Otago Polytechnic

Creating Living Buildings


Online with a block course in Dunedin, Auckland or Christchurch

5 months part-time

Two-day block course with bi-weekly online webinars

(Dunedin) Mon 6 and Tues 7 Aug 2018; (Christchurch) Thur 9 and Fri 10 Aug 2018; (Auckland) Wed 22 and Thurs 23 Aug 2018
until start date
What if every act of design and construction made the world a better place?

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is the world’s most stringent green building tool, aiming to close the gap between current market reality and a built environment that sustains us and the planet. By painting a picture of a positive ‘built environment’’ the LBC helps guide professionals, clients and the public to solutions that will allow us to live on this planet sustainably.

This short course designed for clients and practising professionals consists of a two day block course covering the LBC as a series of goals and the Integrated Design process to help deliver them. The block course is followed by a webinar series that guides and supports participants as they apply their learning to projects.

The course targets a wide range of professionals, consultants, clients, Project Managers and Masters students to ensure that lively questions and debate stimulate learning. The course also includes external experts that broaden the content.

Key Presenter - Jerome Partington
(BA (Hons) Architecture, Diploma in Architecture NZGBC GSAP)
Jerome is one of NZ’s leading experts and practitioners in the field of sustainable and restorative design with many years’ experience developing process and solutions for a sustainable built environment. He is Chair of the Living Future Collaborative NZ, a Senior Advisor of Natural Step NZ and Sustainability Manager at Jasmax, NZ’s largest design company. He is an advocate for strategic sustainability as a compelling business opportunity – asking what does success look like and how can we achieve it.

Entry requirements
  • Open entry.
Selection procedure

There is a limited number of 20 participants per block course.

You will study

This course demonstrates the Living Building Challenge as a philosophy of benchmarking solutions against the effectiveness and beauty of nature whilst advocating for transformational change in the industry by targeting social equity, local materials, mega efficiency and non-toxic materials.

The twenty imperatives of the LBC define outcomes towards quadruple Net Zero solutions for energy, water, waste and toxicity. Multiple and varied case studies are used to demonstrate how these objectives have been achieved. Some students bring current projects to the course.

Integrated design ís a new model of procurement which is fundamentally more collaborative and transparent. The goal is reconciliation of the conflicting drivers (money, program, quality, environment) to deliver optimal solutions. Sustainability is not just an add on but integral to create whole of life value for the project. Done well, costs are controlled, fees are lower and early certainty of design delivers projects on time.

Indicative content

* Traditional and modern construction methods and materials
* Collaborative design processes and case studies
* Built environment codes and rating systems strengths and weaknesses
* International approaches to sustainable construction.

Learning outcomes

At the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
* Discuss present built environment practices and strategies for their level of sustainability
* Identify the drivers of change that are/will affect the built environment
* Analyse strengths and weaknesses of current built environment practices and strategies used to evaluate the level of sustainable performance and outcomes
* Discuss the current value case for using sustainable construction systems in a project
* Articulate the level of sustainable construction and performance technologies in a chosen project.


Evidence based assessment through a chosen case study.

Participant projects

Students applied their learning and enthusiasm to projects, such as a Net Zero Energy house in Christchurch, an education retreat in Glenorchy and a waterfront education centre which addressed all aspects of the LBC using salvage materials. Many projects simply raised their sights around energy, waste, water, materials and community outcomes.

Your workload

This programme involves one two-day block course in either Christchurch or Auckland. You will then participate in weekly online webinars linked by video conference. You should expect to undertake approximately 50 hours of directed study and 100 hours of self-directed study.

Further study options

A great kick start opportunity, this course contributes 15 credits towards our Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Practice.

Our partners

The course is endorsed by the NZGBC and by the ILFI (International Living Futures Institute) who developed the LBC.

The International Living Future Institute is a hub for visionary programmes. It administers the Living Building Challenge, the built environment's most rigorous and ambitious performance standard. It is the parent organisation for Cascadia Green Building Council, a chapter of both the United States and Canada Green Building Councils that serves Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. It is also home to DECLARE, a materials transparency program, and Ecotone Publishing, a unique publishing house dedicated to telling the story of the green building movement's pioneering thinkers and practitioners.

The Natural Step is a non-profit environmental education organisation working to build an ecologically- and economically-sustainable society. It delivers Otago Polytechnic's Centre for Sustainable Practice Adding Sustainable Value business programmes (Level 5).

The New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) is a not-for-profit, industry organisation dedicated to accelerating the development and adoption of market-based green building practices. The NZGBC was established in July 2005 and in 2006 became a member of the World Green Building Council (WGBC) - an international, not-for-profit organisation that aims to move the global property industry and built environment towards sustainability.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) supports this short course and has made a limited number of 50% bursaries available for small businesses and master students. Contact the organiser with your bursary request.

Our supporters
Links to useful websites

Living Building Challenge

Reading lists and background material available on request.

NZRAB CPD Points are available for Architects.

Student loans and allowances

You are not eligible for a student loan or allowance whilst studying this short course.

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

For further information

Please email steve.henry@op.ac.nz or phone 0800 765 9276.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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