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Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

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

Study: Total Energy Created by Solar Panels Has More Than Compensated for CO2 from Fossil Fuel Used in Their Manufacture

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 3, 2017 11:11:07 AM

One of the few criticisms of photovoltaic panels has been put to rest by a new study that looks at total energy output from solar 1975-2014, compared with the oil used to make them.

Here's an excerpt:

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States That Ignore Energy Codes Could Be Making A Fatal Mistake

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 2, 2017 1:27:41 PM

Wild variations in the jet stream are pushing colder air south, where homes are poorly insulated, and scientists say this may be the tip of the iceberg.

ONE OF THE GREAT PLEASURES of living in places such as North Carolina and Northern Florida is the temperate climate. I've lived in both places, each time in a cinder-block ranch with no insulation, aluminum window frames and central air conditioning and baseboard electric radiators. The Florida home even had jalousied windows, little more than a translucent shutter system. But that was 20 years ago. And things are changing in a way that none of us could have anticipated. It's possible that much of the United States could be facing a "big chill."

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Green Builder’s Top Ten Blogs of 2016

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 2, 2017 10:44:50 AM

From big picture politics to front-yard curb appeal, our readers left behind an intriguing record of their interests and concerns, but somehow they all fit together.

1. Hillary Clinton's Unforgiveable Sin: Fracking the World

Our story on Hilary Clinton’s efforts to strong-arm fracking operations into many parts of the world during her tenure as Secretary of State apparently hit a nerve with readers. Of course, timing is everything, and this story had almost a whole year of non-stop campaigning to help it build up steam. While we certainly didn’t endorse Trump’s candidacy, we made it clear that choosing the democratic candidate would not ensure any sort of progressive action on Climate Change. READ THE BLOG

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3BL Media Puts a New Spin on Corporate Greenwashing and Censorship

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 2, 2017 8:00:00 AM

A paid distributor of "news," 3BL Media now runs cover for some of the worst environmental offenders, including Nestle and Monsanto.

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Video: Preparing for Climate Change in New England

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 19, 2016 9:24:50 PM

This lecture by climate scientist Dr. Cameron Wake reviews recent climate data, and offers both a prognosis and possible mitigation options for cities in New England facing sea level rise and other major impacts.

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Peace Is in the Details of Home Design and Construction

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 7, 2016 10:16:32 AM

By designing our homes as sustainable “havens,” we can create a ripple effect.

Few people of any political disposition would disagree with the idea that self-sufficiency, moderation and reduced waste are desirable benchmarks. Fortunately, when we talk about home design and construction, we can lean heavily on the facts of building science—not emotion—to achieve those goals.

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Orlando Climate Symposium Offers a Life Raft in a Sea of Climate Denialism

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Nov 17, 2016 11:20:59 AM

If we can talk about climate change, smart cities and saving the world’s oceans in Florida during Trump’s first month in office, there’s hope for the rest of the United States.

Many of my New England friends don’t like Florida.

They see it as sprawl-ridden den of fast-food joints, pawn shops and used car dealers. But as former Floridian, I love the sunshine state, despite (or perhaps because of) its many fault lines. You can’t generalize Florida. It’s a place of contradictory ideas and demographics, a microcosm of the United States, where residents self identify and settle by age, race, religious and ethnic orientation.

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Anti-Solar Pundits Delight in Problems with the First Solar Road Rollout, But History is Replete with Premature Gloating

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Oct 28, 2016 12:56:37 PM

The folks at Solar Roadways had a bad week last week, as the first pilot test of their power-generating panels failed on several levels. But the "gotcha" commentary from status quo bloggers is simply another attempt to hold back history.

It's a little known fact that Thomas Edison made thousands of unsuccesful attempts to create a working light bulb:

"Before I got through, I tested no fewer than 6,000 vegetable growths, and ransacked the world for the most suitable filament material. The electric light has caused me the greatest amount of study and has required the most elaborate experiments," he wrote. "I was never myself discouraged, or inclined to be hopeless of success. I cannot say the same for all my associates."

