Biomimicry Design Toolkit. Addressing thermal comfort for building facades in the tropics

Supported by the DesignSingapore Council’s Good Design Research (GDR) initiative, the bioSEA team and collaborators are developing a design toolkit for building facades that aims to improve thermal comfort in the tropics.

Learn more about the conventional and non-biomimetic approaches to solve thermal comfort for building facades – Established Methods page 

Learn more from 30+ biomimetic projects that we have curated from around the world to solve thermal comfort for building facades – Horizon Scan page.  

Learn more about bioSEA’s new biomimetic facade designs – Designs page

 

Tropical areas are home to incredible biodiversity that can provide us with a rich catalog of innovation ideas.

Why?

60% of Singapore’s office building energy consumption goes into cooling and another 10% to mechanical ventilation. Our path to sustainability cuts cooling consumption and reduces carbon emissions. 

The façade is the largest ‘skin’ of the building, and it is exposed to the sun throughout the day, leading to much solar heat gain through heat conduction in the walls and radiation through the windows. If the façade can be optimally designed to reduce heat gain, then less energy is needed to cool the environment.

 

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The Promise of Biomimicry

Nature has a head start in innovation having spent more than 3.8 Billion years in R&D through evolution, whereas human’s industrial revolution is only 250 years old.

It has numerous ways of managing heat such as by sweating through pores in the human skin, retaining water in the wrinkly elephant skin or self-shading with cactus-like ribs. These place-based and time-tested solutions offer a new perspective for us to develop innovative solutions to improve thermal comfort using breathable building skins in tropical buildings.

“stick like a gecko, compute like a cell, even run a business like a redwood forest “ – Janine Benyus

Methodology

The Biomimicry Institute defines biomimicry as “an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.”

 

The 6-step process to biomimicry design

Visual by Ruiee Dhuri/bioSEA 

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