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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

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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New Research: Adding Blinds and Shutters to Old Windows Can Improve Performance 60 Percent.

Posted by Matt Power

Feb 16, 2015 3:29:27 AM

The study of a window dating from the 1880s found that even the most basic repair had a major impact on energy efficiency.

HISTORIC PRESERVATIONISTS, eager to preserve the "look" of old building elevations, undertook this study of antique windows, dating from the 1880s, because too often, new windows are not detailed carefully, and can ruin a home's architectural integrity. They wanted to show that replacement is not the only option. The windows were authentic, recovered from an old ship.

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Study: Tiny Apartments Rent Best

Posted by Matt Power

Feb 1, 2015 6:21:00 PM

The Urban Land Institute's latest research finds that small studio rentals(under 500 sq. ft.) are the most "rentable" properties on the market, especially in the Northeast.

The study, titled "The Macro View on Micro Units," smashed many stereotypes about American shelter preferences. While the NAHB likes to cite the American preference for single-family homes over 2,000 sq. ft., they tend to ignore what has become a major trend: In-migration to compact, urban living.

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Dear Internet of Things: Please Respect My Boundaries

Posted by Matt Power

Jan 27, 2015 2:10:00 PM

We’ve failed miserably in creating boundaries for mobile phones. Let’s make sure the Internet of Things stays in the background, where it belongs.

WE'VE ALL BEEN THERE. You’re having lunch with a friend and he’s suddenly gone bye-bye, texting some distant acquaintance with a tap-tap-tap on his ever-handy smartphone. Maybe (be honest) you’ve been the texter. Then there’s the apology, and the false promise of choice: “I’m sorry; do you mind if I take this?”

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The Promise of Good Ideas

Posted by Matt Power

Dec 6, 2014 5:21:00 AM

Before you say "nothing ever changes," here are five energy and water-saving innovations to be grateful for this holiday season.

EACH YEAR, we update and “remodel” our special Homeowner's Handbook for homeowners and would-be homeowners. (Free download available here). The publication isn’t just for the general public, of course. It’s a tool for green professionals: a free, easy-to-follow how-to guide that can be shared with clients and potential clients, so that they enter the building/remodeling process with a basic understanding of why green building matters—and which systems are critical to a high-performance home.

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