Jets reference CON melbournes self sustained pixel building melbourne mag

Melbourne's self-sustained Pixel building

Buildings and Green buildings

The groundbreaking Pixel office building in Melbourne, Australia, proves that a viable, sustainable future is within reach.

Published on 2019-07-02
Project highlights
  • Type of project: Self-sustained office building
  • Challenge: The building aimed to be water neutral
  • Jets solution: By reducing the water consumption for the toilets by up to 90%, the building is able to exclusively use water harvested on site.

Designed from the ground up to be completely self-sustained, the Pixel 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 to build a better future.

By combining solar and wind power, the building produces more electricity than it uses. Rain water is collected and purified. Even the need for cooling has been reduced, by using the building’s characteristic coloured panels to keep solar heat out.

But in order to achieve the sought-after perfect score of 100 points on the Australian Green Star environmental rating system for buildings, this was not enough.

The architects soon realized they also needed to reduce the large amounts of water commonly used to flush toilets. After scouring the world for a reliable, water-saving toilet solution, the architects found what they needed more than 10,000 miles away - in the heart of Norway’s maritime community.

“We knew right away that we had the solution. Our vacuum toilet systems use less than 1 liter of water per flush, or about ¼ gallon, and reduce water consumption by 80-90% compared to normal toilets. With a client list ranging from small homes to cruise ships, we were able to demonstrate a track record of unsurpassed reliability to the building’s designers”
CEO at the time, Jan Tore Leikanger of Jets Vacuum AS

Jets reference CON melbournes self sustained pixel waterharvesting studio505architects
The Pixel building in Melbourne is water neutral, harvesting and treating rainwater, making it independent of mains water supply.

Future ready

Global growth is rapidly increasing the demand for energy and safe water supplies around the world, and Leikanger believes that vacuum toilet systems may hold the key to some of the challenges that lie ahead.

“Vacuum toilets are very common on ships, and have been so for decades. And while the maritime customers are still our bread and butter, there is an awakening in countries world-wide now. People realize that safe water is in limited supply onshore too. New ways are needed to reduce water and energy consumption, and our products do just that – day in and day out” Leikanger points out.

The Pixel building shows us what the future holds. Although originally developed for use at sea, buildings throughout the world now use vacuum toilets. From the warmth of Australia to the freezing Antarctic, more than 16,000 Jets systems save enormous amounts of water every single day.