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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

Food Security Without Hoarding is Possible

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 30, 2020 7:48:46 AM

Recent weeks have shown how dependence on corporate food chains can quickly fail us. Why not create a safety net of abundance for every home?

DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION of the 1930s, rural dwellers in some parts of the country continued life more or less as usual. For families used to growing and putting away their own food, running out of food wasn’t a constant fear. Cash was scarce, sure, but the Depression meant something different than it did for city dwellers, who were spending hours of anxious waiting in food lines.

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How to Filter COVID-19 from Indoor Air

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 24, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Effectively removing viral particles from your home atmosphere is tricky. Success depends on the speed of airflow, filter size, dispersion, and a little luck.

YOU'RE PROBABLY WONDERING if your HEPA or MERV air filters will protect you and your family from spreading Coronavirus around the house.

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Why Awards Still Matter

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 11, 2020 12:38:47 PM

They’re more than just a pat on the back—they steer the industry.

It’s easy to become cynical in these times of information overload. Does anyone really care about awards anymore? Aren’t we all so busy that we barely take time to look up from our phones and email and bills to applaud someone else’s success?

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To House the Many, We Need Smarter Data

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Nov 27, 2019 1:12:59 PM

A perfect storm of labor, regulatory, land and materials costs have crushed the housing market to half its former size. Can data transparency revive the boom times?

Builders often take the heat for high housing costs. But often, they’re playing the role of reactors, not actors. That’s not to say there aren’t some operators out there who ask too much in terms of margins and do inferior work that’s destined to cause heartache for homeowners.
But by and large, these are not the readers of Green Builder. What’s facing our sector—the high-performance segment of the homebuilding industry—are powerful external forces, including labor shortages, radical tariffs on lumber, a dysfunctional lending system and populations migrating toward urban hubs.

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The All-Electric Home Has Arrived

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Oct 3, 2019 10:13:21 AM

It’s no coincidence that housing’s transition from fossil fuel-based heating and appliances to all electric concurs with the dropping per-watt cost of renewable energy.

I read recently that the city of San Luis Obispo, in Central California, is considering rewriting its building codes to support all-electric living. New homeowners will have to pay extra to install gas appliances, stoves, heater and dryers—and that money will be put toward carbon offsets. The goal is to help the city reach carbon neutrality by 2035.

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Feeling Down? Try Some Actual Reality

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Aug 8, 2019 11:01:45 AM

Today’s many man-made crises can be addressed, but not if we listen to hucksters and sociopaths.

More often than not, predictions about the future get it wrong. As recently as the late 1960s, when the population was 3 billion, author Paul Ehrlich’s warnings predicted in The Population Bomb that humans would overwhelm Earth’s resources within 10 years, leading to vast famines, war and collapse. We’d be living in a “Soylent Green” world, eating each other to survive.

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Staying Home: A Look at Assisted Living Technology

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jun 18, 2019 3:26:42 PM

The baby boomer generation has entered the period of life when it needs assistance to live comfortably and independently. Just in time, assisted living technology could offer a pathway to what boomers want most.

Chances are, you’ve already encountered the reality of aging in America, through a family member or on your own. And unless you’re very wealthy or live on a commune, it’s far worse than what you expected.

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Builders: Put Green-Shaming Housing Maps to Good Use

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

May 24, 2019 9:26:32 AM

Sharing utility bills in public maps creates peer pressure among neighboring properties. Why not become an equalizer?

Human nature is  a fickle thing. Builders with good intentions with regard to housing performance and sustainability often run up against would-be homeowners who care about little other than square footage and countertop materials. For years, those of us in the "green" camp of construction have sought the magic bullets that will convert everyone to the side of conservation and responsibility. To date, our strongest allies have probably been the ever tightening parameters of building codes. The time is rapidly approaching when no new home in the U.S. will be built with less than Net Zero-plus performance.

In the meantime, however, we have roughly 130 million existing homes in need of performance upgrades, and with the advent of certain new technology, these under-performing homes, for better or worse, will have no place to hide.

This technology is data sharing via interactive maps.

For example, Gainesville, Florida, has launched a Beta website called Gainesville-Green.com that publishes the relative energy used by different house parcels in the same neighborhood. This interactive mapping system allows homeowners, utilities and city officials to quickly identify individual homes and entire neighborhoods that use a lot more power than their neighbors.

Peer pressure from neighbors has historically proven an effective method of getting people to tighten up. According to Popular Science, studies by Opower and other organizations have shown significant reduction in energy use by neighbors, when presented with the fact that their neighbors are doing upgrades.


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Assisted Living Technology: Urgency and Empathy

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

May 23, 2019 1:37:23 PM

Making the lives of seniors better offers technology firms a priceless objective.

Often, the dark side of technology seems to outweigh its value. Too late, for example, are we learning about Facebook’s role in spreading hate speech, fueling conspiracies and generating false news. Watch a few episodes of “Black Mirror” and you’ll see many examples of technology’s disruptive potential. But does technology have to careen out of control?

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Fire Risks Make the Switch to Mineral Wool Exteriors Urgent

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Apr 24, 2019 10:42:20 AM

Recent disastrous fires and changing codes suggest that rigid foam cladding is too risky, but mineral wool can fill the void.

Since the catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in the UK in June of 2017, questions about the safety of cladding commercial structures with rigid foam continue to arise. To be clear, concerns about low-rise residential properties seem less urgent. The issue is whether structures that contain large number of people—apartment buildings, office complexes, schools and hospitals-- are put in harm’s way by continuous rigid foam-based cladding.

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Brand Excellence vs Brand Arrogance

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Apr 11, 2019 11:10:12 AM

Trusted companies that listen closely to their customers improve products rapidly.

What makes a great brand, when it comes to earning and keeping the mental space of sustainability? Let me give you two examples: Owens Corning and TOTO.

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Lowes Fails the Customer Service Litmus Test

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 27, 2019 8:39:17 PM

When employees lack the flexibility to fix customer issues on the fly, corporate should bear the blame.

Box stores such as Lowes want a lot. They want to “own” the DIY consumer market, but also to gain the loyalty of building pros. But here’s a message for all of the suits at Lowes, who set the mission statements, goals and employee handbooks. No customer should ever leave the store fuming, as I did today.

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Engineering With Heart

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 1, 2019 12:31:42 PM

Bringing building science and beauty together doesn’t happen accidentally.

It’s very easy to go wrong. I think of my poor neighbor, who remuddled together some cliché ideas about luxury with efficiency upgrades, festooning his bright and airy apartment building with dark wood floors, crypt-like basement bedrooms, and over-the-top moldings and cabinetry, to end up with a colorless, gloomy space with the feng shui of a hotel lobby.

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