each area, we write an extensive recommendations report and provide help to implement them.

For just $550! You’ll get them back in just a few month in savings and more clients!

By Xeepo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Business, Climate change, Ecosystem & Biodiversity, Governmental, World

Action for Positive Change

The Montreal Protocol is perhaps the most successful international agreement so far. It demonstrates (and gives hope) that with collective action and political will, catastrophic environmental trends can be reversed. The ozone layer depletion observed in the 1970’s was subsequently attributed to CFC gases (and others). In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was signed. Government policy makers, politicians, industry people, technologists and consumers contributed to making a change. And now, 10 years after reaching its worst in 2006, it is now confirmed that the ozone hole is reducing and projected to be “filled” by 2065. Whew!

ozone-hole-peak
Source:http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldWithoutOzone/

Good news is always worth celebrating, but the point here is that major problems can be solved with global action. Solutions exist -if we start looking-, we just need to decide to make a change. This video, from the UNEP Youtube channel, explains this history of disruption and solution.

Let’s apply the same will and principles to the huge problems we face. All levels must collaborate, international organisations, policy makers, businesses, individuals… The climate crisis is multi-faceted but not impossible to solve. Specialists and scientists have been researching for decades to define, trial and refine many solutions. By aiming at sustainability, we stop contributing to the problem and become part of the solution.

The world is changing; either we choose to change with it or we are left behind. Change can be exciting!

  • Change before you have to” said Jack Welch, a great businessman
  • Everything is hard, before it’s easy” stated Goethe
  • Comply is not a vision” exclaimed visionary entrepreneur, Ray Anderson
  • The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it“, emphasizes explorer Robert Swan
  • If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” warned U. S. Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki.

These quotes urge us: Stop procrastinating. Stop blaming others. Embrace our responsibilities.

All you need is to take the decision to become sustainable. We can help you change, enjoy the challenge and reap the benefits in the process.

Featured image: Largest Antarctic ozone hole ever recorded (September 2006), over the Southern pole, NASA, 2006
Business, Energy, Food & Health, New Zealand, Otago, Recycling & Waste, Upper Clutha, Wanaka

101 questions to green your office

Danaidae sp.
Thomas Bresson CC BY 2.0

Greening your office is a great start on your journey towards more sustainability because it is specific and visibly effective.

Right here in Wanaka and serving Queenstown and Central Otago, we go through your office with our exclusive 101 questions audit, taking less than 30 mn of your time.

Within a week, we deliver a report of recommendations for each aspect, energy and lighting, computers and printing,  procurement, waste etc.

You then decide if you want to proceed with the changes and if you need our help to do so.

Introductory offer : $250 for an office of 1 to 3 working stations ($450 for 4 or more)

Let’s talk and make a start!

Call 021 027 92 481 or email aimatsustainability@gmail.com

 

 

Business, Wanaka

Greening your business…

Gustav Klimt [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsIt doesn’t need to be complicated AND it can be very rewarding. There are obvious steps like recycling. And there are many little steps that yield more than they cost.

Changing your staff culture, having fair trade products in the break room with reusable cups, encouraging walking and cycling to work, all make a difference at no cost. And it improve the employees morale and purpose, therefore their involvement and productivity.

Using eco-friendly cleaning products minimise air pollution, waste water pollution and prevent harmful chemical entering in contact with people. Every bit counts!

Conserving energy and water, being mindful of what you use and produce, both deliberately and as byproducts… It all adds up!

It is our job to help you achieve that (and more) in your business, organisation or household. Contact us aimasustainability@gmail.com or phone 021 0279 2481: your step towards more sustainability!

Business, World

Consumers prefer “green”

In 2007, a study showed that 53% of consumers preferred  “to purchase products and services from a company with a strong environmental reputation”. Read more…

In 2012, another study showed that 66% of consumers are socially conscious and among them 66% think companies should support environmental sustainability. Read more… 

In 2015 in China, a study demonstrates that “73% customers say they will pay more for green products”. Read more…

Contact us to reap the benefits of this amazing trend for your company!

Consumer preference for Green

 

Business, Climate change, Events, Transport, Wanaka, World

Climate change at the top of your agenda

The Earth seen from Apollo 17

While 175 nations were signing the Paris Climate treaty in New York on Earth Day, Friday 22nd April 2016, Tim Flannery was the keynote speaker of the first Aspiring Conversations, “Cool It: dealing with climate change”, with Suzi Kerr and Veronika Meduna.

