• Andy Bradley

ZERO-G - Shifting the off grid paradigm

image courtesy of Maxa Design

At XBÜRO we are constantly looking for opportunities to create better buildings. A key part of our approach is being able to implement appropriate sustainable technologies into our projects. Deciding which ideas are appropriate and convincing others comes easier when the architect and client are engaging with an aligned sustainability agenda. XBÜRO have recently been sought out by National Building Design Award winners Maxa Design to participate in an exemplar building. This project will be a showcase for a number of emerging sustainable technologies, and a few Australian firsts.

Perched ostentatiously against rows of canal front homes at Queensland's Raby Bay is not where you might expect to find a leading sustainable home. It's certainly not the windswept rural context that is associated with a self-sufficient home that is entirely off the grid. Presenting as a modern luxury home, ZERO-G (zero energy residential off grid) has a brief that includes creating a showcase for sustainable design and technology. It will do so with a distinct shift form the paradigm.

One of Maxa's key approaches is to remove layers as a means of improving sustainable credentials. Prefabricated Insulated concrete panels serve as structure, cladding and internal finishes, avoiding construction noise, dust and waste, adhesives, extensive scaffolding and painting - and many future activities associated with maintenance and deconstruction. Concrete will meet the dual requirements of producing less than one kilogram of CO2 per cubic metre per megapascal (unit of strength), and using a binder composed of no less than 40% recycled or industrial by-product. Our design team has experience with geopolymer concrete which has been considered as one possible way of achieving this specification. The building is expected to be the first in Australia to use geopolymer insulated building panels.

Construction details were coordinated using XBÜRO's BIM modelling and assisted to ensure that details provided good

and tolerance with minimum thermal bridging. The BIM model was also used to produce a multi stage construction sequence for the building, allowing XBÜRO to establish a safe method of construction accounting for site constraints including stages where permanent suspended lightweight floors will be used to brace the insulated wall panels, to facilitate construction of a finish free concrete floor.

In addition to the expected sustainable technologies, ZERO-G achieves independence from the grid though grey water treatment and a mini desalination plant, modelled on naval technology, for water backup.

The building will include a suburban version of a natural (chemical free) swimming pool, complete with infinity edge overlooking the ocean.

Follow the discussion on zero carbon cement at the following link

Zero Carbon cement possible in 10 years.

The fifth estate have published an interesting article on leadership zero carbon cement in 10 years. XBÜRO are already streets ahead. See below to link to the article.