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

The sustainable Pixel building searched for the best and found Jets™

The extraordinary Pixel building is designed for minimal environmental impact and sustainable use of resources. With that in mind, a Jets™ sanitary system became the obvious choice for the futuristic-looking project. Located on a former brewery site in Melbourne, Australia, this office building has attracted the likes of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on their hunt for green technology which can help build a better, more sustainable future.

Prototype full of leading solutions

The Pixel building was designed by studio505 and built by Australian developer 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. After just a few months, Pixel became a world-leading showcase for sustainable technology and solutions, and received global attention.

"In creating this pilot project,
we have sought to identify
best of type technology
from around the world"

Grocon CEO Daniel Grollo
speaking to the U.S. Secretary
of State and the Australian Prime
Minister

Carbon neutral

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.

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. Although connected to the public water supply, that connection was designed as a back-up only.

 

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.

The plants just behind the panels help filter the building's grey wastewater by removing nutrients from the water flowing through the filter system.

 
 

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.

 
Plants starting to grow on the Pixel building's roof shortly after its construction.

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