Steve Woolcock and Joost Bakker met by accident on their daughter’s school excursion. The Director of Technical Protection Systems and the poster boy for zero-waste living (as Joost was dubbed by the New York Times) hit it off right away, and what started as a chance encounter on a school bus became a long-lasting relationship between two visionaries that resulted in some of the best examples of sustainable architecture in Australia.
Federation Square Greenhouse is the latest product of that partnership - and due to its sustainability credentials, it is considered by many to be a blueprint of the household of the future.
The 87-metre dwelling in the middle of the busy Melbourne square has been designed to be a self-sufficient combination of a home and an urban farm where inhabitants can find shelter but also grow, cook and eat their own food. In line with the zero-waste premise of the project, its sustainability profile is outstanding. Solar power operated, the building utilizes recycled rubber, wheat and rice-straw fibres and even timber from an old tree struck by lightning. It comes as no surprise that Federation Square Greenhouse needed a range of fittings with an embedded environmental responsibility to match its zero-waste objective.
Forster Unico, a thermally broken steel framing system from TPS designed with energy efficiency in mind, was an obvious choice. While high-performance windows are often impossible to recycle because they’re mixed-materials products that contain non-recyclable materials like plastic or fibreglass, the Unico system is made entirely with steel and contains no additional materials. That means that at the end of its life, a window - instead of landing in landfill - can be fully recycled.
The fact that the Unico system doesn’t contain any other materials apart from steel has another benefit. Lack of foreign materials that could give off the gas at high temperatures - in a fire, for example - elevates the safety profile of the building which is a crucial component to consider when designing for Australian climate - and when designing with global warming in mind.
Not only will the framing system help keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter, with inclusion of the appropriate glass the Forster Unico system can be upgraded for bushfire resistance to the maximum level of ‘Flame Zone’.
With excellent thermal insulation and energy efficiencies, an entirely self-sufficient sustainability profile and zero-waste philosophy permeating all aspects of the dwelling, it comes as no surprise that Federation Square Greenhouse is considered a sustainable model home of the future. And it comes as no surprise that Forster’s thermally broken steel framing system from TPS was specified for this visionary project. With its focus on energy efficiency, heat resistance qualities and future-forward zero waste profile perfectly matching the requirements of the Greenhouse, it’s safe to say the Unico is also the model framing system for the future.