Click here for my comprehensive notes of the event.

What can your business or organisation take from it?

Climate change is happening and we are better off taking this into account.

Climate change is not a destination. It is a process. Our actions -or non actions- decide on the tempo of the change.

The hope is: we understand clearly now that there is a problem and we know what tools and what paths we can take.

Good news is: We are at the peak of emissions. Half of energy investments last year were in solar and wind energy.

If we take a good look at what we do wrong now, we give ourselves permission to be creative and innovate.

Adapting to change

Today is a turn. The Paris climate agreement signed today is saving us from the worst. There is hope but we are so late, change has already happened so we need to think about adapting to it.

Here in the mountains, the snow cover thickness is forecast to be 90% of what it is now in 2040 so there is only minor change for ski resorts until then.

There will be however 50% more rain in winter and spring and at the same time, there will be more dry days. This means heavier and more damaging storms, more floods as well as more droughts. How do we adapt to that?

Click here to read more about “How Climate Change affects our region”. We need to acknowledge the change so we can think about how to manage it.

Reducing emissions

While many innovations aiming at capturing CO2 from the atmosphere are on their way, reducing emissions is the best start.

Electric cars are a huge opportunity.

Planting trees is definitely part of the solution with lots of co-benefits.

It is great that governments will help with appropriate regulations. Yet it is down to private initiatives to act now.

All we need to do is to put climate change at the top of our agenda.

Agriculture & gardening, Business, Climate change, Ecological footprint, Energy, Household / individual, Transport

New Zealand’s carbon crisis

Per capita NZ GHG emissionsAlthough a small contributor to the global greenhouse effect (0.2%), New Zealand’s emissions of greenhouse gases per capita (17,2 tons) places us in the top countries, nearly twice as bad as the UK! To prevent catastrophic climate change, we *should* emit less than one ton per person and per year.

It’s a huge responsibility and also a huge opportunity.

Half of New Zealand’s emissions of greenhouse gases depends on how we choose to use our land. Originally covered by forests by 80% only 30% is left today with more than 50% used as farmland. So trees today only manage to absorb about 30% of CO2 emissions. A lot of farmland is used for ruminants who belch out methane, a gas 25 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Something will have to be done there.

 

Footprint_tagsThe 86% of us who live in urban settings contribute to the other half of emissions of greenhouse gases. A third of energy production is from non-renewable sources and we use too much energy anyway because of our poorly insulated homes. Also we consume a lot and making things creates lots of CO2, as well as waste and pollution. We also drive in cars too much and our air travel increase is a worrying trend. One return flight to Europe adds 10 tons per capita and per passenger…

These are things we can work on. We can choose better energy, save it and improve our homes. We can be thoughtful when we buy things and when we hop in our cars.

We’ll help you figure out what is easily done, what will make a big difference in your case, how much it will cost you and save over time.  We’ll help you feel good about yourself and how you tackle your responsibility towards future generations and the Earth.

Source: Carbon Neutral by 2020: How New Zealanders can tackle climate change. Edited by Niki Harre and Quentin D. Atkinson. Nelson: Craig Potton, 2007.

 

Business, Household / individual

Saving the Earth also saves money!

Dollar symbol goldGoing green saves money and increases profits.

For businesses, studies have shown that profits can easily increase by 80% in 5 years when deciding to go sustainable. From innovations, opportunities to waste reductions, employers engagement to improved business image, not to mention avoiding massive risks to profits from legal or environmental changes, it pays to anticipate!

At home, whether you carpool, switch to energy efficient light bulbs, buy and sell second-hand or eat local food, your household bills will reduce by the thousands of dollars.

Ask for Eco-Consultant advice to decide where to start and what will ensure the best return on investment enabling you to pursue your path. Being sustainable financially rhymes with sustainability!

 

Business, Ecological footprint, Energy, Wanaka

Guiding business nearing the top of Mount Sustainability

2015-10-28_2133My friend Iris has always been caring for the environment she loves. Her mountain guiding business embeds that in many ways. When she heard I was looking for a project to implement sustainability in a real situation as part of my studies, she took the opportunity to formalize this feature.

Following the Natural Step framework, we were able to identify many assets and find potential for progress. The initial result was a sustainability statement published in November 2011 and the longer term outcome is that the house and lodge is now energy self-sufficient. Well done!

Closer to the top!