Since our focus today is on the earth and we are officially celebrating "Earth Day," I wanted to share how others are using nature to learn how to be more eco-friendly....
There is an office building in Harare, Zimbabwe named the Eastgate Centre that uses less than 10% of the energy of a conventional office builidng. This helps the management of the building save $3.5 million a year. It does this because it was designed and built to function like Termite mounds.
Evidently, termites survive only if the inside of their homes maintains a constant 87 degrees F. For many professionals, it would be quite a challenge to design a sustainable building to maintain this constant temperature while the outside temperature fluxuates from a frigid 35 degrees F at night to a blistering 104 degrees during the day. But, the termites have it all figured out by using openings at the bottom of their mounds that can be opened or closed to maintain the flow of air that is directed through their living areas and expelled up through the top of the mount.
In order to acheive this in the office building (but with cooler indoor temperatures), the architect and engineer designed the building with fans at the first floor that continuously draws air inside the building. The air is directed up through ducts that supply the fresh air into the spaces of each floor. Then, the air is exhausted through ports in the ceilings of each floor.
So, next time you see a bug that seems like a unwanted pest, consider how we might learn from them and they might actually become a desired guest. (Unless they are eating your picnic lunch).