University of Technology Sydney wins Australian Sustainability Award with world’s first 3D-printed air diffusion system

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SYDNEY, April 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Systems Reef 2 (SR2), a collaboration between UTS and BVN Architecture, reduces the carbon footprint of commercial buildings through energy-efficient design and materials.

A SR2 prototype is currently installed in the BVN Sydney office. Photo supplied.

UTS and BVN Architecture have won the Green Building Material/Product Award at the most recent Australian Sustainability Awards for their 3D-printed air diffusion system, designed to reduce the carbon footprint of commercial buildings.

Many buildings currently use traditional air distribution systems which have not seen significant innovations over the last one hundred years. These systems are not tailored to each space, and they cannot be reconfigured to adapt to the changing ways we work or live.

UTS and BVN found inspiration in nature as they redesigned air diffusion from the ground up. Eschewing traditional methods of design and manufacture, the team built a system that mimics the respiratory system of frogs; SR2 uses an aerodynamic design with fine pores to ‘mist’ cool air rather than dump it into one spot.

Informed by a circular economy approach, UTS and BVN chose recycled PETG plastic so that SR2 was fully recyclable at the end of its life.

“The building industry is one of the highest contributors to global waste, one of the biggest consumers of energy and materials and has some of the most significant contributions to CO2 emissions,” says Tim Schork, chief investigator and Adjunct Professor at the UTS School of Architecture.

UTS and BVN designed SR2 for the purpose of retrofitting existing building stock with outdated air distribution systems that use significant amounts of electricity.

“Compared to Australia, there are even more buildings globally whose air diffusion systems need to be renewed. It’d be great to see SR2 implemented in other parts of the world,” Tim says.

Now patented, SR2 is one step closer to market-readiness.

“SR2 can be installed in any office environment, but is not just for these spaces. It can be installed in supermarkets, hotels, commercial stores, and homes where there are many existing air duct systems that can be replaced,” Tim says.

The University of Technology Sydney is a leading university of technology, ranked 15th in the world and 2nd in Australia in the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. For more information, visit

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SOURCE University of Technology Sydney

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