Review of Bioinspired Innovations and the Potential Sustainability Contributions
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In recent decades, innovations inspired by nature have received much attention as biological knowledge can boost the development of sustainable and innovative design. Due to global warming, the need for an immediate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has been highlighted. Bioinspired innovations are thought to bring sustainability impacts to human society. However, mimicking biological models does not always lead to desirable outcomes. Integrating nature patterns into the design is essential for making a contribution to sustainability, which is mainly determined by practitioners in the design phase. In this study, we perform a literature review of current bioinspired innovations with a particular focus on the potential sustainability contributions proposed by the practitioners. Four interesting bioinspired cases are demonstrated: (1) lotus-inspired façade paint, (2) camel-inspired cooling system, (3) sponge-inspired mechanically robust lattice, and (4) squid-inspired thermoregulatory material. These examples are evaluated with Life’s Principles to get to know whether the nature sustainability patterns are integrated. Our findings indicate that the four cases have several features in common regarding the potential sustainability contributions. All of four designs are resource efficient and able to adapt to changing conditions. We assume that the similarity between the four cases is due to the attention of the practitioners. The function and efficiency of the innovations may be commonly emphasized, and thus results in some sustainability contributions. However, regarding the sustainability of the innovations, many other aspects need to be assessed. The sustainability of the materials was not considered by the practitioners yet. The innovations, therefore, are not considered to be fully sustainable. We suggest that the evaluation of the synthesis and recycling processes of the materials can be an effective and feasible step in future work.