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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. Matt is a founding member of the Tiny House Industry Association, and sits on the board of The Resilience Hub, an educational organization focused on permaculture and hands-on reskilling.

http://www.greenbuildermedia.com

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Recent Posts

3 Reasons Not to Use Plastic Instead of Housewrap

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Sep 21, 2020 5:23:27 PM

Decades of research on how buildings function explain why synthetic housewrap long ago replaced polyethylene as a building material.

Walking through a historic section of Portland, Maine, this week, I noticed this grand old house, wrapped in polyethylene (sheet plastic). Why, I wondered, would anyone in the 21st Century still use this product in this way?

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How to Pick the Right Housewrap

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Aug 21, 2020 11:43:06 AM

Here’s how to select the best high-performance building wrap.

The best housewrap manages water and air infiltration within exterior wall systems. Choose a product that is tear-resistant and designed to withstand heavy winds and jobsite rigors. The product should also offer superior surfactant resistance to minimize water penetration and should incorporate UV inhibitors into its coating and fibers.

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Remodeling Rises as Industry Stalwarts Rally

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Aug 20, 2020 12:23:18 PM

Interest in remodeling is protecting the shelter industry from COVID-19’s worst outcomes. Meanwhile, a few manufacturers are getting serious about reducing CO2 impacts for future resilience.

If you’re like me, you’ve done a lot of deferred maintenance over the weeks and months of COVID-19 lockdowns—replacing appliances, putting in new ventilation, fixing broken faucets and addressing nagging issues with how space is organized and used.

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Roads Made with Recycled Plastic Bottles a Game Changer

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Aug 11, 2020 1:23:33 PM

Adding plastic from 150,000 bottles per lane, per mile, to old pavement, this company claims their repaving lasts 2-3 times longer than standard road improvements.

A new technology from a company called Technisoil Industrial, based in Redding, Calif., is pilot testing pavement made with recycled post-consumer plastic waste. They call the material G5 Binder.

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Insulation R-Values Chart and Buyer Guide

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Aug 10, 2020 6:30:48 PM

Choosing the best insulation isn’t as simple as comparing R-value, however. Spot and seal any leaks for best results.

You’re eager to improve the comfort of your home, and R-value, you’ve been told, is your first stop. Here’s the chart you’re looking for, but before you choose a product strictly on R-value, read on.

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Before You Mitigate Radon, Consider Your Spray Foam Insulation Options

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 31, 2020 3:38:38 PM

Research shows that closed-cell spray foam insulation creates a highly effective barrier against radon gas in both new and remodeled homes.

More than half of the United States has a problem with invisible radon gas in buildings. 

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Maverick No More

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 28, 2020 1:01:06 PM

The rise of net zero housing will likely accelerate in wake of the pandemic.

The net zero energy building (NZEB) movement has hit critical mass. After decades of being considered a fringe goal and showcased in the media as maverick, net zero housing has earned its place in the mainstream. It’s slated to become the way all homes will be built in the near future.

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Saved by (Net) Zero

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 27, 2020 5:03:12 PM

When people stay at home, energy efficiency is a must. Builder Wayne Turett came to that conclusion several years ago.

You wouldn’t think there would be much of a link between COVID-19 and the way a house is built. But spend a couple of months inside a home with an outdated ventilation system or decaying windows and you might change your mind—both in terms of comfort, as the weather warms, and finances, when you get your power bills.

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Tiny RV Home Sales Boom in Florida as Pandemic Rages

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 20, 2020 12:56:11 PM

Turnkey models of a hybrid RV-tiny home, priced at about $45,000, appeal to urbanites fleeing Covid-19 ravaged urban centers.

Editor’s Note: The release reprinted below describes an RV-tiny house hybrid. It should be noted, however, that an RV and a tiny home are not always synonymous. This hybrid definition works well for places like Florida, which tend to have relaxed (or rarely enforced) rules about full-time living in RVs or travel trailers (many places do not allow full-time RV living). 

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Remove the Bad Septic Odor From Your Home for About $100

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 7, 2020 8:55:36 AM

What causes foul odors from septic systems to enter a home? A failed sink or toilet trap could be the cause. But older homes on slabs sometimes have failed J-shaped traps buried below the slab. Here are 7 easy steps to depressurize the system and clear the air.

During the long months of the Covid-19 lockdowns, my septic system odors became progressively worse. I noticed they would creep inside my home whenever I ran the kitchen range hood or turned on the dryer.

But also just randomly on hot days the odor would get bad. I was worried. It’s coronavirus world. How could I spend $10,000 on a new septic system, an alternative septic system, or a sub-slab excavation right now, when we don’t know yet if we’ll have an economy in two years?

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Three Keys to Reducing Airborne Covid-19 in Elementary Schools

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 5, 2020 3:46:40 AM

How can we make the return to kindergarten or elementary school safer during the pandemic? Ventilate, filter and humidify to optimal levels.

BASED ON WHAT WE KNOW about the coronavirus, no child will be 100 percent safe going back into an enclosed classroom in the U.S., even if PPEs and social distancing rules are strictly followed. Enclosed spaces without proper ventilation create ideal conditions for coronavirus spread.

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New Study Finds U.S. Real Estate at Far Higher Risk of Flooding than FEMA Estimates

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 2, 2020 12:51:16 PM

A non-profit’s report heightens the urgent need for more resilient housing.  Many regions, including Washington D.C., are likely to face extreme flooding over the next few years--far worse than their FEMA designation.

The First Street Foundations studied FEMA designated flood areas of interest, and found that the government has vastly underestimated the real risk.

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As Lockdowns End, How Will Kitchens Change?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jun 25, 2020 2:45:12 PM

Months of lockdown laid bare the flaws in many a kitchen’s design and functionality. Will tedium, time wasting and poor appliance performance lead to upgrades or avoidance?

Americans have a complex relationship with cooking. About half say they enjoy it. Others have re-discovered it as a way to reduce anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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