The grid part II - the golden age of the power industry
Welcome to Part II of our history of the electric power industry. For Part I, see here. By 1930, the US was using 114 billion kilowatt-hours of…
The Birth of the Grid
The day must come when electricity will be for everyone, as the waters of the rivers and the wind of heaven. It should not merely be supplied, but…
Book Review: Healthy Buildings
Healthy Buildings, written by John Macomber and Joseph Allen is, as the title suggests, a book about how buildings affect health. Allen is a former…
Could we stop Yellowstone from erupting with a giant geothermal power plant?
It’s become fairly common knowledge that Yellowstone National Park, in addition to being incredibly beautiful, is sitting on top of an enormous…
How did solar power get cheap part II
(note: all quotes are from Nemet’s How Solar Energy Became Cheap unless otherwise noted.) Welcome to Part II of “How did Solar Power Get Cheap?” To…
How did solar power get cheap? Part I
Solar photovoltaics (PV) have become one of the cheapest sources of electricity. Lazard’s estimate of unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE)
Could ChatGPT become an architect?
OpenAI recently released an updated version of their GPT large language model, GPT-4, and have incorporated it into their ChatGPT chatbot. In case…
Which city builds skyscrapers the fastest?
Last week we looked at trends in skyscraper construction speed for New York and Chicago, finding that New York has gotten significantly slower at…
When did New York start building slowly?
(Note: the analysis below of floor plate size vs construction speed is incorrect due to autocorrelation effects. For a correct analysis, see the…
How much safer has construction gotten?
When talking about (the lack of) construction productivity growth, or the fact that we used to build things much faster than we do today, commentators…
Construction Productivity - Structural Steel
This week we’re continuing our investigation of productivity trends in US construction. We previously looked at single family home construction, and…
The blast furnace - 800 years of technology improvement
The modern world uses shocking amounts of steel - in the US, we make roughly 575 pounds of steel per person per year. At the peak of US steelmaking in…
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