Welcome to Sust, and thank you.

By 
Matt Fordham
 on 
August 2, 2019

It’s a big day for us. Until today, Sust was hidden behind a password - earlier this afternoon we opened it up to the world. We’re truly excited to share it, and appreciating the feedback that’s been coming in.

The idea for Sust emerged from the success of the Zero Energy House campaign years ago. I was invited by Shay and Jo - owners of the Zero Energy House, and personal friends - to help share their experience as they created the home. Years later, more than 100,000 people have engaged with the campaign. It's clear to us there is a growing community of people motivated to create sustainable buildings, and that they're looking for help to determine exactly what to aim for and how to get there.

We want to inspire people to reach for the highest possible standards of sustainability, then empower them to achieve it.

Sust serves these people. We want to inspire them to reach for the highest possible standards of sustainability, then empower them to achieve it.

In doing so, we’ll grow demand for services and products that help people achieve sustainability in buildings. I’ve previously owned a company providing such products and know first-hand how hard it is for innovative companies truly committed to sustainability to find their way through a crowded marketplace to find the customers that value what they offer. Sust will provide a pathway through that marketplace, for these companies and their customers to find one another.

A bunch of people have worked directly with us over the past year or so and we owe them our thanks for helping us get Sust to where it is today:

  • Alan Deare at AREA design for his work on the Sust identity, and for his deep thinking and guidance.
  • Adrien Castelain for the first version of the UX design.
  • Akriti Rana for guidance on the overall messaging strategy, and input into UX.
  • Paul Vincent (Dr Edit) for copy editing and guidance re content strategy.
  • Rosie Walford at The Big Stretch for coaching in many, many forms.
  • Hamish Muir at Mason & Wales for providing sector insight, and participating as one of our first featured professionals.

There’s another group of people without whom Sust would not exist - the pioneers breaking new ground in sustainability. It’s the energy and commitment of these people clearing a path for the rest of us that fills me with hope for a sustainable future. Sust celebrates their work, and aims to amplify their impact on the world.

  • Jo Woods and Shay Brazier of the Zero Energy House project. True pioneers who introduced Zero Energy to New Zealand - and introduced me to a new way of looking at the world. I’ve learned more working with Shay over the past five years than at any other point in my working life. Shay and Jo continue to be leaders in the sector, and we’re proud to include Jo as one of our first featured professionals. 
  • Debbi and Paul Brainerd, founders of Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat - a visitor accommodation site aiming for Zero Energy and with the potential to inspire thousands of guests each and every year. Camp Glenorchy is a remarkable gift to New Zealand, as is the knowledge Debbi and Paul encouraged to be developed by giving the design team the space to innovate and collaborate. That knowledge is already being used and shared on many other projects around the country.
  • Rochelle Ade and Joel Payne, owners of the Living House. As a demonstration project, the Living House seriously raises the bar for sustainable building - and Rochelle and Joel continue to offer so much of their time to education and advocacy efforts to help others.
  • Thom Gill and David Welch of the Cohaus project. Thom and David are part of a wider team creating Auckland’s first urban cohousing project, and who are committed to sharing their experience. We’re looking forward to starting the Cohaus campaign on Sust later this year.

I’ve been working with Maria on projects for years now, and in many ways Sust is an expression of collaboration and balance between the two of us and our very different perspectives, backgrounds, and skill sets. We’ve both committed so much to getting Sust to where it is today, and I’m looking forward to continuing the journey together from here on.

Sust has been bootstrapped to-date and, like any founder, I’ve relied on friends, family, and my community for support. My partner Kristen has provided unwavering support throughout Sust’s emergence, and my three wonderful kids fill the home with laughter at the end of a long day. They also provide grounding and perspective - the future we’re trying to create is for them and their friends.

Today marks a significant step forward for us, but in many ways just the first on a much longer journey.

Today marks a significant step forward for us, but in many ways just the first on a much longer journey. We’re in Public Beta, and will be working to iron out kinks and round out content before a full launch in November. Longer-term, we’ve got a ton of ideas for what Sust could be - and will be developing a roadmap for Sust over the coming months. But Sust exists to serve a community, and we are keen for that roadmap to meet its needs. Whether you’ve got feedback on what you find here today, or an idea for the future, we would love to hear from you.


Welcome to Sust,
Matt & Maria.