A collaborative project provides insight into how the circular economy could transform the way we build homes
Spotted: On March 13th, Mirvac’s Pavilions development unveiled a two-bedroom unit in Sydney’s Olympic Park made using waste materials. Black beanies, coffee bean bags and discarded glass are all transformed with MICROfactorie technology into “green ceramics”.
The green ceramics, never employed as a construction material before, are used throughout the apartment for everything from floor tiles and the kitchen splashback, to the dining table, light features and artwork.
The ceramics are the result of a collaboration that began in 2019 between Mirvac and the UNSW Centre of Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT), led by UNSW Professor Veena Sahajwalla, a global pioneer in waste technology.
Months of testing were required to perfect the aesthetics and performance of the product. The material complies with the Building Code of Australia and passes tests for slip and fire resistance and acoustics. It also meets Mirvac design standards, proving its ability to stand up to normal household wear and tear and inevitable kitchen spills.
In 2019, Mirvac and the SMaRT Centre offered a first glimpse of the potential for green ceramics with the unveiling of the furniture and artworks at Marrick & Co, the first One Planet Living residential community in New South Wales.
The next stage in the SMaRT Centre collaboration is to investigate opportunities to establish MICROfactories to enable local sourcing and manufacture of waste into green ceramics. These factories are designed to operate on a local scale, collecting waste and manufacturing at the source — with the first facility opening in Cootamundra.
“What this allows us to do is minimise the cost of transport, decentralise these facilities, have manufacturing happening [locally] and converting waste into value add products,” says a global pioneer in waste technology, professor Veena Sahajwalla of the SMaRT Centre. “It’s not just good for our environment but it’s also good for our economy.”
Written By: Katrina Lane