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Matt Power

As a veteran reporter, Matt Power has covered virtually every aspect of design and construction. His award-winning articles often tackle tough environmental challenges in a way that makes them relevant to both professionals and end users. An expert on both building science and green building, he has a long history of asking hard questions--and adding depth and context as he unfolds complex issues.

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Recent Posts

Trends Toward Extremes (both large and small) in New Home Sizes Reflect the Economic Realities of U.S. Buyers

Posted by Matt Power

Feb 26, 2015 2:18:00 PM

The news about home building these days seems conflicted between the ever-growing trend toward tiny house living and the return of the McMansion. But both sync up perfectly with demographic trends.

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10 Steps Forward: Best Green Building Innovations of the Past Decade

Posted by Matt Power

Feb 22, 2015 8:09:00 PM

In celebration of our 10th anniversary—here are our picks for some of the most important innovations to hit the mainstream of the building industry.

GREEN IS A VAGUE WORD, one that’s often overused and misused. But it’s still arguably the term that consumers relate most to conserving water, energy, biodiversity and raw resources. And when you dig deep enough, these are the “deep green” concerns—the issues likely to impact human survival. On the next tier are “medium green” issues that affect human health: air quality, water purity and so on. In the “light green” arena, I would relegate issues such as plant efficiency and packaging reduction. That’s because, as important as these efforts are, simply making a production facility more efficient does not necessarily mean it will use fewer resources or more recycled material. Often, any decrease in impact is lost as the facility ramps up volume.

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The Building Industry: Better with Age

Posted by Matt Power

Feb 22, 2015 6:51:18 PM

This year’s building show attendees—and product offerings—show a  level of maturity not dreamed of by their predecessors.

HOMEBUILDING AND REMODELINGS are not what they used to be—and that’s good news. I’ve been attending the annual International Builders’ Show (IBS) every year for the past 20 years, and I can honestly say this one was different. It’s not the venue, although the exhibits are generally classier—no piles of cigarette butts next to half-naked women on exercise bikes this year. It’s certainly not the food.

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Survey Shows that Recent Homebuyers Have Their Green Priorities Right

Posted by Matt Power

Feb 22, 2015 5:05:00 PM

Results show a savvy understanding about the "big ticket" energy users in the home.

RUMORS THAT THE PUBLIC DOESN'T UNDERSTAND GREEN are greatly exaggerated. That's the takeaway from a new National Association of Realtors nationwide survey of homeowner attitudes.The survey was sent to 72,000 home buyers who purchased a home between July 2013 and June 2014, with a 9.2% response rate. Of course,

View the Full NAR research presentation
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Lawns Are Not Carbon Neutral, Contrary to Industry Claims

Posted by Matt Power

Feb 17, 2015 12:22:33 PM

When you look at the entire yard maintenance impact, lawns don't counterract the CO2 pollution they absorb.

ACCORDING TO LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT SUE REED, author of Energy Wise Landscape Design, the results of one study from 2008, titled  “Technical Assessment of the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Managed Turfgrass in the United States,” has been taken as gospel by major chemical and equipment producers. It suggested that “well-managed lawns capture four times more carbon from the air than is produced by today’s typical lawnmower.”

This would be good news for all involved, if it were the complete story, but as Reed points out (link below), the study ignores the big picture of lawn chemical additives and maintenance. The uncounted environmental costs include:

  • Manufacture and Transport of Fertilizers and Weed Killers
  • Irrigation and Watering
  • Manufacture of Mowers, Edgers and other Equipment
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