Take Time to Smell the Roses

Take Time to Smell the Roses

Biomimicry calls for understanding before application

When talking to business owners who’ve embraced the concepts of biomimicry, one piece of advice has served them well. Take time to smell the roses. Being influenced by nature and understanding how it conducts its own business is necessary before applying it in your own.

  Curt Hallberg

Principal David Oakey from David Oakey Designs says the age of engineers looking to conquer natural systems is behind us, and innovators looking to find sustainable solutions for products and processes should be looking at the natural systems that have been developing for a long, long time.

“It’s taken so long for shapes to evolve in nature, to get the ultimate or the best at the moment, and we can go look at it and say, you got here from there, and maybe we should just learn from that,” says David.

David and his team of designers were open to seeing how nature could influence their textile and carpet designs, so they went outside and inspected the ground, aiming to describe what they saw.

“What we saw was diversity,” he says. “We saw beauty, we all said that, but the fundamental thing was that every leaf, every stone, everything we saw on the floor was not anywhere alike.” It was a stark contrast to the “monolithic sameness” they’d prescribed in their designs before, believing that it ensured higher quality standards.

They started designing products where each carpet square was slightly different in colour and design.

  A natural and uncontrolled vortex as a tornado moves across the Earth's surface with an extreme sub-pressure in the centre.

“Suddenly all the waste factors of designing this way all went to the bottom line,” David says.

The manufacturer was able to spend less time on the process, the installers found more freedom in laying the carpet tiles thanks to fewer restrictions in directionality, and “off quality” issues that stemmed from deviating from the “monolithic” standard were eliminated.

“Then came all the positive economic things of how we could use variable dye-lots from our suppliers, we could mix production runs from one to another and for customers, when they’re installing their carpet, they could cut as they saw fit, from any part of the carpet tile, because it was random,” David says.

Head of research and development and production Curt Hallberg for WatrEco has found similar results.

While nature took billions of years to create the shapes and systems found in the world, he says stopping and looking at them could teach us a thing or two. WatrEco has developed the Vortex generator, that uses vortex process technology (VPT), borrowing its working principle from the flow of natural water.

A continuous process of balancing pressure and sub-pressure alters the inner properties of the treated water, and those properties are having dramatic results.

  The patented Watreco Vortex Generator inspired by nature and designed to create and keep a controlled vortex for water treatment processes in industrial applications.

While Curt will admit he’s not entirely sure why, the Vortex water provides a series of interesting benefits.

Flowers and vegetables grow with greater resilience, speed and size, for example. Some studies are finding tomatoes grow a little bigger and stronger, and cucumbers are growing larger with a higher crop yield, fewer rejects and a longer shelf life.

The water also freezes faster, making it ideal for Zambonis and ice resurfacing.

Some arenas are reporting energy savings of 10,000 kilowatt hours per day. Curt says the water freezes faster, stays cold longer, is more clear, and though he’s unsure why, skaters seem to move faster on it, too.

The Vortex water is also removing calcium deposits, which in turn is reducing lime-scaling deposits. This was first discovered at the arenas, but the application could have a great impact on areas that rely on heat exchanges like nuclear power generators, whose pipes require regular maintenance and lime de-scaling.

Read more on biomimicry as an economic game-changer.

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1. Biomimicry can show us how to build resilience and cultures of innovation throughout our various systems. What's such a notion spark for you? If you want to learn more, check out Biomimicry 3.8. You could also add a thought or question below, and we'll do our best to add clarity or other ideas that might be helpful.

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