A Framework for Finding Inspiration in Nature


Biomimetic Energy-Efficient Building Design

Given the importance of energy efficient buildings in reducing global building energy consumption, the aim of this research was to investigate the practical usefulness of a framework developed for designing bio-inspired energy efficient office buildings.

This research investigates the impact of the ThBA in improving the thermal performance of two case study office buildings in New Zealand through looking for innovative biomimetic design. The results showed that the simplest ways of translating biological thermoregulatory strategies (BTS) have been already used by architects.

However, it worth mentioning that, for most of the architectural equivalents, the biological solutions represent at best a simple translation of the intricate natural application of their heat transfer principle. This means despite the simple translation of the majority of these solutions being used in architectural design, the sophistication and internal hierarchical connections of almost all physiological strategies remained unexplored.

In addition to recognised parallels in sustainable building design, any other translations of BTS will require an energy balance calculation to ensure the innovative thermoregulatory system is energy efficient. The ThBA also suggested innovative solutions that cannot be realised given the current state of technology but offer opportunities for further research.

The main barrier to their exploration is that the technology falls short when compared to the hierarchically organised, dynamic, and multiscale operational characteristics of living things (cells, tissue, organs). Naming these ‘obstacles’ could also outline the areas of future exploration.

Energy and Buildings, Volume 225, 15 October 2020, 110296: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.110296