The Development of a Biomimetic Design Tool for Building Energy Efficiency
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Method Part 1: Literature Review
2.1.1. Thermal Physiology
2.1.2. Analysis and Results of Method Part 1
Active Methods of Thermal Adaptation in Organisms
Active Methods of Thermal Adaptation in Buildings
Passive Methods of Thermal Adaptation in Organisms
Passive Methods of Thermal Adaptation in Buildings
2.2. Method Part 2: Focus Group
2.2.1. Sample and Sizing
2.2.2. Questionnaire and the Three Parts of the ThBA
2.2.3. Analysis of Method Part 2
2.2.4. Development of Themes and Sub-Themes
- the participants understood the framework,
- they had evaluated the ThBA and;
- what the researcher had achieved in developing the framework was valid.
- Understanding the ThBA,
- Framework evaluation,
- Framework discussion, and
- Understanding the ThBA and framework evaluation
- Framework discussion and suggestions.
3.1. Visualisation of the Participant Contributions
3.2. Understanding the ThBA
- why the ThBA has been developed (purpose seeking) and that a bottom-up approach to the BID process could be a system for designing energy-efficient buildings (systemisation of the BID process);
- why the ThBA should be used (need for its application);
- how the ThBA could be utilized (practicality and analogical reasoning) and;
- where the ThBA might not be useful (its limitations).
- Terrestrial and marine zoology, and botany,
- Organism and cellular physiology; and
- Vertebrates and invertebrates
3.3. Framework Evaluation
- Content assessment
- Structure assessment.
- generalisation and
- non-species dependent classification scheme.
3.4. Framework Discussion
- The ThBA was confirmed as including almost all thermal adaptation strategies, and all those that could be immediately useful. Generalising thermal adaptation mechanisms was seen as possible by the experts as they believed such strategies are usually common for endotherms and ectotherms, although they also said climatic variation might lead to the evolution of different species.
- Participants gave examples and were able to link nature to architecture by referring to a series of analogies. They discussed how buildings could be seen as more like plants than animals.
- All participants agreed there is a limitation in building design if the aim is to imitate thermal adaptation strategies found in nature. Buildings cannot shut down temporarily. This is in contrast with the temporal changes in organisms that might occur on a daily, weekly, or annual basis.
- Participants believed that many buildings not environmentally well-adapted are being used for decades. This is in contrast with what happens in nature as organisms die if they do not fit their environment. They added it is not energy efficient to destroy buildings that do not adapt to their surroundings.
- The participants emphasised how not all biological thermal adaptation strategies are energy efficient. The group also agreed there is an energy cost for thermal adaptation strategies and organisms compromise over this all time.
- Exploring individual species or bio-prospecting was mentioned as something recently used for producing pharmaceutical products. However, searching for non-documented species was suggested only if architects could not find a solution in nature from the existing database. Otherwise, the ThBA coverage and structure should support queries related to heat control.
- The structural hierarchy and the classification scheme were seen as useful by all participants, and no reconfiguration of the data was advised.
- The participants agreed thermal adaptation strategies take place at different scales. They also believed what happened at different scales was not necessarily linked, and looking into each scale would reveal a different solution.
- The group referred to other environmental stressors being in close relationship with thermal stressors to the extent that responding to one of them would result in thermal adaptation. The stressors mentioned were light, water, nutrients, and predators. This might not be relevant to buildings.
- It was felt organisms native to one climate might offer strategies in another climate, meaning that building designers should not limit themselves to the local environment when looking for analogous biological solutions. The ThBA was therefore useful as it was not organised based on the temperature gradients to which organisms adapt.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Acclimation and Acclimatisation||Acclimation is the physiological and behavioural changes that occur within the bodies of organisms so they can endure immediate environmental stressors. Acclimatisation, on the other hand, refers to changes that take place in the body during the lifetime of organisms and as a response to natural climatic conditions.|
|Timeframes in adaptation||Crepuscular refers to adaptation strategies that take place at dusk or dawn while nycthemeral indicates the occurrence of these on a 24 h basis.|
|Feedback loop control||This forms the backbone of homeostasis, which is the ability of an organism to maintain equilibrium and so to stabilise the effect of a changing variable.|
|Thermal regulation||This identifies the process by which organisms adapt to temperature as an environmental stressor.|
|Autonomic and behavioural thermal regulation||Autonomic thermoregulation is the regulation of body temperature through involuntary responses to thermal stressors. Behavioural thermoregulation requires the coordinated movement of an organism towards a more favourable thermal environment.|
|Normothermy, hyperthermia, hypothermia, cryothermy||These are thermoregulatory states pointing to different conditions of the body temperature as either within normal limits (normothermy), above the range (hyperthermia), or below of a species in a normal state (hypothermia). Cryothermy is where the body temperature falls below the freezing point of the body tissue.|
|Homeothermy, heterothermy, and poikilothermy||These are thermoregulatory patterns of the temperature variations that might occur within defined limits except for conditions where the ambient temperature varies greatly (homeothermy), beyond the boundary of that of homeothermy (heterothermy), or over a broad range (poikilothermy).|
|Eurythermy and stenothermy||The tolerance of organisms to the range of environmental temperature is known as eurythermy when the range is wide and stenothermy when it is narrow.|
|Heat and cold tolerance||The ability to tolerate high and low ambient temperatures comprising a variety of physiological properties.|
|Avoiding thermal stress||The mechanisms animals use to get away from the environment in which they are under thermal stress through avoiding the space or doing normal activities .|
|Regulating thermal stress||This occurs through a combination of behavioural and physiological changes in the bodies of organisms.|
|Conforming to thermal stress||The mechanisms whereby animals undergo changes in their physiological and biochemical levels so they can function at a very low level without undergoing huge changes.|
|Endothermy and ectothermy||The body temperature of ectotherms (cold-blooded animals) follows that of their immediate environment while endotherms (warm-blooded) maintain a near constant body temperature.|
Necessity of Application
Practicality and Analytic Reasoning
Purpose Seeking and Systematisation
|Content Evaluation||Structure Evaluation|
|concepts revealed during exploration of the ThBA||Complementary stressors and strategies|
|Climatic conditions and restrictions|
|Scales of thermal adaptation|
|Taxonomic orders or tree of life|
|Tight feedback loops|
|Unexpected findings||Energy efficiency of biological strategies|
|Cost benefits of thermoregulation|
|Buildings are more like plants than animals|
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Imani, N.; Vale, B. The Development of a Biomimetic Design Tool for Building Energy Efficiency. Biomimetics 2020, 5, 50. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5040050
Imani N, Vale B. The Development of a Biomimetic Design Tool for Building Energy Efficiency. Biomimetics. 2020; 5(4):50. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5040050Chicago/Turabian Style
Imani, Negin, and Brenda Vale. 2020. "The Development of a Biomimetic Design Tool for Building Energy Efficiency" Biomimetics 5, no. 4: 50. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5040050