How does nature provide energy efficiency? Termites construct their nests so that the temperature is maintained day and night, with a maximum deviation of one degree from 31 ° C. This is the case even though the outdoor temperature may vary between 3° C and 42 ° C. It is the unique, three-dimensional architectural shape of the termite mounds that allows for gas exchange and the ability to maintain constant temperature and humidity.
Energy-efficient like a termite
Approximately 30% of the energy we use in Sweden goes to the heating of houses. We have much to learn from nature. Eastgate, or the “Ant Hill” as it is also called, is a department store and business complex, built in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1996.
The building has a structure that mimics the principle of the termite mound, which means that it does not need any air conditioning or heating to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
Instead, the construction and climatic circumstances combine to create a passive mechanical refrigeration system decreasing energy consumption to a level as low as 10% compared to conventional department stores of the same size. US $3,500,000 in electricity bills was saved during the first five years and rental costs could therefore be kept at a rate that was 20% lower than conventional buildings.
The architectural structure of the Lagerberg School in Sundsvall, Sweden is based on a similar principle.