Forums & Short Courses

Valuing Sustainability Webinar and Workshop

May 2017

TSS are hosting one-day workshops in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to offer built environment professionals to learn more about the different frameworks and tools to integrate sustainability into their projects. These workshops will be supported by a pre-workshop online webinar (more details below).

For those wanting to take a broader view of ‘value’, it is often a challenge to understand what is relevant for your particular context and how to apply it to support smart decision-making, and explore ways to account for social, cultural and natural capitals, as well as wider economic value.

These workshops will focus strongly on the application of these tools to the built environment and is relevant for engineers, architects, planners and other built environment professionals whose work involves planning, designing, building and managing New Zealand’s built environment

TSS and affiliate member discounts apply as well as organisational discounts for those who have 3 or more of their team participating in any of the workshops.

Auckland workshop – Monday 15 May 

Eventbrite - Valuing Sustainability Workshop AUCKLAND

Wellington workshop – Thursday 18 May

Eventbrite - Valuing Sustainability Workshop WELLINGTON

Christchurch workshop – Thursday 25 May 

Eventbrite - Valuing Sustainability Workshop CHRISTCHURCH

Valuing Sustainability Pre-workshop Webinar

Monday 1 May 7 – 8:30am

As part of this unique learning package, workshop participants are invited to participate in a pre-workshop webinar designed to provide some global context for the theory and practice of integrating non financial value into organisations and projects.

Webinar presenter Tom Barnett will be joining us from the UK where he has spent most of the last decade working for Trucost across the UK and Europe. His work has focused on measuring and valuing business’ impact and dependency on non-financial capital with a view to exposing the motivations for selecting more sustainable outcomes.

This webinar is offered exclusively for registered workshop participants.


Green Drinks Auckland

Green Drinks

The Sustainability Society and the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE) are partnering to initiate a monthly ‘low-fi’ Green Drinks in Auckland.

What is ‘low-fi’ Green Drinks?  It’s people with a connection to sustainability getting together for a regular catchup on the first Wednesday of every month. Simple really. We just want to offer a little incubator for ideas and connections. 

When: First Wednesday of every month from 5:30 onwards  

Where: Brothers Brewery,  5 Akiraho St, Mount Eden (right next to train and bus – plan your trip


Winter Webinar Series 2017

The 2017 Webinar Series will be starting up soon and we are looking for ideas on what kinds of sessions and topics our network are interested in hearing about.

If you do have any ideas on additional sessions that we could hold please do get in touch

These webinars are offered free to TSS members and $15 + GST for non members. If you would like to attend multiple sessions in 2016, pay $50 + GST and participate in as many as you like!

2016 Winter Webinar Series 

+ Infrastructure Sustainability – Research on Tools: 21 July

Kerry Griffiths

We will hear from Kerry Griffiths, Technical Director Sustainability AECOM, based in Wellington, who is undertaking doctoral research into the use of infrastructure sustainability rating tools and how they contribute to sustainable outcomes.

She is looking specifically at the CEEQUAL, Envision, Greenroads and Infrastructure Sustainability rating tools.  Kerry will share from her research to date and specifically highlight learnings for potential tool users and sustainability advisers.  She has interviewed the developers of these rating systems and will share insights for the future.

In preparing for the webinar consider: What would you expect or want from a rating tool?  What do you see as the potential benefits and opportunities or indeed challenges? 

When: Thursday 21 July 2016, 12 – 1:30pm

+ ISCA Infrastructure Sustainability Framework – Updates and New Zealand Learnings: 28 July

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) is a member based not for profit industry council with a mandate to advance the performance of infrastructure projects and assets across the quadruple bottom line using a sustainability performance rating scheme. The Infrastructure Sustainability rating scheme (IS rating scheme/tool) is Australasia’s only comprehensive rating system and evaluates sustainability performance across design, construction and operation of infrastructure.

As of June 2016, the tool is currently being applied to over 55 different projects/assets with a capital value of $80 billion.

This webinar is being delivered to give NZ based stakeholders an overview of the IS rating scheme and to also discuss some of the benefits of the new version of the tool, including provisions for small projects (<$20 million in capital value).

The agenda for the webinar is:

    • What is the IS rating scheme and what are the benefits
    • Version 1.2:
    • Development and improvements
    • Flexible weightings
    • Small projects (<$20m)
    • NZ update – Current projects, lessons learnt

+ Whaitua Collaborative Planning Process: 4 August

Since the release of the National Policy Statement on Freshwater there has been considerable debate around the complexities of urban versus rural water management and best means of ensuring that the future of water management adequately reflects the economic, cultural and social aspirations of the community as well as the baseline ecosystem health.

