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In pictures: Australia's first carbon neutral building

Pixel achieves a perfect 6 Star Green Star score of 105 points

  • The first carbon neutral office building in Australia, Pixel has achieved a perfect 6 Star Green Star score of 105 points, making it the highest possible and highest ever awarded rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

    The building services consultants and sustainability experts, Umow Lai, worked closely with developer, Grocon, to implement many of the innovative elements that guided the design. The firm has now been engaged for the fit-out of the offices, also aiming to achieve a 6 Star Office Interiors rating, in addition to the As Built, LEED and BREEAM ratings that Umow Lai is already undertaking.

  • The green roof is a research partnership initiative in conjunction with The University of Melbourne. The living edges also add to Pixel’s green credentials and form a significant part of the building’s water cycle, utilising and naturally evapotranspirating the grey water harvested from the building.

  • Cooling and heating comes from a single ammonia absorption heat pump/chiller and an air cooled condenser, located on the roof level. Cooling is delivered to the air handling unit and also to the active mass cooling circuits embedded within the lower layer of the exposed concrete slabs, providing silent radiant cooling to the space below.

    Designed to be water-balanced, Pixel could, if required, be disconnected from the mains supply and be self-sufficient for amenities. Rainwater supply is used for all building water uses apart from drinking taps.

    Innovative water technologies include low flow fixtures, grey water living edges and vacuum waste toilets, which dramatically reduce water consumption and also discharge to sewer. Waste from the vacuum toilets is also sent to an anaerobic digester where methane is generated to heat domestic hot water for the showers.

  • Office space is divided over four levels with a side core and a lift within the fire stair. Large areas of double glazing are installed on three facades, protected by an extensive screen of external shade panels that block solar heat and glare while allowing natural light to penetrate across the floor plan. Efficient lighting systems work with daylight and occupancy patterns to reduce energy use.

    Air is delivered by way of an under-floor air distribution system, providing individual occupant control savings, in combination with 100 per cent outside air constantly circulating throughout the building at rates 150% above code requirements.

  • The roof houses a renewable energy system consisting of fixed and tracking solar PV arrays. Tracking systems are used to track the optimal point in the sky and will increase power output by up to 40 per cent on average. The fixed PV system uses the same panels as the tracking systems. Data from both PV systems will be used to validate their applications.

    All the building’s PV panels are reclaimed from previous applications.

  • The Pixel building uses low carbon concrete – dubbed Pixelcrete - which uses re-used, recycled and sustainably sourced materials.

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