Bio-inspired Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of Buildings

  • Marzieh ImaniEmail author
  • Michael Donn
  • Zahra Balador
Reference work entry


This chapter systematically analyzes the existing literature on bio-inspired materials used in architecture, construction, and building design. Imitating nature accounts for an effective strategy for designing innovative buildings. Integrating this biomimicry strategy into the design process generates benefits for both designers and the natural environment, as bio-inspired designs can contribute to sustainability. Mimicking nature, various biomimetic approaches have produced environmentally friendly, innovative, smart, or intelligent materials for buildings. This literature review demonstrates that researchers and designers are significantly inspired by animals’, plants’, or microorganisms’ innovative biological systems (functions, structures, and processes) in order to design bio-inspired materials for increasing energy efficiency of the buildings. However, the range of innovative bio-inspired materials is not broad, and most of the published research seems to be about one-off cases. The chapter first introduces the systematic literature research methodology used for analyzing the current knowledge of architectural bio-inspired materials. Current research on bio-inspired materials used in architectural and building science is reviewed, and a new classification scheme for clustering relevant data is presented. These innovative materials serve different functions in buildings. This classification scheme enables a new synthesis of existing knowledge based on the multi-functionality of currently developed bio-inspired building. The chapter concludes by substantiating the argument that “there is no systematic and general workflow for data mining innovative building design/construction concepts from biological processes.” Overall, then, this research suggests that there is a need for a bio-architectural workflow assisting scientists and designers to find the relevant organisms in nature as the source of inspiration for innovative design.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture and DesignVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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