What is the Hub?

The Practitioners’ Hub is a collaborative initiative that connects organisations and individuals with a shared objective – to provide New Zealanders with high quality independent advice to enable them to improve the performance of their homes and their quality of life.


The purpose of the Hub is to build a community of practice among home performance practitioners – to foster peer learning, synthesise best practice, and produce high quality practical tools to support advisors in their practice.

We believe that strong links between different types of practitioners (advisors, researchers, policy makers and others) allows for information sharing and learning that will strengthen all of our work.

Who is a Practitioner?

A practitioner is someone who through their professional practice is involved in providing, promoting, supporting, or researching the basis of independent, expert, advice to New Zealanders as a mechanism to enable improved performance of their homes and a better quality of life.


We’re currently working on a mechanism to expand membership whilst preserving the high level of trust and integrity between practitioners. It is proposed that membership will open to individuals who can demonstrate they are a ‘practitioner’ (as defined above), subscribe to the Hub’s core principles (below) and reflect these in the intent and delivery of their professional practice.

Hub Core Principles

  • Advice should be independent and in the best interests of the client (i.e. not provided primarily as a sales technique),
  • Advice should be accessible for all, and
  • Advice should be based on good science and best practice.

We will also develop a code of practice for members and give further consideration to fee options.

Hub Pilot

Between December 2012 and July 2013 Community Energy Network (CEN) in partnership with Beacon Pathway and The Enviroschools Foundation hosted a pilot to test an online Hub. Through the pilot we built this member-only website which includes a Best Practice Library and discussion forums. During the pilot we also published blogs and tested various ways to encourage engagement and information sharing, as well as peer review of site content.

The pilot involved 49 people from 23 organisations and was made possible by the support received from the following organisations, and the generosity and good will of all the participants.

  • Beacon Pathway,
  • BRANZ,
  • Community Energy Network,
  • EECA,
  • Enspiral,
  • Godfrey Hall,
  • The Enviroschools Foundation, and
  • The Working Together More Fund

What we learned

At the start of the pilot it wasn’t clear exactly what the Hub should do or even exactly what its purpose was. However the (fairly large) group that seeded the idea had a strong sense of the need for greater connection among practitioners, and more opportunities for sharing information and best practice, and training.

Through the pilot we learned a lot and you can read the full report here. The key things that we take away from it are:

  • The greatest potential benefit from the collaboration in the near-term appears to be synthesizing our collective knowledge into practical resources that will benefit Hub members (i.e. training, topic-specific decision-making guides).
  • The website has huge potential as a knowledge store and provides useful tools for practitioners to communicate with each other. These are things we’ll continue to develop and strengthen.
  • Participants valued the high level of trust created by the private (i.e. member only) nature of the site (although some people are concerned we aren’t getting information out widely enough),
  • Most people are happy to share technical information through the forums and the site is well-suited to this. But the site wasn’t well suited to holding discussions about collaboration or for collective decision-making. We’ll find other ways to do this in future.
  • Some people aren’t used to communicating online and some people are plain uncomfortable doing so. A range of technical and practical barriers also exist to people using the site more.

What next

Following a workshop in Wellington in June and the evaluation of the pilot it’s clear there is still interest in the project plus a desire for it to continue and be developed. CEN, Beacon and The Enviroschools Foundation will work in a steering group-type role to try to make this happen.

For the next few months (budget permitting) we’ll be focussing on:

  • Securing ongoing funding
  • Minor tweaks and improvements to the site
  • Refining and developing the Best Practice Library
  • Encouraging new members
  • Supporting the design and delivery of the CEN-led home performance advisor training and certification
  • Identifying and developing other high priority resources, and
  • Supporting connection and collaboration between practitioners.