Shading structure that shades as trees do

Lofsee Co., Ltd. sells a product called COMOLEVI “Forest Canopy.” According to their website, COMOLEVI is a Japanese word meaning “sunlight filtering from leaves.” It is modeled on natural tree branches and leaves, and allows the air to pass through while blocking sunlight, thereby providing the same cooling effect as natural shade. The shade, originally called the “Fractal Shade,” was developed by a research team led by Dr. Satoshi Sakai, a professor of Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University. In their experiments, the artificial shade cooled the area it covered by up to 15 degrees Celsius, as compared to sun-exposed ground areas, and the temperature of the shade itself was up to 20 degrees Celsius lower than flat building roofs. The perceived temperature under the shade was two to three degrees Celsius cooler.

Biomimicry Story

Inspired by the fact that the surfaces of leaves are cooler than the ambient air even under direct sunlight, the Kyoto University research team adopted Sierpinski Tetrahedrons, a geometric pattern similar to the structure, a fractal pattern, of natural tree branches and leaves. The result is dappled sunlight as occurs under a forest canopy, with air movement through the “canopy.”Additional source: Kyoto University Develops Artificial Shade Structure Inspired by Natural Trees in Japan For Sustainability.

Challenges Solved

The urban heat island effect is a big concern in urban areas. Deciduous forests are cooler than urban areas, in part because of shading provided by leaves and in part because of evapotranspiration.