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Bio-inspired Sustainability Assessment - A Conceptual Framework

: Horn, Rafael; Gantner, Johannes; Widmer, Ludmila; Sedlbauer, Klaus Peter; Speck, Olga


Knippers, J.:
Biomimetic research for architecture and building construction : Biological design and integrative structures
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016 (Biologically-inspired systems 9)
ISBN: 978-3-319-46372-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-319-46374-2 (Online)
ISBN: 3-319-46372-1
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
SFB/TR 141;
Aufsatz in Buch
Fraunhofer IBP ()

Because of the tremendous challenges of the impacts caused by the globally growing economy, the targeted development of sustainable innovation is an inevitable social responsibility. Despite some advances, however, sustainability has not yet been integrated into product development on a broad scale. Although bio-inspired innovations seem to offer solutions, the transfer of sustainability through the bio-inspiration process is only conducted implicitly and the possible fulfilment of the 'promise of bio-inspiration' is only assessed retrospectively. In view of this situation, a bio-inspired sustainability concept is defined by conflating sustainability and bio-inspiration and is made concrete by framing an integrated assessment approach. The concept links current sustainability assessment practice, exemplified by sustainability in construction and aspects of sustainability in biological systems. The basic assessment structure is derived from biological systems, which provide necessary functions through the efficient use of scarce resources. Its application covers the complete development process of bio-inspired innovations, providing feedback and thus decision support with a focus on sustainability. Hence, the implicit sustainability transfer of bio-inspiration is enhanced by targeted transfer and by a 'commitment of bio-inspiration' to create both sustainable and bio-inspired innovations. As the assessment method itself is expected to be bio-inspired, it is constructed based on characteristics of biological systems such as effectiveness, adaptivity, multifunctionality and resilience.