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Breaking Down the Silos - What Does Sustainability Mean?

Provide insights as to how we might, as professionals, break down the silos and be part of the solution in providing beautiful, liveable, affordable, and culturally rich cities while improving environmental outcomes.

Overall, the panel discussion seeks to shed light on the various definitions of ‘sustainability’ held by different people in the housing supply chain. Discuss if the current focus of sustainable development on water sensitive design, energy efficiency and carbon sequestering is sufficient or if broader questions, including social impacts, aesthetic design and accessibility need to be considered within sustainable development.


Linda Norman

Linda Norman

I have 20 years of experience working within both the public and private sector. I immigrated to New Zealand from the United States in 2006 after 10 years working as an oceanographer and 6 years as an environmental engineer.

I spent my early career analysing 100 years of worldwide tidal data and shoreline change as part of a team assessing global sea level rise for NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Following this I spent 4 years with the United States Geological Survey Seafloor Mapping Group analysing shoreline change in response to sea level rise and the fate of large quantities of contaminates dumped off shore.

After 9 years of working with the United States government I moved to private sector environmental engineering. I have designed the hydraulic restoration of several thousand acres of nationally significant coastal wetlands. I went on to map aquifer contamination resulting from activities on several US Military Bases and large industrial complexes, designing remediation protocol of contaminated groundwater.

During my time at ACH Consulting I have used a multidisciplinary approach to engineering. I am proficient in the Auckland Council accepted modelling software HEC- HMS and HEC RAS and familiar with the requirements for resource consent and land development. I work extensively with both stormwater and wastewater engineering including flood reports, stormwater management plans, on-site effluent treatment and disposal systems. I enjoy low impact design, including wetlands flow through filters and rain-gardens. I generally work closely with landscape architects to complete native planting plans for my design work .

Darryl Mackenzie

Darryl Mackenzie

I have owned my own design, build and development business which operated with a focus on leading clients to more sustainable construction and living. I am currently Technical Manager for Signature Construction, who are one of New Zealand’s industry leaders in delivering built solutions in both government and NGO Social Housing arenas. Breaking down the silo walls between consultants is key to Signature Construction success.

Sue Ira

Susan Ira

Sue Ira is the founding Director of Koru Environmental Consultants Limited. She is an environmental scientist with a number of years’ experience working with the construction and development industry. Sue was recently part of the collaborative research group (with Landcare Research Manaaki Whenua, NIWA and Batstone Associates), funded by the National Science Challenge for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, to Activate WSUD in New Zealand. Sue’s areas of interest include better understanding life cycle costs and benefits of green infrastructure, WSUD implementation and policy development, and investigating alternative funding and incentive mechanisms.

Cath Heppelthwaite

Cath has over 25 years experience in the planning industry within both public and private sectors. In addition to consenting, Cath has significant experience in district, regional and unitary plan reviews. With this comes an acute understanding of the role these (sometimes policy heavy) documents and the parties who influence them, play in delivering (or not) desired outcomes. Getting the policy settings “right” will determine our ability to deliver on sustainable outcomes. The challenge will remain under the new resource management legislation (proposed Natural and Built Environment Act and Spatial Planning Act).