Why aren’t our houses hexagons?

Decorative, hex shaped building

I can see the appeal of 90o angles for the practicalities of construction but…

The bees are away ahead of us with the construction of their pantries of honey maximised for storage “It has been proven that making the cells into hexagons is the most efficient shape for using the smallest possible amount of wax to contain the highest volume of honey.”

“A honeycomb constructed from beeswax is a triumph of engineering. It consists of hexagon shaped cylinders (six-sided) that fit naturally side-by-side. It has been proven that making the cells into hexagons is the most efficient shape for using the smallest possible amount of wax to contain the highest volume of honey. It has also been shown to be one of the strongest possible shapes while using the least amount of material.” Bees making wax – This is a great read.

The hexagon also maximise the ‘body’ heat developing larvae get from their companions in adjacent cells. The construction of brood chambers are constructed so that each developing larvae is kept warm by the larvae in the 6 cells around them on the same side of the frame and the three on the other side of the frame backing directly on their cell AND the 6 larvae in cells adjacent to that cell on the rear of the frame.

COSY!

You can see the construction of honeycomb in photo below, on the left see how back-to-back the cells don’t line up but intersect in the centre.  

As for buildings…it can and has been done.

“The hexagonal building has several advantages over traditional rectangular buildings.  The shape is more efficient in terms of

  • space to surface area ratio – There is more usable space inside the building envelope than in a rectangular building.
  • as a result, fewer materials are needed to construct the walls and floors.
  • energy efficiency – the external building envelope has a smaller surface area and so less heat is lost.
  • energy generation – a southern aspect is guaranteed regardless of orientation, with consequent thermal gain and the roof can be oriented optimally for solar panels.
  • flexible use – a large variety of internal divisions are possible and they can be change easily, thus proving adaptable for changing family sizes, or different office uses.

The buildings can be arranged in a variety of shapes, from terraces to blocks of three or four.” Energy Efficient Building

And the Hex House can be assembled in days.

It’s not a new concept for us humans either: the Hexagon House was built 1871-1873.

The bees are still the Masters of Construction and we are only trotting behind them. 

Ah yes, bees are ahead of us in every way, even producing their own building material from gland in their abdomen. Beeswax!

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