Green Builder Media Logo

WINNER, "BEST WEBSITE," 2015 and 2016 (NAREE)

ABOUT • CONTACT • SUBSCRIBE • ADVERTISE • PRESS ROOM

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.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

New LED Surface-Mounted Downlights Look Exactly Like Recessed Cans

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 12, 2016 9:07:18 AM

At PCBC in June, I got my first look at Halo SLD Surface LED Downlights. The technology has been around a couple of years, but the products keep improving.

Read More

Savage Irony: Alberta Wildfires in Tar Sands Town Tied to Global Warming

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

May 9, 2016 9:12:10 AM

The inferno roaring around the town of Fort McMurray, Alberta,has called attention to the dire impacts we can expect if fossil fuel projects proceed as planned.Photo: Wikimedia Commons

ENVIRONMENTALIST BILL MCKIBBEN, a vocal opponent of the proposed XL Pipeline—originating in the Tar Sands of Canada—has likened the extraction of those dirty fuels to a death blow for the planet, and he's not alone. The major concern is the release of buried methane in the extraction process, but that's just one straw on the climate change camel's back. There's also the burning of the extracted oil, the clearing and burning of forests and so on.

Read More

It Turns Out Steve Jobs was a Supervillain After All

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Apr 14, 2016 1:39:27 PM

A new report from Oxfam shows that Apple has BILLIONS of U.S. tax dollars in offshore accounts.

I remember, a few years back, having a conversation with a friend about whether any industries are really "clean." Sometimes the villains can be recognized quickly. The cigarette industry. The fossil fuel industry. But what about computers? They seem to have had a relatively benign effect on the planet, despite the obvious drawbacks of increased surveillance and loss of privacy.;

With the release of the Panama Papers, however, my original line of questioning, whether the negatives associated with multinational corporations inevitably outweigh their contribution to global well being, seems to have been on track. The bad behavior at the top of the corporate pyramid schemes is more or less universal. Some just hide the skeletons better.

Read More

New Report: Fracking Does Indeed Trigger Earthquakes

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 30, 2016 8:10:35 AM

Contrary to earlier reports denying a connection, the new USGS report says midwest cities are courting seismic disaster by allowing fracking to continue.

Remember back in 2011, when an earthquake centered in Virginia damaged the Washington monument? At the time, there were some anecdotal articles suggesting that fracking activities in the region may have triggered the quake. The reports, however, were mostly ignored, and the frackers went back to business as usual. This was also the period when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was leveraging U.S. fracking operations into other countries around the world. It's little wonder the fracking-earthquake connection was not pursued.

Read More

The Five Best Green Building Ideas This Century (So Far)

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 20, 2016 9:30:00 AM

A lot of the really groundbreaking stuff going on in green building happens behind the walls, so of course you might never notice it.


The building industry is notoriously slow to change, but when the global recession hit a few years ago, smart builders carved a green niche to save their companies. Eco-friendly construction tends to continue, even when times are relatively bad, motivated by the idea of saving money on energy, water, and so on.

What's really changed in the past couple of decades? Here's my short list of some of the best and brightest ideas, and why they matter:

LED Lighting. Finally, we can stop cursing our compact fluorescent lamps. Unlike fluorescent lamps, which rarely live up to their promised of 10,000 hour lifespans, contain enough mercury to classify as hazardous waste and make your complexion look like undead zombie flesh, LED bulbs do it all. They' use a fraction of the energy of a CFL, come in dimmable versions that change color warmly, last up to 50,000 hours, and don't contain mercury. Win, win, win. Another new entry into this category are LED replacement lamps for fluorescent fixtures. This is a major upgrade in terms of both performance and sustainability. The common 4-ft. lamps in fluorescent lamps contain hazardous mercury, and we all know they don't last as long as they should. A comparable LED replacement lamp uses half the power, comes on instantly, and could last 50,000 hours, compared to about 8,000 hours for CFLs.

Read More
facebook twitter youtube linkedin pinterest google
2016 Homeowners Handbook Green Builder
2016 Green Home of the Year Call for Entries

Free Ebook Relief! Easy Steps to An Allergen Free Home

A Guide to Moisture Control on Exterior Wall Applications

Here Comes Sunshine - download the free Ebook

Add a comment...