In response to this challenge, Greater Wellington Regional Council have embarked on an innovative and ambitious collaborative planning process based on regional catchments or “Whaitua”.

Te Awarua O Porirua is the second Whaitua committee activated and includes a mix of both urban and rural land uses crossing local government boundaries. A committee of 13 individuals have been selected from community, mana whenua and local authorities to develop the Whaitua Implementation Programme (WIP) which will involve a number of recommendations for water related plan provisions for the catchment as well as non-regulatory work programmes. Supported by a team of technical experts in fresh/estuarine science, policy and modelling the Whaitua process offers an opportunity to embed well Stu Farrantfounded community values in future management of our precious water resource.

This webinar will be presented by Stu Farrant (Whaitua Committee Chair) and Alistair Smail (GWRC Project Leader) and provides a great opportunity to hear how the Wellington region is tackling the NPS-FW issue which is of increasingly of interest throughout the country.

+ Otago Food Economy Project: 19 August

This webinar session, presented by Rhys Millar and Ella Lawton, will explore The Otago Food Economy (OFE) project which has created a better understanding of the capacity for the Otago Region to supply its own food needs with the purpose to promote more resilient food economies that have a stronger focus on localisation. Much of the learning from this project can be applied to other New Zealand regions and has been shared through the Project’s online toolbox. The toolbox is designed to help a community carry out their own Food Economy Project and recommends a collaborative approach between community groups, farmers markets, local government and food producers.

The aims of the project were primarily in two parts: firstly, to evaluate the food production potential of the region’s productive land relative to the food needs of its population, understand how much local food is currently sold and consumed and the reasons why individuals and businesses are or are not involved in the Local Food Economy; then secondly, the project was to identify opportunities, test their viability and then propose next steps in achieving the goal of increasing the activity within the Otago Food Economy.

Rhys Millar

Rhys is a Land Use Consultant with over 16 years of experience.  He is passionate about working with landowners, local authorities and other organisations to create working landscapes that function to their utmost and are able to deliver a wide array of environmental, economic and social benefits.  Rhys is a Director of Ahika Consulting based in Dunedin.

Dr Ella LawtonElla

Ella has worked in the field of sustainable practice for 10 years. Her expertise covers a broad range of fields including resource accounting, strategic sustainable development, resource management, urban design and environmental sciences. Among other things Ella is a Councillor on the Queenstown Lakes District Council, she teaches Sustainable Enterprise on the Otago MBA and Chairs Wanaka‘s community development project.

+ The Role of Urban Stormwater/Rainwater Harvest to Protect Receiving Environments: 25 August

In recent years our understanding of the impacts of urban development on receiving environments has driven change in both policy and investment in stormwater management. This is typically reflected in solutions to remove contaminants through treatment of runoff prior to discharge to the reticulated network or environment. The inclusion of retention (through exfiltration) and/or detention is increasingly included in an attempt to address the impacts of modified hydrology. The use of stormwater harvesting as an effective and efficient means of protecting and enhancing urban streams is however not often seen in New Zealand.

Internationally, the benefits of stormwater/rainwater harvesting are well understood as a means of reducing degradation of urban streams through the productive use of stormwater or the ‘urban excess’. The design of stormwater harvesting systems can respond to specific hydrological templates and deliver a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits. A change in mind-set around the drivers for stormwater harvesting and understanding about the important role it plays in environmental protection is needed.

Dr Peter Breen is an ecologist from Melbourne who led the early research on urban waterways in the
1990’s and went on to design and deliver a wide range of Pete Breenstormwater harvest and treatment projects  across Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Peter is now a project leader for the Australian Co-operative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities  with a focus on Planning, Design and Management to Protect and Restore Receiving Waters. With over $100 million in research funding guiding many billions in private and public investment the work of the CRC has potential to shape our understanding of urban water management and drive change in the way we integrate stormwater with non-potable water supply.

+ Cohousing – an exploration of people-led housing development in New Zealand: 13 October

We are facing unprecedented levels of depression, debt and ecological destruction. 

How we house ourselves contributes significantly to our social, economic and ecological challenges. However these challenges are also a great opportunity to do things differently in terms of our housing and create integrated solutions. Enabling these innovative responses requires us to understand and challenge how our current systems get in the way and create new pathways that support a diversification of kate-lowewhat ‘home’ in NZ can look like in the future. 

Join Kate Otter-Lowe as she talks about her family’s journey realising that two salaries won’t pay for a house in Auckland to the creation of the People Led Housing initiative that is working towards Affordable, Low Impact and Community oriented housing. 

+ Smart Cities – How Can Data Improve Processes and Reduce Consumption: 20 Oct

This webinar is intended to provide inroads into the world of Internet of Things (IoT) and how it can help drive processes for sustainability.

