The Use Of Biomimicry : A Devastating Human Sustainability Problem

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A definition of Biomimicry:
Biomimicry is an approach to the design and production of structures, materials and systems based on nature’s processes and strategies. It is inspired by the understanding that animals, plants and microbes have already solved many of the complex problems faced by humans.
A devastating human sustainability problem:
Global warming is a gradual increase of the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, caused by the greenhouse effect. In natural circumstances the heat that is radiated by the sun should be re-radiated by the earth’s surface, whereby most of the heat escapes into space. However, increased carbon dioxide emissions and other air pollutants by humans cause more heat to be trapped in the
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However, it should be mentioned that some research suggests that the temperature may actually be regulated by other means.
How could the termite’s ingenious passive cooling system be utilised to help fight global warming?
Hypothesis:
The termite’s passive cooling system can be used in architecture to greatly reduce electricity usage needed for air-conditioning.
Aim:
To determine how the termite’s passive cooling system can be mimicked in architecture to reduce electricity needed for air-conditioning.

• Main body of research
Introduction to the Eastgate Centre concept:
Architect Mick Pearce realised that the passive cooling system used by termites to keep their mounds at a constant temperature could be used effectively in human architecture. In 1996 his design, the Eastgate Centre, was opened in Harare, Zimbabwe. This shopping centre and office block is ventilated by natural means, saving large amounts of energy. It provides 5 600 m² of retail space, 26 000 m² of office space and parking for more than 400 cars, making it Zimbabwe’s largest office and shopping complex (Source 4).
Detailed analysis of termite cooling system:
The Eastgate Centre was modelled on an understanding of the termite mound that has since been questioned. More recent research suggests that that the constant temperature in termite mounds is in fact brought about by the active transport of water- soaked earth into the mound and fungi that regulate humidity (Source 5).

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