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BIOMIMICRY Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor BI-O-MIM-IC-RY ( From the Greek bios, life, and mimesis, imitation) Nature as model. Biomimicry is a new science that studies Nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems.

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BIOMIMICRY

Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor


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BI-O-MIM-IC-RY(From the Greek bios, life, and mimesis, imitation)

  • Nature as model. Biomimicry is a new science that studies Nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems.

  • Nature as measure. Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge “rightness” of our innovations.

  • Nature as mentor. Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing Nature.


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Energy Efficiency: Learning from Nature how to create flow without friction.

PAX Fans and Impellers

Design: How does Nature attach and detach?

Gecko tape



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Architecture: Learning from termites how to create sustainable buildings:

Passive Climate Control in the Eastport Building, Harare Zimbabwe


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Transportation: How does Nature travel quickly and smoothly?

The Shinkansen Bullet Train in Japan



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Human Safety: smoothly?

Learning from Dolphins how to warn people about Tsunamis


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Climate Change: smoothly?

Learning from human lungs how to sequester carbon



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The Biomimicry Guild’s sustainablyFunctional Taxonomy

Function is the pivot between life’s wisdom and what we

are trying to achieve intentionally.

  • What function do you want your design to perform?

  • How does life perform that function?

    The Biomimicry Guild has produced an organized collection of functions that covers everything that life does and that we might want a design to do.

    The functions are grouped by similarity so it’s called a taxonomy (an organized system of naming) of functions.


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Identify the Real Challenge sustainably

  • Don’t ask “what do you want to design?” (an air conditioner)

  • Ask “what do you want your design to do?” (make people feel cooler)

  • Ask “why?” multiple times: (Challenge: Air conditioners use lots of energy because they use heat to dry desiccants that dehumidify air and then they must cool the heated air.)

  • Why use desiccants? (To dry the air)

  • Why do the units dry air? (Because high humidity makes air feel warmer)

  • Why are they using heat? (To drive the moisture out of the desiccant so it can be reused)

    So, you want a design to pull moisture

    out of air and cool the air!


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Develop a Design Brief for the Needed Function sustainably

  • Biologize the Question:

    • Identify functions (i.e. purpose, role, or use)

    • How does Nature do that function?

    • How does Nature not do that function?

  • Reframe questions with additional keywords.


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Develop a Design Brief for the Needed Function sustainably

  • Define Operating Parameters;

    • “Climate” conditions: (wet, dry, cold, hot, low/high pressure, highly variable, high/low UV,etc.)

    • “Nutrient” conditions: (nutrient poor =no $, nutrient rich = lots of available materials)

    • “Social” conditions: (competitive, cooperative)

    • “Temporal” conditions: (dynamic, static, growing, ageing)

      After defining operating parameters, ask:

      “How does Nature do that function HERE?

      In these conditions?”


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Integrate Life's Principles sustainablyinto the Design Brief

  • Optimize rather than maximize

  • Locally attuned and responsive

  • Build in resilience

  • Leverage interdependence

  • Integrate cyclic processes

  • Use benign manufacturing


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Find The Best Natural Models sustainably

  • Go for a walk outside

  • Consider both literal and metaphorical

    models

  • Comb the literature

  • Brainstorm with Biologists


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Identify Deep Patterns and Principles sustainably

  • Look across discovered strategies

  • Look at the strategies collectively

    Specific to your desired function, what does each strategy have in common?

    How are they different?


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Deepen the Conversation sustainably

  • Are you mimicking form?

  • Can you mimic process?

  • Can you mimic the ecosystem?

    Does the design

    “create conditions conducive to life”?


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Evaluate your findings sustainably

  • Can it adapt and evolve?

    Thank your teacher (Nature) for the inspiration


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Nature as Mentor sustainably

* Incredibly competent universe

* Nature’s living examples

* Can live abundantly

and enhance where you live

* Much older mentors have

figured it out

* We can do the same thing

– JANINE BENYUS


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?? Questions ?? sustainably

How can EPA use Biomimicry to meet our mission?

Where are the leverage points EPA can use to promote Biomimicry as part of a sustainable ecosystem approach?


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