Homeostatic Building Façade
Architectural material technologists firm Decker Yeadon designed a double-skin glass facade system for large buildings that opens and closes itself in response to the internal temperature of the building. This system is called the Homeostatic Façade System, smart materials regulate the building's climate, just as many organisms maintain their own temperatures through homeostasis.
The Homeostatic Façade System includes mechanisms modelled after muscles; these enable the system to automatically regulate heat loss and gain, saving energy.
The façade can respond along individual segments to small-scale variations in local environmental conditions. The swirling ribbons of the façade are composed of an elastomer (a rubber-like polymer) wrapped over a flexible polymer core. A silver coating on the elastomer distributes an electrical charge across its surface, causing it to deform—much as electrical signals initiate muscle contraction. When sunlight warms up the building at certain times of day, the surfaces of the ribbon expand to create shade inside the building. When temperatures drop, they contract to allow more light in. In nature, this sort of self-regulation is known as homeostasis.
The Homeostatic Façade (which currently exists as a prototype) has advantages over conventional systems due to its low power consumption and superior precision. This high degree of control especially benefits contemporary architecture, which has become increasingly transparent. It provides thermoregulation while reducing energy consumption and its associated emissions.
The biomimicry story
Decker Yeadon's new and modern facade system was enthused by muscles, and by homeostasis in biological systems. The actuator that runs the system is similar to muscles. Homeostasis in organisms allows them to regulate their internal settings such as temperature. The Homeostatic Façade System regulates a building’s climate by automatically responding to ecological conditions. This makes Decker Yeadon's façade system attuned to local conditions and they use locally available materials and energy.
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