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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.
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Recent Posts

As Businesses Adjust, Americans Barbecue

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Sep 4, 2018 11:53:25 AM

The old reality seems to be collapsing around us. Can business-style planning convert Neros into Heroes?

It’s easy to give up on our fellow humans these days. We’re killing off most of the other large life forms on Earth. Heat waves, spurred on by runaway climate change, have nearly reached a temperature in Las Vegas where composite plastic decking begins to melt.

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Associations­——The Good, the Backward and the Possible

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 30, 2018 12:19:25 PM

Most building professionals—builders, small architect firms, designers and so on— don’t have enough time left in the day to impact political events, regulatory changes and employee standards on their own. We know, for example, that about half of homebuilders have fewer than 10 employees, and about 80 percent have receipts under $1.5 million. Unlike their big builder brethren—Lennar, Pulte and Toll Brothers, for instance—the little guys don’t have marketing divisions, lobbyists or even HR departments that can spend a week chasing down new labor pools, sending their trades to update classes or even securing better insurance. 

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Align Your Space: How Much Room Do You Need to Be Happy?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jul 12, 2018 3:12:39 PM

The optimal square footage of our homes and apartments is subjective yes, but key variables influence how low you can go.

A RECURRING QUESTION (and criticism) of right-sized, or tiny house, living is whether people can really live comfortably in 88, or 399, or 700 square feet.  What metric should be used to estimate this magic number? An obvious answer is “happiness,” but, surprisingly, it's rarely considered directly when planners and pundits talk about how much living space a person needs..

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When Smart Tech and Building Science Meet, Resilience Happens

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jun 28, 2018 12:20:24 PM

Bridging high and low technology is what today’s innovation looks like.

This year, we had more than twice the number of submissions to our annual “Hot 50” editors’ choice products issue. That’s very encouraging. The building industry has a reputation for being slow to innovate. There’s good reason for that, of course: Builders have been burned many times by adopting new products too quickly, only to find out that they have major flaws.

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Building for the Owner You’ll Never Know

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

May 3, 2018 10:16:24 AM

Award-winning homes begin with an attitude of service.

Back in about 1993, when I met my future friend and colleague Ron Jones, he was building one-off custom homes in Albuquerque for well-heeled clients. At the time, we didn’t use terms such as Net Zero or Passive House. Guys like Ron just knew how to build superior, energy-efficient homes: You use the best available materials and install them with precision and care—always keeping the future well-being of your client and future homeowners in mind.

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Florida's Love Affair with CCA Decking Must End

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 21, 2018 11:28:51 AM

A tour of some of the State’s popular parks—and a bad experience with an old Florida deck—makes the case for composite decking.

I’ve just completed day 10 of a dose of antibiotics.

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The 9-11 That Wobbled

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 20, 2018 9:10:13 AM

Despite near-biblical storm events in Florida and Texas, few seem to take the warning signs seriously.

What would happen if a 16-foot storm surge hit the Tampa Bay, Fla., area? We almost found out on Sept. 11, just a few months ago. But by happenstance, luck or grace, the storm “wobbled” slightly to the east. The big surge never hit, and winds dropped to Category 1. Lives and property were spared.

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The Promise and Pitfalls of Plastics in Construction

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 12, 2018 4:58:43 PM

The world is literally drowning in waste plastics. Can we redirect the stream into long-lasting building materials?

I won’t spend a lot of time elaborating on our global plastic addiction. Suffice it to say, the stuff is taking over. We’ve polluted our oceans and seafood with it, laced our drinking water with it, and are now using (and throwing “away”) more of it than ever. We need an intervention.

Perhaps that intervention could come in the form of an embrace. Given the season of storms and flooding we just experienced, plastic-based building materials are consistently looking better. In the least, we could keep some trash out of landfills and waterways. At best, we might create a whole new way of building, with durable, flood-resistant materials.

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Big Ideas Begin on Your Street

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 16, 2018 10:18:51 AM

Local efforts toward sustainability can yield social and ecological rewards.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an appeal from my local neighborhood association (WENA) to volunteer to build affordable window inserts for my neighbors.

Like many of you, I am wary of small homeowner organizations. They can too easily devolve into anti-change NIMBY groups, or become de facto-style police, controlling everything from mailbox colors to lawn length. But this endeavor seemed legit. So I signed up.

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Can High-Tech Tools Help Crack the Sleep Code?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 26, 2017 4:27:11 PM

Wifi gadgets can make you forget a stressful encounter at work, but they can dim the lights, cue the music, and remind you of the heavens.

Unless you’re 20, have no children, don’t drink coffee or wine, keep your weight down, and have a completely stress-free life, you’ve probably had trouble sleeping.

Insomnia seems to be a condition of modern life. There are many theories about why this is so. We have a whole new list of potential sleep disruptors:  Could it be the processed food in our diets? The pesticides? The electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by our smartphones? How about the fact that two-thirds of us are overweight, a direct route to sleep apnea and other sleep wreckers? Then there’s the effect of looking at video screens all day.

Where do we begin to take back the night?

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Will Virtual Reality Home Schooling Become the New Normal?

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 22, 2017 11:48:38 AM

The thought may strike fear into the hearts of teachers, but it’s a trend with real potential for leveling the educational playing field.

I’ve known many teachers, and they’re among the hardest working, least recognized heroes I know. So it’s not without reservation that I pen this article. But doing some research for our futuristic Flex House project recently, I stumbled into a trend that could quickly grow into a social and cultural game changer.

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Soon,Your Inlaws will Have Their Own Sinister Doorbell Ringtone

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 20, 2017 11:43:43 AM

The convergence of facial recognition with simple Alexa routines offers custom musical responses for your front door.

New technology is just hitting the market that will allow you to trigger different musical alerts based on who’s standing at your door.  It’s not a feature that’s being spelled out by the smart gadget people yet, but it’s one that’s literally on your digital doorstep.

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Smart Water Systems Promise Last Best Defense Against Wildfires

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 13, 2017 4:11:52 PM

The combination of wifi sensors, graywater systems and smart irrigation offers a lifeline for besieged homeowners in parched neighborhoods.

Along with the bigger forces of Climate Change, another contributing factor to the fierce wildfires in California this month has been the dry soil conditions. Light rainfall, combined with heavy use of aquifers by large farms, has created perfect conditions for an inferno.

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