Biomimetic Buildings: Copying Nature for Energy Efficiency

A special issue of Biomimetics (ISSN 2313-7673). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioinspired Architecture and Climatisation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 July 2022) | Viewed by 31049

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Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website1 Website2
Chief Guest Editor
1. Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
2. Open Polytechnic, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Interests: building energy performance; bio-climatic design; adaptive building envelope; thermal comfort analysis; biologically-inspired innovation in building design and construction; bio-inspired thermoregulation; biomimetic approaches to energy efficiency; bioinspired materials; intelligent/smart materials; eco-materials; building energy modelling
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Assistant Guest Editor
Wellington School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Interests: ecological footprinting; sustainable building design; zero energy housing design; history of prefabrication
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nature has been the source of inspiration for the design and construction of buildings in various ways and at different levels of complexity. Recent years have witnessed the contribution of biomimetic principles to developing innovative materials and structural systems, strategies for the management and operation of building services, building design strategies, such as bio-inspired space layout configurations, and adaptive building envelopes. Initially, these practical implications have been inspired by biological principles found at either the micro, macro or organismal level. Due to the urgent need for climate change adaptation and mitigation, the significant contribution of these innovative solutions should be in reducing building energy use through minimising operational or embodied energy or ideally both.

The building and construction sector is responsible for about 40% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That said, any approach to bio-inspired architecture, engineering, and construction should make a positive contribution to reducing the sector’s carbon footprint. Operational emissions come directly from fossil fuel combustion and indirectly from the equipment used for generating energy, including electricity and water use. Electricity in buildings is mainly used for heating, cooling, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, running electrical equipment, and supplying hot water. Embodied carbon includes emissions occurring across the supply chain of construction materials and building products.

This Special Issue focuses on bio-inspired approaches used for reducing building operational energy. Energy reduction is therefore expected to have been achieved through bio-inspired building design, construction or the design, development and management of HVAC systems, lighting devices and electrical equipment. Scientific contributions are invited from scientists, researchers, engineers, and industry professionals as a means of disseminating recent design strategies, inventions and developments in the field. Research papers are expected to provide numerical evidence of effect either through simulation or real data. Review papers presenting the state of the art of this research area and pointing out new directions for further research are also welcome.

Dr. Negin Imani
Dr. Brenda Vale
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Biomimetics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Bio-inspired materials
  • Biomimetic architectural design
  • Biomimetic building envelope for environmental adaptation
  • Bio-inspired cooling technologies
  • Bio-inspired smart energy management
  • Bio-inspired heating system
  • Bio-inspired building elements
  • Biomimetic window system
  • Bio-inspired building design strategies
  • Bio-inspired thermal management.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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5 pages, 201 KiB  
Editorial
Biomimetic Design for Building Energy Efficiency 2021
by Negin Imani and Brenda Vale
Biomimetics 2022, 7(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics7030106 - 5 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2318
Abstract
Nature has been the source of inspiration for the design and construction of buildings in various ways and at different levels of complexity [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Buildings: Copying Nature for Energy Efficiency)

