This sustainable apartment, made of waste glass, textiles and green ceramics, has never been seen before. This recent exhibition apartment shows how we can build our houses more sustainably using some of the recycling techniques, developed by the UNSW SmaRt Centre at the University in Sydney and its partner Mirvac.
It is estimated that every year around 11 billion tonnes of waste is dumped worldwide. 92 billion tonnes of materials are extracted, with buildings accounting for about 50 per cent of the materials used worldwide,’ said Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz. This new exhibition apartment should show everyone how things can be done differently, in a much more sustainable way. At the unveiling of the revolutionary Pavilions apartment, located in Sydney's Olympic Park, attended by NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean, industry leaders were given a glimpse of the future. The apartment made from waste materials will undoubtedly revolutionise housing. This in terms of flooring, wall tiles, kitchen and lighting elements, furniture and artwork made from waste glass and textiles.
The pioneering green ceramic.
The pioneering green ceramic was first used here as a building material and is 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. The very stylish and functional furniture and lighting fixtures of the display apartments were all made of this green ceramic. Combining two disparate waste sources - glass and textiles - it creates an entirely new product that sets the technology apart from other recycled products that are usually turned back into themselves. Think of glass being recycled to make glass, or PET plastic to make plastic. Furthermore, the floor tiles used in the apartment have been tested for slip resistance, fire resistance and acoustic properties. They have a terrazzo look that can be controlled to some extent. The material is variable, so it has its own grain and character, just like a piece of wood or natural stone. The character, grain or story is embedded in the green ceramic product. Recycling waste takes energy, but all materials have a certain amount of energy in them which, combined with transport, often makes up the majority of the impact of objects. When transport and the production of new materials are eliminated, large amounts of energy are saved. A key element of MICROfactory technologies is that they are designed to work locally, collecting waste and producing it at source rather than large-scale mass production.
Images courtesy of Mirvac