Passive Design and Bio-mimicry

Until about a year ago one topic that I was not aware of was that of bio-mimicry, and now that I have heard about it, read papers about it, and seen dozens of examples of how it is being used today, I am at a point that when I talk to other people about it I get startled when I realize that I have to explain what bio-mimicry is. This is surprising because bio-mimicry is such a breakthrough in technologies and in the way that people think about efficiency that it seems odd that it is not a more well know topic.

Another thing that surprises me is that even though bio-mimicry is gaining momentum, for the amount of money and energy buildings can save by using these types of techniques there aren’t many buildings that are jumping at the chance. For instance the Eastgate Centre in Zimbabwe uses passive cooling based off of termite mounds that draws cooler air from the ground then uses a series of vents to circulate the air throughout the building and then release the warmed air through chimneys. By doing this the Eastgate Centre is able to maintain a constant temperature year round without relying on any other heating or cooling systems. According to Inhabitat by doing this Eastgate Centre uses about 10% of the energy a typical building of its size would use.

With using only 10% of the expected energy for a building I am surprised that we have not seen more examples of this heating and cooling systems within other buildings today, especially when the rewards are so high.



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