At the 2019 TEMC Conference in Adelaide, Senior Sustainability Consultant and PHD recipient, Matt Webb will be giving his presentation on Biomimicry – it’s Benefits and Barriers. But what is Biomimicry, and how can it be integrated into sustainable building design?

Quite simply put, Biomimicry is “looking to nature for inspiration for new innovations” [Janine M. Benyus, Biomimicry 3.8]. It bridges and connects nature and technology, attempting to balance science, design, problem-solving, sustainability, movement, nature, biodiversity and innovative thought. Providing sustainable design solutions borrowed from life and nature.


Biomimicry – innovation inspired by nature – is learning from and then emulating natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable designs.

Matt’s PhD and his upcoming presentation investigate how the design and engineering of buildings facades can be inspired and optimised by biological systems. His study drew upon ‘specific biological models of heat transfer and translated associated distinctive biological features and qualities to façade design models’ [Matthew Webb, Development and Performance Analyses of Biometric Building Facades, PhD Thesis, University of Melbourne].

Through digital modelling and simulation testing, Matt was able to establish that the biological characteristics, when incorporated into building facades, could improve their thermal performance and contribute to a reduction in peak heat loads and energy consumption of non-residential buildings in temperate climates.

There is no question that architects, engineers and designers can look to nature to ask what could be done to improve functional performance and accelerate sustainable outcomes. Nature sources all its energy from sunlight. Nature fits form to function. Nature recycles everything. Nature adapts to changing conditions. Considering the myriad of plants, animals and ecosystems that exist on Earth, there are innumerable opportunities to learn from nature and translate characteristics from biological systems to all         facets of human design. Taking thoughtful and considerate inspiration from nature, integrating its ideas into building design, engineers and industry professionals can emulate the lessons and principles of nature.

If you are heading to the TEMC Conference in Adelaide don’t miss Matt’s presentation on Monday 30th of September at 12pm. Otherwise, please get in touch with him and the Umow Lai ESD team to discuss the potential benefits of Biomimicry, biophilia, and other sustainable building design options for your project.

Matthew Webb :

Read more about Matt’s research via these published papers: