Sustainability on Show: Green Zone Drive & Pixel Building
Melbourne’s Green Zone Drive public event, from 1-8 October, offers a unique experience for Melburnians, allowing them to physically test and touch the cars and drive the Melbourne Green Zone circuit. Also in Melbourne, concrete is one of the ”bad guys” when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, so when Grocon set out to build its Pixel building in Melbourne as a sustainability landmark, the company had to find a solution.
Lord Mayor Cr Robert Doyle Launches World-First Low Emissions Vehicle Event
Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Cr Robert Doyle earlier this month launched the Melbourne Green Zone, a world first, low emission car event that will offer the public a chance to test-drive the cars that are the future of sustainable and clean motoring.
The Melbourne Green Zone Drive public event, which runs from 1st to 8th October, offers a unique experience for Melburnians, allowing them to physically test and touch the cars and drive the Melbourne Green Zone circuit. The event is supported by the RACV, Victorian Department of Transport, Future Climate Australia, and EPA Victoria.
The Melbourne Green Zone Drive website (www.greenzonedrive.com.au) was launched at Green Zone HQ in the Docklands and Lord Mayor Cr Robert Doyle said he was excited that Melbourne is again leading the way.
“I’m delighted to be a part of this initiative, and am proud that Melbourne is the first city in the world to hold an event such as this,” Cr Doyle said.
Cr Doyle also said that Melburnians lead the way when it comes to issues concerning the environment and that Green Zone is a perfect opportunity to experience the future of clean motoring.
“Melburnians are at the forefront of taking action against climate change and the Green Zone drive is something that will be embraced by all people in the community,” Cr Doyle said.
Christopher Zinn of Consumer Group Choice, who was also present at the launch hailed the Green Zone as the best new initiative in green motoring.
“Allowing the consumer to physically see and test the cars is a world leading idea and I applaud the Melbourne Green Zone for offering Victorians the chance to make sustainable choices,” Zinn said.
A wide variety of Australia’s lowest emitting vehicles will be available for the general public to sample; from the diesel-powered Volvo C30 DRIVe, to the Toyota Hybrid Camry, and the petrol powered Hyundai i20, including the zero-emission Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car. Vehicles from Audi, BMW, Citroen, Ford, and MINI will also be available to test drive.
The public event will run from 1st October to 8th October – anyone interested in booking a test drive, log on to the website.
Philip Hopkins in The Age Business Day (20 September 2010):
Concrete is one of the ”bad guys” when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, so when Grocon set out to build its Pixel building in Melbourne as a sustainability landmark, the company had to find a solution.
Concrete is a mix of cement and aggregate – coarse rocks, pebbles and fine sand – and production of a tonne of cement creates about a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. It’s probably the most energy intensive industrial manufacturing process in the world.
This is mainly due to cement’s ingredients – shale and clay, limestone and chalk – being burnt in a kiln to form clinker, which is then ground down into Portland cement. The chemical reaction arising from this heating process and the energy used to drive the kiln creates the carbon dioxide.
Howard Titus, technical manager of Grocon Constructors, knew he faced a big challenge when asked to work on Pixel. As the company’s concrete expert, he has been involved in many of Grocon’s big city projects of the past 20 years – 120 and 101 Collins Street, Eureka Tower, Park Hyatt, Crown Casino, AXA, Media House and the MCG, to mention a few.
Mr Titus identified the reclamation and re-use of concrete waste as a key way to cut emissions. Working with Boral Concrete, the Grocon team after 12 months of intense trials came up with ”Pixelcrete”, which uses 60 per cent less cement and 100 per cent recycled and reclaimed aggregate. Up to 92 per cent of the weight of a cubic metre of the concrete is industrial waste, recycled or reclaimed material.
”The emphasis was on recycling, but we also made concrete innovative. For the first time, we used plasticised concrete for suspended post-tension slabs,” Mr Titus told BusinessDay.
The process required strict quality control due to the high variability in the quality of recycled aggregate; the low cement content meant there was a high margin for failure in concrete strength; and care was taken on the ratio of water to cement. ”Too much water can be poison for concrete,” he said.
The concrete was pumped but took longer to settle. The result was a workability identical to standard concrete that satisfied official Australian standards, he said.
The mix achieved the three points required under the Green Building Council of Australia’s concrete credit scheme.
Pixelcrete was used for piles, groundworks and slabs, post-tensioned suspended slabs and columns in the $4 million Pixel building on the old CUB site at the northern edge of the CBD.
It achieved a six-green-star office design rating – the GBCA’s highest award rating – and aims to achieve similar ”green” ratings from the British and American schemes.
Pixel’s other sustainability measures include extensive use of rainwater, a green roof with wetland edges, double-glazed windows with external shade panels that block solar heat and glare, an under-floor air distribution system, wind turbines, and solar panels that track the optimal sun point in the sky.
There was a full report and interview on By Design on Radio National ABC last Saturday:
The Pixel building, as it is known, is the new Melbourne city headquarters for the developers Grocon – known for many of Australia’s major buildings. Eureka building on Melbourne’s Southbank is one of their most prominent. This is considered one of the tallest buildings in Australia. The Pixel building, though, is small, and an experiment in all things green. The building’s architects Studio 505 are one of Australia’s most innovative and thoughtful firms, with the co-founder Dylan Brady coming out of LAB Architecture, the firm that designed Melbourne’s Federation Square. For the full report go to the source.