Energy Efficiency: How nature shows us the way forward
Many of the things we’re doing now, nature has been doing for years. Like solar power – the first solar panels in Sydney were the leaves of trees millions of years ago. Learning from nature is called biomimicry.
Now, we’re learning from the behaviour of bees in the wild (so-called independent swarm logic) to control air-conditioning ‘switch-on’ times.
Left to their own devices, air-conditioning units, headers and blowers will turn on according to thermostat control – that is, a lot of units will turn on once it gets too hot or cold. Naturally, this causes a simultaneous peak in demand – and this has consequences for billing and the network.
Regen Energy has developed a system that can use swarm logic to reduce peak electrical demand by up to 30% in commercial properties and allow for effective scheduling of electrical loads. Like bees, its swarm logic centres on the idea that each unique point or node makes a decision based on what it knows about the actions of the group. Instead of the usual case of everything turning on at once, the units are aware of what the other units are doing and ‘choose’ to come on early or later in a kind of relay, to avoid high peaks. Read more at the Regen energy link above.