ACCORDING TO A YOUNG, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST named Andrew Follett, one attempt  is all you get when trying to invent a solar roadway. Fail, and you'll deserve a scathing review about your "epic failure." Thomas Edison would have laughed at such nonsense. Before we accept such smug diatribes against solar entrepeneurs, we need to assess the source of the criticism. Simply because content is printed with a byline on the Internet doesn't mean that it's credible journalism.

Follet is fanatically devoted to defending the status quo. A true believer in so called "American exceptionalism," he's written about how America isn't keeping up with Russia in developing more nuclear plants ("Experts Admit US Nuclear Power Program Way Behind Russia’s"), how fracking wastewater is "96% natural," i.e., not risky to human health, and how  "Fracking Has ‘Little To No Impact On Wildlife," and even found it necessary to argue that  "Global Warming Doesn't Actually Cause Wars," Oh, and he also dislikes wind energy, penning other "gotcha" pieces such as: "Pricey wind turbine only powered eight homes."

Who or what is The Daily Caller? Google describes it as "a politically conservative American news and opinion website based in Washington, D.C.. It was founded by Tucker Carlson, a libertarian conservative political pundit, and Neil Patel, former adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney."

That's right. Dick Cheney. Halliburton Gas & Oil. Need we say more?

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White Paper: Formaldehyde from Building Products Can Offgass for Years

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Oct 21, 2016 8:45:19 AM

Researching on indoor air pollution recently, I discovered this study from 2005 on the "half-life" of formaldehyde in homes, based on the age of the house and the types of materials used. It makes for thought-provoking reading. Here's the abstract and a link:

"Decay is the decrease in formaldehyde concentrations in homes or the decrease in emissions from formaldehyde containing products over time. The decrease in formaldehyde concentrations over time (decay) in home studies is typically determined by associating formaldehyde concentrations by home age. The average half life in such studies is highly variable, varying from about 1 year to more than 20 years, depending on the nature of the home population under study and other factors.

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Will the Other Bill McKibbens Please Stand Up?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Sep 26, 2016 2:19:18 PM

Its time for everyday climate heroes in the building industry to lead by example.

WHY IS THERE ONLY ONE BILL MCKIBBEN? If you’re holding a conference on saving the world, who comes to mind as a keynote speaker? Bill McKibben. If you wrote a book about living more simply, who will sing its praises on the back cover? Bill McKibben.
You might start to think that Bill McKibben the only person on Earth who has anything wise, or prescient, or quotable to say about saving ourselves from ourselves. That’s not true, of course.

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Minnesota Solar Non-Profit Rreal Hosts Local Gala to Raise Money for Low-Income Solar Installations

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Sep 14, 2016 9:54:56 AM

The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance is doing good work, combining a positive mission with renewable energy and now, beer. What's not to like?

I visited with Jay Edens, director of Rreal on a trip to the midwest last month. Edens has created an unlikely oasis of solar hope (i know that sounds cliche', but it's simply true) in the middle of rural Minnesota. Pine River. Population 900 plus or minus. The organization runs several different types of projects, from solar furnaces (wall-mounted passive solar heat) for low-income families on energy assistance (LIHEAP) to PV installations for community centers to educational outreach.

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Solar PV Cheaper to Install on New Production Homes than Retrofits

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Aug 28, 2016 9:27:29 PM

The report found clear advantages in an economy of scale, especially for large volume builders.

Key Findings:

•  PV systems installed in new construction tend to be small and have high incidence of premium modules (top chart)

•  Nevertheless, residential new construction systems in CA were $0.5/W less than retrofits in 2015.

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Is the Urban Land Institute Seriously Trotting Out George W. Bush to Talk About Economic Growth and Technology?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Aug 26, 2016 9:09:06 PM

When Obama took office, "Dubya" quietly slinked off into the shadows, with disapproval ratings in the 64 percent range. Now ULI is bringing him back.

Reading the lineup for the next ULI conference, I had to do a major double take.

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