Research

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15 pages, 4009 KiB  
Article
Biomimicry for Energy-Efficient Building Design: A Bibliometric Analysis
by Niloufar Varshabi, Semra Arslan Selçuk and Güneş Mutlu Avinç
Biomimetics 2022, 7(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics7010021 - 24 Jan 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6267
Abstract
With the development of the biomimicry approach, new and creative ideas have been established to solve problems in architectural design. In the designs based on this process, “nature” is used as a diverse data source for the transfer of these data to various [...] Read more.
With the development of the biomimicry approach, new and creative ideas have been established to solve problems in architectural design. In the designs based on this process, “nature” is used as a diverse data source for the transfer of these data to various processes, functions, materials, and structures. The primary purpose of this paper is to explore the development of biomimicry as an architectural approach, with a bibliometric review of research related to biomimicry and energy efficiency. Emphasis on the importance of the need for biomimicry in modern designs is another goal of this study. In this study, articles published in the Web of Science database (2010–2021) were analyzed. VOSviewer and SankeyMATIC software were used to represent the analysis results graphically. According to the results of this study, in addition to the inadequacy of biomimicry research, the need for further research became apparent. This review can serve as a reference for future studies to transfer natural phenomena to architecture in order to solve the problem of efficient energy consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Buildings: Copying Nature for Energy Efficiency)
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21 pages, 13506 KiB  
Article
Numerical Assessment of Zebra-Stripes-Based Strategies in Buildings Energy Performance: A Case Study under Tropical Climate
by Miguel Chen Austin, Kevin Araque, Paola Palacios, Katherine Rodríguez Maure and Dafni Mora
Biomimetics 2022, 7(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics7010014 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3429
Abstract
Urban growth has increased the risk of over-heating both in the microclimate and inside buildings, affecting thermal comfort and energy efficiency. That is why this research aims to evaluate the energy performance of buildings in terms of thermal comfort (operative temperature (OP) levels, [...] Read more.
Urban growth has increased the risk of over-heating both in the microclimate and inside buildings, affecting thermal comfort and energy efficiency. That is why this research aims to evaluate the energy performance of buildings in terms of thermal comfort (operative temperature (OP) levels, satisfied hours of natural ventilation SHNV, thermal lag), and energy efficiency (roof heat gains and surface temperatures) in an urban area in Panama City, using superficial-heat-dissipation biomimetic strategies. Two case studies, a base case and a proposed case, were evaluated using the Designbuilder software through dynamic simulation. The proposed case is based on a combined biomimetic strategy; the reflective characteristics of the Saharan ant applied as a coating on the roofs through a segmented pattern such as the Zebra’s stripes (one section with coating, and another without). Results showed that the OP decreased from 8 to 10 °C for the entire urban zone throughout the year. A reduction of 3.13% corresponding to 8790 kWh per year was achieved for cooling energy consumption. A difference of 5 °C in external surface temperature was obtained, having a lower temperature in which the biomimetic strategy was applied. Besides, it was evidenced that a contrasted-reflectivity-stripes pitched roof performed better than a fully reflective roof. Thus, the functionality of Zebra stripes, together with the reflective characteristics of the Saharan ant, provide better performance for buildings’ thermal regulation and energy needs for cooling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Buildings: Copying Nature for Energy Efficiency)
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34 pages, 16458 KiB  
Article
Sustainability Assessment of the Anthropogenic System in Panama City: Application of Biomimetic Strategies towards Regenerative Cities
by Andrea Quintero, Marichell Zarzavilla, Nathalia Tejedor-Flores, Dafni Mora and Miguel Chen Austin
Biomimetics 2021, 6(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6040064 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4933
Abstract
To understand the sustainability problem for Panama’s metropolitan area, its urban metabolism was investigated. A way to evaluate its current state was obtained by estimating a sustainable indicator based on the Green City Index. With the abstraction of the identified problems, the biomimetic [...] Read more.
To understand the sustainability problem for Panama’s metropolitan area, its urban metabolism was investigated. A way to evaluate its current state was obtained by estimating a sustainable indicator based on the Green City Index. With the abstraction of the identified problems, the biomimetic strategy “problem-based approach” was carried out, where different pinnacles of nature were selected as a reference for the design of regenerative solutions. These were inspired by the understanding of the living world and how to include ecosystems in urban designs. Therefore, a framework was proposed for positive generation and natural solutions in cities to take advantage of the regenerative potential in Panama City. Using ecosystem services, a set of indicators were developed to measure regeneration over the years at the city scale. The results indicate that from the 11 selected pinnacles, 17 solutions inspired in nature were proposed to regenerate cities. Consequently, a SWOT analysis was realized along with a questionnaire by experts from different fields. The findings obtained show that the feasible solutions were: arborization, green facades, solar roofs, e-mobility, green corridors, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and biofilters. This research represents a step towards creating and developing regenerative cities, thus improving the quality of life of living beings and ecosystems present in society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Buildings: Copying Nature for Energy Efficiency)
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Review

