Another speaker mentioned that there is a relatively small group of people promoting green buildings. However Ben Bronsema is one of them. Do try this at home is the perfect theme for him. Because Ben Bronsema does not only have a dream, he also has a plan. Anyone who owns a building is kindly invited to connect to Ben Bronsema to ‘try this at home’ and turn the building into a mini power plant.
Ben Bronsema’s late wife is his inspiration. She is the one who told him: “your job is your passion, your life and your joy. This is your purpose in life when I am no longer here”.
Ben Bronsema has had a hard and difficult life working on air-conditioning systems as they are not liked by anyone. People don’t like the noise, the draft or high energy usage and they complain about the air quality. Getting his ideas from the inner workings of termite hills can’t have been a pleasure either. But he stuck with it and it worked.
He got a government grand to do research, put together a team and a plan. What they came up with first were computer models but also mock ups also proved their theories. By using earth wind and fire not only can you create air-conditioning systems that people will like. Buildings can become small scale power plants. Following the biomimicry principle Ben Bronsema and his team designed vents. Some (but not all) of the principles he used: wind blowing into the facade is caught and directed to enter the building. It is then used for the air-conditioning and wind turbines. Sun shines into the sun chimney. There is heat recovery at the top of the chimney and water is heated up and stored in the soil. There is a climate cascade that sprays water , it cools in summer and heats in winter. The only (!) energy that is needed is for one pump to keep the system working. A building does not only has fresh air and climate controlled offices or rooms but produces its own power. All is needed is a small social innovation. An architect and engineer shaking hands.
The Bronsema principle is based on both a social and technical innovation. I am confident that Ben Bronsema will be there when the first architects and engineers shake hands and his dream will be realized. When climate design will be integrated in an architectural object.
written by Jessica van den Doel, 4 October 2013