Meet your sustainability award winners: INNOVATION

For all the projects that win the Sustainability Awards, their success depends on the products and innovations that make them possible. From facade structures to automation systems, architects and designers rely on technical and product manufacturers to provide products and services that can better enable them to build and create sustainably.

Following the 2021 awards that saw Holcim’s ECOPact and ECOPact Zero win Best of the Best, the stage was set for this year’s program to once again celebrate game-changing innovations. With the highest pool of entries for products in the history of the awards, our 2022 judging panel had a tough task ahead of them.

SR2 – Systems Reef, by BVN and Sydney University of Technology. Image courtesy of the SR2 design team

The 2022 Green Building Material/Product Award – proudly associated by ForestOne – went to SR2, an innovative and experimental system that promises to shake up traditional air conditioning. Like last year’s winner, SR2 takes a carbon-intensive product and offers a low-emissions alternative, something that taps into different facts from the history of decarbonization.

Developed from a research collaboration between BVN and the University of Technology Sydney, SR2 is the world’s first 3D printed air distribution system and is made from recycled plastic waste. Identifying the inefficiencies of existing technologies (which have largely seen no major updates since the introduction of air conditioning in 1928), the project team redesigned the function of the product, but also ensured that be designed for flexibility and circularity.

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SR2 – Systems Reef, by BVN and Sydney University of Technology. Image courtesy of the SR2 design team

Comprised of 3D printed components and standardized connections, seals and fasteners, the SR2 allows for a simple click-and-connect approach to existing and new HVAC systems. Air is diffused through pores embedded in the linear component, improving human comfort by creating more even air coverage. SR2 is also 3D printed using recycled PET-G plastic, a lightweight circular material made from waste. The circular nature of PET-G allows components to be easily disassembled, crushed, re-extruded and fed back into the materials supply chain to create new products. Coupled with the use of plastic waste, the SR2 reduces embodied carbon by 90% compared to conventional steel ductwork and combines the functionality of ductwork and diffuser into one cohesive product.

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Gabrielle’s house, by BluKube Architecture. Picture of Dallas Nock

Innovation in residential space was highlighted by Gabrielle’s Home, which won the Smart Building Ideas award. This award, proudly presented by Verosol, is about in-situ innovation, where different components come together to produce a high-performance building that pushes the boundaries of conventional design.

Located in northern New South Wales, near the Richmond River in Ballina, Gabrielle’s house is a certified “classic” passive house. The house was originally designed by the clients’ architect father, before BluKube Architecture was approached to turn it into a passive house. The client requested a bold exterior with a calm interior, a place where he could age gracefully and find peace and quiet in a low-emission home.

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Gabrielle’s house, by BluKube Architecture. Picture of Dallas Nock

Located in a subtropical location with an unusual site footprint and a bio-retention stormwater cell in a flood zone that could not be built or altered, the realization of a Passive House is a major achievement. It is the first residential building in the country to be constructed entirely with structural OSB-3 covered with a water-resistant adhesive airtight barrier, followed by continuous wood fiber insulation. The project team worked with clients to explain passive house principles and ways to optimize home use, as well as provide them with other ways to reduce their carbon output, including a two-car garage ready for electric vehicles.

The 2022 Sustainability Awards and the Sustainability Summit (held just before the Awards at Shangri-La and online) were made possible thanks to the official event sponsors: Best of the Best and Carbon Neutral Partner Autex Acoustics, and category partners Big Ass Fans, BlueScope, Bondor, Electrolux, ForestOne, GH Commercial, Holcim, Kaolin, Network Architectural, Next Timber by Timberlink, Sika, Siniat, Stormtech, Verosol and Wood Solutions.

The awards will return for their 17th year in 2023, with registrations opening in the coming months.

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