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14 pages, 1370 KiB  
Review
Developing a Method to Connect Thermal Physiology in Animals and Plants to the Design of Energy Efficient Buildings
by Negin Imani and Brenda Vale
Biomimetics 2022, 7(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics7020067 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2849
Abstract
The literature shows that translating the thermal adaptation mechanisms of biological organisms to building design solutions can improve energy performance. In the context of bio-inspired thermoregulation several worthwhile attempts have been made to develop a framework for finding relevant thermal adaptation mechanisms in [...] Read more.
The literature shows that translating the thermal adaptation mechanisms of biological organisms to building design solutions can improve energy performance. In the context of bio-inspired thermoregulation several worthwhile attempts have been made to develop a framework for finding relevant thermal adaptation mechanisms in nature as inspiration for architectural design. However, almost all of these have followed a solution-based approach despite the problem-solving nature of architectural design. Given this, this research set out to take a problem-based approach to biomimetic design. The aim was to investigate the most effective way of accessing biological thermoregulatory solutions to assist architects in finding relevant biological inspirations for the thermal design of buildings. This required the development of an optimal structure for categorizing thermoregulatory mechanisms that could then be used as part of a framework for finding appropriate mechanisms for a particular architectural design problem. This development began with a three-step literature review to find, study, generalize and categorize a comprehensive list of thermal adaptation mechanisms used by animals and plants. This article describes how this literature review was carried out leading to the identification of nine main themes which were analysed for their practicality in informing the structure of the proposed framework. The selected themes were built around the common aspects of biology and architecture, and hence facilitated the categorization of biological thermoregulation mechanisms. This article thus explains the steps taken to develop a structure for generalizing and categorizing thermal adaptation strategies in nature. This article does not report on the list of thermal adaptation mechanisms identified in step 2 of the literature review. Instead, it presents the literature review workflow with a focus on step 3. Given that, discussion of the thermal adaptation mechanisms falls outside the scope of this article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Buildings: Copying Nature for Energy Efficiency)
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25 pages, 2190 KiB  
Review
An Inspection of the Life Cycle of Sustainable Construction Projects: Towards a Biomimicry-Based Road Map Integrating Circular Economy
by Kimberly Beermann and Miguel Chen Austin
Biomimetics 2021, 6(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6040067 - 29 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4359
Abstract
According to the National Energy Plan in Panama, the construction sector is one of the most prosperous and impactful sectors in the economy and it is expected to expand due to population growth by almost 300% by 2050. However, this sector must work [...] Read more.
According to the National Energy Plan in Panama, the construction sector is one of the most prosperous and impactful sectors in the economy and it is expected to expand due to population growth by almost 300% by 2050. However, this sector must work on the transition towards sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change, since its growth implies a high consumption of resources and the contribution of greenhouse gases. The need to establish practices and strategies that embrace the dimension of sustainability and a circular economy is imminent. Currently, there is little guidance in the reference framework beyond certifications in planning, management and evaluation tools for its implementation. Different studies vary in the number of phases and considerations for projects. Therefore, the present work proposes the development of a unified road map, with defined phases, practices and indicators based on principles inspired by nature, such as biomimicry (Greek words: “bio” means life and “mimesis”, imitation), and focuses on a circular economy, validated by construction professionals, where strengths, opportunities, skills and threats are identified with a high level of acceptance. This contributes to strengthening the field of sustainable construction project management and a precedent for Panama. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Buildings: Copying Nature for Energy Efficiency)
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26 pages, 3266 KiB  
Review
Bio-Inspired Electricity Storage Alternatives to Support Massive Demand-Side Energy Generation: A Review of Applications at Building Scale
by Alisson Dodón, Vanessa Quintero, Miguel Chen Austin and Dafni Mora
Biomimetics 2021, 6(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6030051 - 26 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4954
Abstract
This work has its origin in the growing demands of energy regulations to meet future local targets and to propose a global implementation framework. A literature review related to conventional electrical energy storage systems has been carried out, presenting different cases analyzed at [...] Read more.
This work has its origin in the growing demands of energy regulations to meet future local targets and to propose a global implementation framework. A literature review related to conventional electrical energy storage systems has been carried out, presenting different cases analyzed at building scale to deepen in nature-inspired processes that propose reductions in environmental impact and present improvements in these storage devices. The use of batteries, especially lithium-ion batteries, is the most prominent among the electrical storage applications; however, improvements have been proposed through hydrogen batteries or the implementation of more environmentally friendly materials to manufacture the electrodes. In this sense, oriented to creating systems designed to protect the environment, important advances have been made in the development of storage systems based on biomimetic strategies. The latter range from the generation of energy through the respiratory processes of microorganisms to the recreation of the generation, storage, and release of energy using the thermoelectric and thermoregulatory characteristics of some insects. These facts show that the trend in research towards improving existing systems continues but reinforces the idea that new solutions must be environmentally friendly, so there is still a long way to improving the processes established thus far. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Buildings: Copying Nature for Energy Efficiency)
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