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Why Solar Canopies on Parking Lots is a Smart Green Move

This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360. Fly into Orlando, Florida, and you may notice a 22-acre solar power array in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head in a field just west of Disney World. Nearby, Disney also has a 270-acre solar farm of conventional design on former orchard and forest land. Park your car in any of Disney’s 32,000 parking spaces, on the other hand, and you won’t see a canopy overhead generating solar power (or providing shade)—not even if you snag one of the preferred spaces for which visitors pay up to $50 a day. This is…


Kitchen Renovation

In this episode of Job-Site Diaries, remodeler Josh Oduin walks us through his plans for renovating an outdated 1990s kitchen. They include making cabinets more accessible, using modern materials, and moving the cooktop and range hood to a better location. More on kitchen remodels: 10 Things to Consider When Remodeling a Kitchen An updated kitchen can add value and functionality to a house, but the remodeling process can feel daunting. Considering these 10 items early on can help ensure a more successful and speedy remodel. Kitchen Renovation—From Concept to Completion Designer John Kelsey explains his firm’s approach to renovating this…


Collaboration Aims to Get More Skilled Labor Into Construction

An organization that offers online training and another that promotes vocational training and job placement have announced a joint effort designed to expand the pool of skilled labor in the residential construction industry. The collaboration is between the Building Talent Foundation, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C., and M.T. Copeland Technologies, a startup launched in 2020 that markets online courses on topics ranging from cabinetry and drywall to deck-building and plumbing. By combining their specialties, the two organizations hope to give aspiring workers in the construction trades a better shot of landing a job while providing construction companies better access…


Exploring the “Dark Side” of Solar Power

Getting to an all-renewable grid in the U.S. by 2050 is a critical component of achieving the world’s climate goals. Solar energy will be a crucial contributor to that effort. But, there is a “dark side” to solar power and it is increasingly in the news based on a variety of theoretical calculations. The dark side includes the need to trash millions of used, outdated solar panels in landfills. It includes the problem of intermittency, which occurs because solar often produces the most energy when demand is low. And it includes covering tens of thousands of acres of potentially usable…


Embracing a Wetter Future, the Dutch Turn to Floating Homes

This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360. When a heavy storm hit in October, residents of the floating community of Schoonschip in Amsterdam had little doubt they could ride it out. They tied up their bikes and outdoor benches, checked in with neighbors to ensure everyone had enough food and water, and hunkered down as their neighborhood slid up and down its steel foundational pillars, rising along with the water and descending to its original position after the rain subsided. “We feel safer in a storm because we are floating,” said Siti Boelen, a Dutch television producer who moved…


Data Logging: Types of Monitoring

This is the third post in a four-part series covering the topic of data logging in terms of Home Applications, Products and Performance, Types of Monitoring, and Indoor Air Quality. There are sensors and loggers for all kinds of measurements in residential buildings. One of the most useful measurements is wood moisture content. This can be done by measuring portions of a building and/or measuring the wood going into a building during construction. Wood takes up and releases moisture slowly and can be a useful means for monitoring long-term changes in moisture levels within an assembly—typically the thing we’re most…

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