Biomimetic potentials - Interdisciplinary identification and preparation of innovative biological inspired key technologies for "Plus-energy buildings of the future"

Experts from various branches of industry and research as well as bionics representatives worked out innovative ideas regarding "Key technologies for Plus-Energy-Buildings". The results provide a collection of emergent bionic research potential for the implementation of innovative research in the Austrian building sector.

Short Description


Starting point and motivation

Future Plus-energy buildings and zero-emission buildings must be transformed from passive consumers of energy to active resource efficient energy producers. The search for sustainable concepts of energy generation, energy storage, energy transport and energy use has become highest priority in many businesses and sectors, apparently incompatible to the construction industries. Innovative examples prove that high innovation potential goes along with intensive interdisciplinary exchange of know-how between experts as well as with the crosslinking to biomimetics, utilizing nature's phenomenon's as an inspiration pool for better solutions. Enabling a transdisciplinary expert network comprising different professional fields and biomimetic research promises new innovative solutions for plus-energy buildings of the future.

Scope and objectives

The project BAUBIONIK POTENZIALE aimed at the enabling of an interdisciplinary expert networking with emphasis on utilizing biomimetics to create new impulses of innovation for "plus-energy buildings of the future". Through structured expert exchange across disciplines unexpected points of cooperation's shall be discovered and new innovation topics shall be identified for buildings of tomorrow. For that purpose, an interactive process has been established to invite experts from fields such as of zoology, botany, architecture, engineering, environmental technology, nanotechnology, medical engineering, etc. to formulate theses for possible new biomimetic research topics with a potential for concrete R & D research projects.

Methodological approach

Based on the examination of rules for expert networking and on experience from projects in the field of "structured analysis by expert networks", a networking approach has been developed that is based on a biomimetic approach for designing workshops (Syntegration by Prof. Malik) and enables the generation of ideas by very heterogeneous groups of experts. In parallel, a web platform was set up as an open discussion tool to further develop ideas. Through extensive research and preparation of identified key issues by the project team a collection of biomimetic potentials for plus-energy buildings was identified.

Results and conclusion

In order to achieve the greatest benefit, both substantive and methodological results were compiled. The development ranges from the identification of individual innovative ideas for "plus energy buildings of the future" to the concentration of some ideas for project concepts and project cooperation's as well as to the reporting of existing biomimetic products and projects, to which experts assigned high potential. Methodologically diverse and innovation development techniques have been considered and in some cases re-adapted for the project and internally evaluated by the involved experts.

Given the positive feedback and high interest in the project, a total of 4 expert workshops were organized with the objectives of working on contents questions as well as of evaluating applied methodological concepts for interdisciplinary exchange. All documents relating to the workshops have been provided to the participants in detail and the public in summary at the project platform.

By utilizing the young science of biomimetics and by dealing with a specific issue, the innovative potential could be demonstrated that is possible through the systematic use of biological principles and through the networking of different specialist disciplines. The challenge lies in the framework of such transdisciplinary project developments since the available basic knowledge and the effort required for developments are varying substantially.

It turned out in the project that the search for bionic potentials or the transfer of biological principles to technical solutions requires a huge effort in research and communication effort, whereas the framework for both is often in contradiction with the formal alignment of applied research. Biomimetic developments require a dedicated research funding concept that involves transdisciplinarity and basic research tasks as well as applied objectives and goals.

Future prospects

Some project ideas generated in BAUBIONIK POTENZIALE will be further developed by project teams that have been established in the work­shops. Thus e.g. the project idea of a "Bionic House" will be pursued by the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the City of Villach within the framework of the association "bionikum:Austria". The "Bionic House" will serve as a research platform for in-situ testing of biomimetic building services technologies and building materials. Biomimetic research or master thesis results can be evaluated, depending on the feasibility to generate a prototype, and tested in the research platform.

Other project ideas generated in BAUBIONIK POTENZIALE, such as distributed aerodynamically interacting micro wind turbines or a "Bionic PV Cooling" - a biomimetic development of a PV textile unit with natural cooling effect - will be pursued in independent project team, also founded within the project's workshops.

Numerous findings from the evaluation of the methods used will be set for projects which have similar goals regarding the expert networking and selection of topics in highly diverse teams.

Project Partners

Project management

Austrian Institute of Technology AIT, Department Energy
DI Susanne Gosztonyi

Project or cooperation partner

Contact Address

Austrian Institute of Technology AIT, Department Energy
DI Susanne Gosztonyi
Giefinggasse 2
A-1210 Wien
Tel.: +43 (050) 550 - 6582
Fax: +43 (050) 550 - 6613