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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Towards a biomimetic envelope : a case study of Rheum nobile : an investigation into building envelope design, inspired by Rheum nobile’s adaptive solutions with a focus on light and heat control based on Vancouver climate Banaei, Shima


Today, buildings with excessive energy consumption for heating, cooling, and lighting of indoor spaces have led to fundamental environmental problems, such as climate change, global warming, and air pollution. However, for more than billions of years, ecosystems and living organisms have adapted to environmental changes without disturbing the natural balance. Due to the perfect performance of nature's systems in adapting to environmental changes, the purpose of this research is to investigate a bio-inspired building envelope system based on Vancouver climate to reduce building energy consumption for indoor heat and light controls. According to the specific conditions of the project, after studying several organisms, the Rheum Nobile plant has been selected as the natural source of inspiration, which has been able to adapt to the freezing Himalayan climate with its unique features in controlling sunlight and temperature. In the proposed design approach, the natural adaptive solutions have been tested through a series of light simulations to ensure good light quality in the space. The final design version is a dynamic system consisting of three postures, inflated, deflated, and partially inflated, in which the system is activated by temperature and light sensors. As a result of this design, the proposed biomimetic building envelope breathes like a living plant, which dynamically adapts to ambient temperature and sunlight to provide a comfort indoor condition for its occupants.

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