IoT gives all the material “things” in our world a voice, thereby enabling us to track them, know if they need servicing or recharging, and enabling processes to be done much more efficiently, wasting less energy, and reducing consumption and material waste. Environmental sensing enabled by IoT will also allow us to use natural resources less harmfully, and help understand and conserve natural habitats more effectively.

The webinar will provide an overview of how IoT works with real examples of how it has been applied. We will also discuss how IoT can work more efficiently using green energy such as energy harvesting and solar energy.

The floor will be opened for discussion with participants as to how this may be applied in their contexts.

Anat Efron

Anat Efron is an experienced professional in wireless and IoT with over 16 years of activity across Israel, Europe and ANZ. She joined Thinxtra (www.thinxtra.con) in their mission to democratise IoT connectivity in ANZ. As Technical Sales and Ecosystem Manager, her role is to help great business eventuate through creating strong partnerships and to facilitate the integration of SIGFOX technology across the entire ecosystem. More about Anat here –

+ New Tools for Enhancing Community Engagement in Change Projects: 27 Oct

Engineers, architects, urban and landscape designers, and planners all go home from work to take up their role as members of the community, so why does genuine community engagement on projects that impact our neighbourhoods, communities and environment so often come across as a box ticking or ‘soft’ exercise that has little influence on decision making and outcomes for people?

The rise of internet enabled communication technologies has given the public a new platform on which they can voice their opinion on the work we do within industry, and the decisions that are made by local representatives and elected officials. It is important that modern approaches to community engagement find ways of incorporating and seeking out these conversations to ensure that the built and natural environment we are tasked with developing, maintaining and improving meet the priorities and preferences of our communities.

Local and central government clients are increasingly placing importance on high quality community engagement as a must-do for infrastructure and planning changes, both large and small. Opus’ planners are increasingly working with social science researchers to provide new methods of engagements, that are facilitated by innovative technologies that make engagement a participatory process. This approach is not novel to Opus, internationally many cities are asking their citizens to build their future spaces and places from the ground up, and in New Zealand many local and private organisations are striving to be more open and transparent in their approach to community engagement.


Chris Bowie is a researcher specialising in transport, resilience, community wellbeing and urban environments at Opus Research, Opus International Consultants Ltd. He will speak to the ongoing work his group are collaborating on for community engagement around New Zealand, and reflect on the benefits such an approach has for decision making, best practice development and ultimately the prosperity of our towns, communities and preservation of our cultural heritage and natural environments.

+ Water Sensitive Urban Design – Learnings from Scott Point Hobsonville: 3 Nov

Scott Point Hobsonville is a key development location in Auckland with a plan to build 3000 new homes in a coastal location on 150 hectares.

Harrison Grierson worked with the 38 owners of this area to develop a master plan that will create sustainable development which offers exceptional amenity and enhances the environment.

Water Sensitive Urban Design was integrated strongly into this project following new rules and guidance under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. We will hear from Mike Chapman, team leader for Water Resources at Harrison Grierson, who led this work. Mike will share his insights, challenges and learnings from this process from master planning through to recent construction in one of the leading development areas of Auckland and what role WSUD plays in the enhancement of Auckland moving forward.

+ Transition Engineering: Can we change the future?: 11 Nov

The field of Transition Engineering is presents an approach to so-called “wicked problems”. Wicked problems have known solutions but the solution is also the problem. The biggest wicked problem is climate change. The solution is known – leave 4/5 of economically recoverable fossil fuel in the ground. But as far as we know, cutting off 80% of fossil fuel supplies would collapse the world economy.

Congestion in cities is another wicked problem. More roads are needed to carry more traffic, but more roads attract more traffic and cause more congestion. Wicked problems seem to present no solutions, and no options other than to carry on with business as usual and deal with consequences later. The Transition Engineering approach includes an innovation phase which uses the opportunity of wicked problems to provide the “no known solution space” that is actually needed for innovation.

It is a fine line between understanding the gravity of the consequences of the problem, and using that to fertilise creativity. The key to the approach is a “leap ahead” or “path-break” process where we use a few key facts to go forward in time 100 years and discover the future. Society is counting on engineers to provide technology solutions. Transition Engineering provides shift projects that unravel wicked problems by discovering the opportunities available through change.

Susan Krumdieck, Mechanical Engineering.

Presenter Professor Susan Krumdieck has been at Canterbury University since 2000. Her research focuses on developing the engineering methods and innovative technologies for adaptation to reduced fossil fuel production and consumption. She is an expert in developing new ideas for dealing with oil supply issues in transportation systems and urban planning. She is the leader of a group of engineering professionals and academics working to establish the Global Association for Transition Engineering (GATE).

Brought to you in partnership with Engineers for Social Responsibility

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