Sustainable design requires constant evolution and refinement of practice and innovation is integral to the quest for a more sustainable environment. In the Innovation section of the 2021 Sustainability Awards, there are two categories that explore the breadth of creativity, the Green Building Material and Smart Building Ideas Awards.

This year there was an outstanding shortlist that both challenge old processes and creates new materials to help find a new more sustainable alternative when designing and building a project.

In the Green Building Material category sponsored by Big Ass Fans, the winning entrant was ECOPact and ECOPact Zero by Holcim (Australia) Pty Ltd.

This outstanding material was launched in April this year and is already set to change the nature and idea of cement in the future.

ECOPact is a lower carbon concrete developed by Holcim Australia. With ECOPact, the carbon intensity can be reduced by 30 to 60 per cent by replacing the standard cement with alternative materials. These include industrial by-products such as fly ash, blast furnace slag or silica fume. ECOPact provides designers and contractors with easy solutions to achieve lower embodied carbon outcomes in their projects.

In an Australian first, there is also the opportunity to offset any remaining embodied carbon from ECOPact concrete. Known as ECOPactZERO, this means the concrete component of a project can be carbon neutral.

Jury Member, Suzanne Toumbourou says, “The category winner for Green Building Materials show us how to literally pave the way for a sustainable, circular economy. Not only does ECOPact replace virgin with recovered materials; they also provide the opportunity to offset any remaining embodied carbon through ECOPact Zero. Cement is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and this company delivers a win for resource efficiency and the climate!”

Highly Commended in the category were, Compostable Insulation – Mycelium Biomaterials in Architecture by Mycoeden and SMaRT apartment at Pavilions Residences by Mirvac Design (Green Ceramics by Professor Veena Sahajwalla, UNSW).

ECOPact and ECOPactZERO by Holcim (Australia) Pty Ltd was also the recipient of the Best of the Best Award sponsored by Alspec.

As technology develops, smart buildings become ever-more important, and this year the winner of the Smart Building Ideas category sponsored by ASP Access Floors was Urban Green Home Build by Sustainable Building & Design Pty Ltd.

Meron Tierney, Jury Member, comments, “The Smart Building Ideas category demonstrates how the incorporation of technology and environmentally conscious design go hand in hand. The award does not necessarily go to the most futuristic automated design but to the project that has implemented smart systems to improve performance and overall sustainability. Urban Green Home Build, the winner of this year’s award was chosen for the innovative way that every aspect of the design was interrogated to improve performance and energy use.”

Urban Green Home Build is a project that sits within a community of homes with a mandate to be light-filled, comfortable and with a small carbon footprint. This home, situated at the rear of the overall property was required to meet this communal brief, and contracted Sustainable Building & Design to create a home that would respect its landscape, minimise resource consumption in occupation, use sustainable building materials, offer low maintenance living and consider landscaping and the garden as part of the overall vision.

To attain such a sustainable vision, where possible, the home was constructed using recycled materials, with structural timber, floorboards and roofing from the original home. New materials were selected to actively make sustainable choices: locally fabricated timbercrete blocks replaced bricks; envirocrete took the place of traditional concrete; natural and organic oils and finishes were used across timber and concrete where required; high performance, double-glazed windows were installed: and an 8kw solar system and battery storage work with a smart module and edge inverter to keep the home powered. In an Australian first, all tools on site were powered with an off-grid power system.

The jury awarded a Highly Commended accolade to Smart Design Studio for Smart Design Studio.

The winners of the Green Building Material and Smart Building Ideas categories are proof perfect that industry is exploring better ways to contribute to sustainable practice and help care for our environment, and the 2021 Sustainability Awards is proud to showcase these initiatives.

Images: Supplied

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