For all the projects that win at the Sustainability Awards, their success is built off the products and innovations that make them possible. From façade structures to automation systems, architects and designers rely on technical and product manufacturers to offer products and services that can better allow them to build and create sustainably.

After the 2021 awards that saw Holcim’s ECOPact and ECOPact Zero take out the Best of the Best Award, the stage was set for this year’s program to once again celebrate game-changing innovations. With the highest entry pool for products in the awards’ history, our 2022 Jury had a challenging task ahead of them.

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

The 2022 award for Green Building Material/Product – proudly partnered by ForestOne – was awarded to SR2, an innovative and experimental system which promises to shake up traditional air conditioning. Like last year’s winner, SR2 takes a carbon intensive product and offers a low emission alternative, something that taps into different facts of the decarbonisation story.

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 waste plastic. Identifying inefficiencies in existing technologies (which have largely seen no major update since air conditioning was first introduced in 1928), the project team have rethought the product’s function, but also ensured it is designed for flexibility and circularity.

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

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

Gabrielle’s Home, by BluKube Architecture. Image by Dallas Nock

Innovation in the residential space was put on show by Gabrielle’s Home, which took out the award for Smart Building Ideas. This award, proudly presented by Verosol, looks at innovation insitu, 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 home is a certified ‘classic’ passive house. The home was originally designed by the clients’ architect father, before BluKube Architecture were approached to turn it into a passive house. The client’s requested a bold exterior with a calm interior, somewhere where they could age gracefully and find peace and quiet in a low emitting house.

Gabrielle’s Home, by BluKube Architecture. Image by Dallas Nock

Set in a sub-tropical location with an unusual site footprint and a stormwater bio-retention cell in a flood zone that could not be built over or altered, achieving a passive house is a major achievement. It is the first residential building in the country to be fully built with structural OSB-3 covered with an adhesive water-resistant air tight barrier, followed by continuous wood fiber insulation. The project team worked with the clients to explain passive house principals and ways to optimise home usage, as well as providing them with other avenues to decrease their carbon output, including an EV-ready two car garage. 

The 2022 Sustainability Awards, and the Sustainability Summit (held immediately before the Awards at the 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 entries opening in the coming months.

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