Building with termites: The challenge of biomimetic design for carbon neutral buildings.

IRG/WP 09-20405

J R J French, B M Ahmed (Shiday)

The main aim of this paper is to present humanity and termites as design partners in the creation of a new dimension of ecosystem understanding. “Beyond biomimicry: What termites can tell us about realizing the living building”, Turner and Soar (2008) opens up a new era in how we think of human habitations, not only on earth, but maybe on other planets, and using the termite model as the corner stone of innovative engineering. We know that termites are masters of constructing ‘buildings’ that meet all nutrition, energy, waste disposal needs, shelter, and food sources for many other animals and insects. We need to emulate the symbiotic abilities of termites to survive over time, for as Margulis (1998) pointed out, we all live on this symbiotic planet, and symbiosis is natural and common. The challenge to architects, builders and the wood protection industry will be immense, but none the less intellectually and practically stimulating, particularly with climate change implications. Also, briefly discussed is the need to amend Australian Standards and Building Code of Australia “deemed-to-satisfy” legislation. So, we can mimic termite design and management systems in our bid to manage and sustain energy efficient buildings.

Keywords: biomimicry, Coptotermes lacteus, Macrotermes michaelseni, Eastgate Centre, Harare, nest structures, thermoregulation, moisture control

Conference: 09-05-24/28 Beijing, China

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