Pixel building - photo: Arne B. Fredriksen, Jets™

The futuristic Australian Pixel building uses Jets™

(Tuesday, December 14, 2010)

Pixel is an out-of-the-ordinary office building located in Melbourne, Australia. It is safe to say the building looks futuristic, but in fact it is futuristic as well - designed for minimal environmental impact and sustainable use of resources. With that in mind, a Jets™ sanitary system became the obvious choice.

Prototype full of leading solutions

The Pixel building was planned by Australian company Grocon. The company needed a building to show and test environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions, as a prototype for other buildings. Grocon put together a group to find the best solutions the market had to offer for such a building, and discovered Jets™.

Small, but important delivery

Pixel only has 9 toilets and a vacuum pump, a comparatively small Jets™ customer. But the importance of supplying a system to this building is far greater than the numbers indicate. With water use measuring just 1 liter per toilet flush, combined with the pump's low energy consumption, the Jets™ system was nearly ideal for the Pixel building's needs. In just a few months, Pixel has become a world-leading showcase for sustainable technology and solutions, and has received attention from around the world.

U.S. Secretary of State visits Pixel

On November 7th this year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Pixel, and was impressed by what she saw. Clinton said that the U.S. State Department would want to send their experts to have a closer look, since the U.S. is committed to building environmentally sustainable embassies.


 

Living roof

 

Most buildings make little use of their roof space, but Pixel's designers have thought outside the box.

As shown in the picture to the right, grass and other plants are starting to grow on the roof.

Rainwater is also collected here, before being treated and used throughout the building.

 
 

Green roof and independent water supply

The Pixel building's roof is partly covered by a garden with grass and other plants, irrigated by rain water. This rooftop garden also insulates the floor below. But the rainwater is not just used for irrigation - it is also treated to potable water quality and used in showers and basins throughout the building. After use, the water is treated again in a series of filters - one of which uses plants that consume nutrients from the water.

Keeps the heat out, lets light in

The colorful panels that give the building its characteristic look, are made from 900m2 of used (and now re-used) aluminum panels. Each individual panel has been carefully positioned to keep heat from the sun out, while still letting light in. The result is that Pixel has plenty of daylight indoors, but doesn't use more energy than necessary to cool the building.

Energy surplus

Pixel produces its own energy, using both wind turbines and solar/photovoltaic panels. Some of the solar panels move with the sun through the seasons to fully exploit the solar energy's potential. The building in fact produces more power than it uses, enabling it to supply renewable energy to the power grid.

Advanced cooling

Like many other modern buildings, Pixel is primarily built from concrete - but Pixel uses slabs of special concrete that is partly recycled, with integrated cooling pipes in the slabs. Taking advantage of the stable temperature of that concrete, water pumped through the slabs cools the building efficiently. At night when outside temperatures drop, motors open some of the windows to let cooler air in.

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