Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

July 14, 2017 by  
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The Bluebonnet Studios social housing development in Austin supports a healthy lifestyle through the design. The property, designed by Forge Craft Architecture + Design , provides housing for the homeless, low-income veterans and local musicians. It features forward-thinking sustainable elements such as recycled and locally-sourced materials, a well insulated envelope, optimal orientation, low-flow fixtures and occupancy sensors. The architects worked with a difficult site and a very tight budget, which required a close collaboration between the design, construction, and ownership teams, as well as help of sustainability experts like Pliny Fisk and Jason McLennan . An important aspect of the design was access to natural light , which the team provided by creating a light well that runs through the center of the building. This emphasis on daylight also allows for most of the building to be functional without artificial light in the event of a power outage – including all circulation. Heating and cooling are provided by centralized LG VRF units tied to individual apartment thermostats. Each thermostat is coupled to both window sensors and door-triggered occupancy sensors . All the interior finishes and products were regionally sourced, recycled and healthy. On top of the building, a green space allows for outdoor activities. Related: Top 6 Green Supportive and Low-Income Housing Projects Of the 107 single-occupancy units, 22 are reserved for the area’s homeless and low-income veterans, while five are dedicated to local musicians. Each resident received a small package of tools, including a recycling bin, recycling magnet, green cleaning recipes, and recommendations for conservative thermostat settings to help residents keep their homes green. Additionally, a green housekeeping program provides a dispensing station with Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals for maintenance staff and janitorial contractors. + Forge Craft Architecture + Design Photos by Paul Bardagjy

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Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

Tardigrades will be the last surviving creatures on earth after the sun dies

July 14, 2017 by  
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In the event that Earth is struck by an asteroid , the sun goes supernova or the planet is soaked in gamma ray bursts in an extreme energetic explosion, the last surviving creatures won’t be cockroaches – they will be tardigrades. Oxford University researchers recently discovered this after exposing the microscopic water bears to the only astrophysical phenomena likely to eradicate life on Earth . Not only did the team learn that the tardigrade can endure temperature extremes of up to 150°C (302°F), they discovered that the eight-legged animals can resist radiation levels of 5000 to 6200 Gy (around the dose used in some forms of chemotherapy), making them the most indestructible creatures on this rock. Dr. Rafael Alves Batista, a researcher at the department of physics at Oxford University, told the Daily Mail that the goal was to “study what is necessary to kill all life, not just humans. Batista added that the scientists were pleasantly surprised to learn that the water bear is incredibly resilient to most threats. Co-author of the study, Dr. David Sloan, wrote: “To our surprise, we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. Therefore it seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely.” Related: Water bear brought back to life after being frozen for 30 years Unlike humans, the tardigrade is extremely durable. As previously mentioned, the animals are resistant to high levels of radiation and can endure astronomically high temperatures. Additionally, the water bears were once frozen for thirty years, thawed out and were found to still be alive . Said Batista, “Without our technology protecting us, humans are a very sensitive species. Life on this planet can continue long after humans are gone.” As a result of the findings, the researchers concluded that the water bears could live on Earth for at least ten billion years and would only be wiped out when the sun exploded. “Huge numbers of species, or even entire genera may become extinct, but life as a whole will go on,” said Sloan. Some are unsurprised by the water bear’s hardiness, considering Russia found the species clinging to the International Space Station — alive — even while exposed to the vacuum of space. Regardless, the finding is exciting for scientists who desire to find life on other planets. Said Batista, “Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth, but it is possible that there are other resilient species examples elsewhere in the universe . If Tardigrades are Earth’s most resilient species, who knows what else is out there. There might exist other creatures similar to tardigrade in other places. We have to keep searching.” Sloan added, “Our work suggests that the search for life in such places is justified even if the planet doesn’t seem hospitable.” The study will be published soon in the journal Nature . Via Daily Mail , Engadget Images via Depositphotos 1 , 2 , YouTube , Wikimedia

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Tardigrades will be the last surviving creatures on earth after the sun dies

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