S14 Downscaling Global Forecasts to Local Sites for Bio-inspired Building Design

Sunday, 22 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Clint Leeper, South Dakota School of Mines, Rapid City, SD; and W. Capehart, K. Shahbazi, and A. Surovek

Current estimates suggest that buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of U.S. energy usage. Nature has potential solutions for energy efficiency by integrating systems. Specifically, insects such as termites construct habitats that are structurally stable, regulate internal temperature and provide ventilation through the form of the structure.  By computationally mimicking the bottom-up building processes of integrating structural system with ventilation, this study intends to develop a new paradigm for building design. The resulting forms can provide an avenue for new solutions in construction of habitats that require little to no external energy for ventilation, particularly in developing areas where the cost of energy is prohibitive.

SD Mines is involved in a multi-disciplinary and international project that builds on the current state of the art in engineering, atmospheric science and entomology. The methods explored include “bottom-up” agent-based modeling integrated with “top-down” environmental forcings from the local environment. 

We focus here on the latter component, impact of atmospheric forcings on our study sites in Namibia.  Local atmospheric forcings at both the weather and climate scale influence the orientation, thickness, porosity and other organic design attributes of these natural structures.  We will present the downscaling of global forecast models and ensembles to the local scale and demonstrate their integration into CFD and agent-based models in this study.

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