We generally think of termites as destroying buildings, not helping design them. But the Eastgate Building, an office complex in Harare, Zimbabwe, has an air conditioning system modeled on the self-cooling mounds of Macrotermes michaelseni, termites that maintain the temperature inside their nest to within one degree, day and night (while the temperatures outside swing from 42 °C to 3 °C).
The operation of buildings represents 40% of all the energy used by humanity, so learning how to design them to be more sustainable is vitally important. Designed by architect Mick Pearce, Eastgate uses 90% percent less energy for ventilation than conventional buildings its size, and has already saved the building owners over $3.5 million dollars in air conditioning costs.
Explore more biomimicry examples from our growing database of 2100+ technological innovations and ideas, each inspired by nature’s genius, on AskNature.org.