How TERMITES Were Used to Cool the Air! - Biard & Crockett

How TERMITES Were Used to Cool the Air!

Termites aiding in home cooling

When you think of termites, you think about gnawed wood, home damage, and GROSSNESS! But there is more than meets the eye …

The concept of “biomimicry”

When building buildings, people have long found inspiration in nature. After all, many of nature’s “buildings” last for hundreds to millions of years! In recent years, this has evolved into a concept known as biomimicry. This approach looks at nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies and uses them to solve human problems. One architect who’s using biomimicry is Mick Pearce, who’s looked towards an unlikely source for inspiration: termites.

And yes, most of us are totally grossed out by termites. But Mick Pearce sees something different. He sees termites as master engineers of sustainable and efficient cooling systems.

A “termite-inspired” vent system

Pearce’s work can be seen in the Eastgate Center in Harare, Zimbabwe. This 333,000-square-foot building is the country’s largest commercial and shopping complex. Remarkably, it maintains an internal temperature of 73-77°F throughout the year, despite the external temperature swinging from 59°F in the winter to 82°F in summer. What’s more extraordinary is that it does so without any conventional A/C or heating system.

The secret? Termite-inspired ventilation.

Pearce got his inspiration from the termite mounds found in the Zimbabwean savannah. These mounds, which have millions of termites, maintain a nearly constant internal temperature day and night, despite the extreme external temperatures. Termites achieve this by constantly opening and closing a series of heating and cooling “vents” throughout the mound, creating a stable and suitable environment for their fungus farms.

Amazing energy savings

In the Eastgate Center, Pearce replicated this termite technology. Instead of using A/C, the building has a series of chimneys that draw in cool night air. As the temperature rises during the day, the warm air is vented up through the chimneys, while fans on the first-floor draw in cool air from the building’s lower levels. This process of ‘passive cooling’ uses natural temperature differences to keep the interior comfortable.

The result of this design of “biomimicry” is nothing short of extraordinary. The Eastgate Center uses less than 10% of the energy of a usual building of the same size, that uses regular HVAC, allowing for significant savings in energy costs.

We love this!

The Eastgate Center is a testament to the potential of this technology and the promise it holds for future designs! At Biard & Crockett, we are driven by the same spirit of respect for the environment. We constantly strive to integrate these solutions into our services, ensuring that you enjoy a comfortable home while also having more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly systems. Call us anytime at (714) 602-1299, or schedule an appointment on our website.

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