Breezy addition keeps cool in Melbournes summers with smart passive design

March 16, 2017 by  
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Sustainability and a tight budget were the driving features for this bright and airy lean-to extension to a detached 1960s home. Designed by Warc Studio , the timber-and-glass addition houses a spacious open-plan living area, dining space, and kitchen that connect to a rear garden. To meet sustainability requirements, the architects used locally and sustainably sourced timber, stressed resource efficiency , and promoted natural cooling with operable window openings and solar shading fins. Located in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh, Australia, the new addition was inspired by the mono-pitched lean-to structures prevalent to the homes in the area. The architects put a modern twist on the seemingly ubiquitous building structure by combining two gabled roofs with differing gradients. “The design program was driven by resource efficiency which was essential to delivering both economic and sustainable objectives,” wrote the architects. “The resulting roof form provides a compact building envelope: the surface area of the additions are around 12% less than if a flat roof / flat ceiling solution had been employed with the same built volume. This in turn translates to increased efficiency of the thermal envelope and reduced capital material consumption.” Related: Old bungalow transformed into a light-filled dwelling with recycled brick Large windows open the new addition up to views and natural light , reducing reliance on artificial lighting. To mitigate solar heat gain, the architects strategically placed window openings and an automated operable roof window for cross-ventilation . Laminated timber fins jut out from the glass panes to provide shade. The roof is lined with white steel sheet lining to minimize solar heat gain. + Warc Studio Via ArchDaily Images © Aaron Pocock

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Breezy addition keeps cool in Melbournes summers with smart passive design

First fluorescent frog in the world found in South America

March 16, 2017 by  
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Scientists found the first fluorescent frog in the world – by accident – in South America . Researchers at Buenos Aires’ Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum stumbled across the discovery while studying pigment in polka dot tree frogs, which are common in the continent. Beneath an ultraviolet (UV) light , the otherwise dull-colored frog glows bright blue and green. Fluorescence – or the ability to take in light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths – is found in several ocean creatures but is incredibly rare on land. Only some scorpions and parrots were known to possess it until now, and this is the very first amphibian we’ve found that fluoresces. Scientists don’t really know why creatures are fluorescent; they could be communicating, attracting mates, or concealing themselves. Related: Biofluorescent sharks glow bright green in the depths of the sea The scientists initially thought the frog might glow a faint red because it contains the pigment biliverdin, which gives some some insects a slight red fluorescence. But when the researchers shone a UVA flashlight on polka dot tree frogs that came from the Santa Fe, Argentina area, they were amazed to see the brown-green frogs glow bright green and blue instead. The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published their research on March 13. Study co-author Maria Gabriella Lagoria told Chemistry World, “This is very different from fluorophores found in other vertebrates, which are usually proteins or polyenic chains.” And there could be even more fluorescent frogs that we haven’t discovered yet. Co-author Julián Faivovich told Nature, “I’m really hoping that other colleagues will be very interested in this phenomenon, and they will start carrying a UV flashlight to the field.” He plans to seek fluorescence in 250 other tree frog species that have translucent skin like the polka dot tree frog. Via Nature and The Guardian Images via Carlos Taboada et al

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First fluorescent frog in the world found in South America

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