Once created, each product needed to undergo rigorous testing, such as acoustic, fire and resistance tests, all required to meet Australian building codes and standards for interior solutions. They also underwent testing protocols by a third-party to ensure they met Mirvac’s quality assurance. As a result of coloured textiles used in production, the finished product is available in a spectrum of colours and tones. Remarkably, combining the materials used to make the Green Ceramics gives the product a variation and natural character you would expect to get from stone or wood.
‘To manage the colour consistency for large orders and bulk builds, we control the input textiles into the mix. Then we get these naturalistic ranges of colour tones; you can produce very light to very dark products or anything in between. The process allows the materials to blend together in an alluring form.’
For the SMaRT Centre team, installing their Green Ceramics in the Pavilions Residences by Mirvac apartments at Sydney Olympic Park was a surreal experience, seeing their efforts manifested. ‘I got goosebumps seeing the space for the first time. Walking in somewhere and seeing something you’ve created in a fully functional living space; knowing it’s going to impact the future of our planet, as well as people in their day-to-day life, is almost indescribable.’
The other innovation in this process is the development of the SMaRT Centre MICROfactorieTM, built to transform the waste materials into these new goods. An industrial site has also been set up in rural Cootamundra, allowing the team to ramp up future production, processing large volumes of waste materials to produce larger quantities for bigger building projects. ‘From our point of view, our ability to have this commercially operating MICROfactorie will set ourselves up to deliver industrial-scale quantities.’
These MICROfactories could change how we manufacture goods and de-centralise the waste management process, allowing communities to manage their own waste, recycling items into reusable goods. ‘We can create products that will deliver the right outcomes for people and our planet. That’s the real beauty of the MICROfactorie concept we’ve developed. It may even give us the skills and technology to help get to zero waste in this country.’
Not one to slow down her momentum, Veena is working on a multitude of exciting new projects and prototypes using MICROfactorie technologies. ‘Building and construction is the first major sector that has proven to have a market for what MICROfactories can manufacture. But, creating products for the housing sector and built environments is only the beginning. There are lots of different kinds of MICROfactories we’re in the process of developing, which is incredibly exciting for us.’