Before you think further about solar panels you might look into this incredible resource…



Sustainable architecture refers to buildings designed to limit humanity’s impact on the environment. An eco-friendly approach to modern-day building encompasses every aspect of the planning and construction process, including the choice of building materials; the design and implementation of heating, cooling, plumbing, waste, and ventilation systems; and the integration of the built environment into the natural landscape.

Many of the practices and principles used in sustainable architecture are rooted in ancient building techniques, that were transformed with the rise of modern materials and mass production in the industrial age. The modern consciousness about the need for sustainable architecture can be traced back over 50 years to the anniversary of the first Earth Day, the international environmental movement, and the ensuing legislation that it sparked across the globe.

But the world is now in the midst of a climate change emergency, and many of the environmental laws that were passed in the last 50 years have been rolled back making it even more imperative for designers, architects, builders, and consumers to demand better building practices to help combat the damage caused by one of the most polluting industries on the planet. In the United States, for example, buildings account for 39 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

It is equally incumbent upon municipalities to strengthen their building codes to require more net-zero buildings, both residential and commercial.  As more and more municipalities shift to electricity from fossil fuels to energize their buildings, it will become critical to expand the availability of renewable energy to pump into that electricity.


Biden administration to require more efficient window air conditioners, air cleaners

By Rachel Frazin 03/23/23
The Biden administration is finalizing more stringent efficiency requirements for both window air conditioners and portable air cleaners on Thursday, the first set of efficiency standards that are new and not just a reversal of…
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New Skyscraper, Built to Be an Environmental Marvel, Is Already Dated

By Ben Ryder Howe 02/14/23
One Vanderbilt, a commanding new skyscraper in the heart of Manhattan, seems to be reaching for the future. One of the world’s tallest buildings, it pierces the sky like an inverted icicle and fuses seamlessly…
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Does Your Home Have Backup Power? We Want to Hear From You.

By Peter Eavis 02/08/23
Sales of generators and home batteries are up as people look to protect themselves from power outages, which are becoming more common....
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Here’s 3 Ways To Cut The Carbon Out Of Cement Right Now

By Mike Scott 02/07/23
Concrete is not just the most common man-made material on earth, and the most widely used material after water, it is also one of the most polluting when it comes to carbon emissions.
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Heat pumps are defying Maine’s winters and oil industry pushback

By Anna Phillips 02/07/23
The video starts with a Maine radio show host dressed in a bright red jumpsuit walking through the snow to a stranger’s door and delighting her with an offer of free heating oil. “My name’s…
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We Earthlings: Make the Switch to LED Light Bulbs

By Earth911 02/07/23
“If every American home replaced just one light bulb with one LED bulb that has earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save about $580 million in energy costs and prevent 7 billion pounds of greenhouse…
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Zero Energy Ready Homes Are Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

Alejandro Moreno is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
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This Maine home can stay 70 degrees without a furnace, even when it’s freezing outside

By Keith Shortall 01/25/23
What if you could design a house that on a cold day in January would stay at 70 degrees inside — without running the furnace? Or even having a furnace? It's already being done. In…
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Why everyone is going to need a heat pump

By Robert Gebelhoff 01/04/23
The bad: You’re going to want to replace that system with heat pumps eventually, and it might be expensive. The good: The government can help you, and the change will have huge benefits for you…
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The Key to Green Building Is to Use Less Stuff

By Lloyd Alter 12/21/22
Making cement emits a lot of carbon dioxide: Every year more than four billion tons of cement are used to build highways, bridges, apartments, and office buildings. Steel is just as bad, with 1.6 billion…
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Indoor Living Walls Can Boost The Health Of Workers, Study Finds

By Jamie Hailstone 12/08/22
Air-circulating indoor green or living walls can improve the skin quality and immune system of office workers in less than a month, according to a new study. The study by Finnish scientists is first of…
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EPA to further slash emissions from climate super-pollutants

By Allyson Chiu 10/20/22
The latest actions aim to reduce emissions from chemicals that can be thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide in warming the planet.
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EEBA's mission is to advance the leading edge of building science knowledge and sustainable business practices in the residential construction community through education, sharing and collaboration. Together let's build healthy, electric, resilient, and decarbonized homes!

Energy Efficient Building Suppliers Make It Easy

Energy-efficient building is much more than a fleeting trend: Around the world, the negative effects of climate change can no longer be ignored, from rising global temperatures to poor air quality caused by pollution. According…

How solar power works

Solar energy is quickly becoming a more popular and affordable power source for homeowners and businesses. With residential solar energy, you can lower your carbon footprint and see substantial cost savings.

creating safe, healthy & affordable communities through all-electric, Clean energy ​homes & buildings

The Building Decarbonization Coalition unites building industry stakeholders with energy providers, environmental organizations and local governments to power our nation's homes and workspaces with clean energy.

Infographic: Top 10 States for LEED in 2021

The ranking highlights U.S. leaders in sustainable design, construction and operation of buildings. Now in its 12th year, the annual Top 10 States for LEED list is based on the gross square footage of LEED-certified…

Beware of the Red List – Top Materials to Avoid in Your Home

“The Red List” might sound like something from the Cold War. But the Red List has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with chemistry. The Red List is actually a list of…

The Promise of Carbon-Neutral Steel

teel production accounts for around seven per cent of humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions. There are two reasons for this startling fact. First, steel is made using metallurgic methods that our Iron Age forebears would find familiar;…

Buildings and Climate Change

Buildings Account for 39% of CO2 emissions in the United States The commercial and residential building sector accounts for 39% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States per year, more than any other…

Facts about the Climate Emergency

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide an objective source of scientific information on climate change.

Sustainable Design

Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize…

Visualizing Our City’s Energy Use

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation used the City of Pittsburgh to create a model built upon the design, materials and purpose of commercial…

Achieving zero carbon through design and planning

A carbon neutral built environment begins with design and planning. Architecture 2030 is dedicated to empowering this sector to meet the 2030 Challenge targets and achieve a carbon neutral built environment by 2040. Architecture 2030…

The Six Disabled Veteran Housing Los Angeles, CA

The SIX is a 52-unit affordable housing project provides a home, support services and rehabilitation for disabled veterans. It is located in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles. McArthur Park has one of the…

2020 COTE® Top Ten Awards

The 2020 COTE® Top Ten program highlights projects that meet the AIA Committee on the Environment's rigorous criteria for social, economic, and ecological value. The COTE® Top Ten Plus designation denotes projects with exemplary performance…

Stone Edge Farm

Imagine a lush, self-sustaining island that generates clean electricity, grows organic food and wine grapes, re-uses water, and creates fuel for zero emission vehicles.

Global Warming Has Concrete Problem When It Comes to CO2

Concrete is a major contributor to the climate crisis because its production releases huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and methane are the two greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming.

LEED v4.1 Cities and Communities

A new way forward for resilient, green, inclusive and smart cities, LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities provides cities and communities with a globally consistent way to measure and communicate performance. LEED v4.1 expands…

A Pocket Guide to All-Electric Retrofits of Single-Family Homes

Welcome! This booklet is intended to be a simple “how-to” guide to help homeowners, home renters, utilities and policy makers who want to replace existing gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives, many of which are…

Green Infrastructure

Integrated Planning for Your Community's Future

California Solar Data Current Through: Q4 2019

California has the largest solar market in the U.S. and has been a longtime champion of solar because of the many economic and environmental benefits it provides, including $57 billion in investment in the state.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) develops and protects the market by increasing the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs, green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education,…

AIA: The 2030 Commitment

The mission of the AIA 2030 Commitment is to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data-driven. By prioritizing energy performance, participating firms can…

Zero Net Energy Buildings with Zero Net Added Cost

Would you consider making your next home or building project a zero energy project? If the net added cost to you was also zero, would you be more interested? Most people would. It’s possible to…

Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is changing the way we think about how buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated. Leaders around the world have made LEED the most widely…


DuPont Introduces HFC-Free Spray Foam Insulation

By Lloyd Alter   05/13/21  
DuPont introduced a new version of its spray polyurethane foam insulation that is HFC-free. This is a big step for the climate and a big step in building. There are two major sources of greenhouse…
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Electrification, not efficiency, should be climate policy focus for buildings

By Michael Barnard   05/09/21  
For well over a year, I’ve been pulling on a specific thread of CO2e emissions reductions related to existing building stock. Back in September of 2019, I did an assessment of efficiency vs electrification gains…
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AIA Committee on the Environment Awards Turns 25

By Lloyd Alter   04/26/21  
In 1997, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) debuted its award program to honor projects that deliver both quality design and environmental performance. At the time, many thought sustainable design…
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Alumni Spotlight on Eric Liftin: The Future of Sustainable Building in NYC

By Yale Herald   04/22/21  
Eric Liftin, TC ’90, founded MESH Architectures—a New York–based residential and commercial architecture firm—in 1997, a few years after graduating with a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University. With countless projects in his robust portfolio,…
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Electric heat pumps: An unsung hero in the fight against climate change

By Josh Chetwynd   04/21/21  
When discussions of a clean energy future come up with friends, they often gravitate to questions about fancy technology. What kind of battery storage do we need to support wind and solar? How efficient can…
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Do Your Green Check!

By Meg Garabrant   04/16/21  
Selling homes is all about showing the value of the home to potential buyers. That new modern kitchen? It’s fairly easy for buyers to see, real estate brokers to sell, and appraisers to value. Conversely,…
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Heat pumps have big climate benefits

By Michael Barnard   04/15/21  
There are almost 5 million commercial buildings in the USA, and another 500,000 or so in Canada. The median size of these buildings is only 5,000 square feet, or about about 465 square meters. And…
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The 10 Best Places to Buy Sustainable Home Decor in 2021

By Madeleine Burry   04/14/21  
Finding items to furnish and decorate your home is easy—there are countless big box stores and online retailers. But this task gets trickier if you’re invested in selecting sustainable pieces of decor that won’t compromise natural resources…
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An alternative to expensive home renovations: Shipping containers

By Alexa Gagosz   04/05/21  
During the pandemic, homes became multi-functional spaces: With people working and children studying from home, traditional living areas were transformed into offices, classrooms, and quarantining quarters. Andrew Naperotic and his wife were both attempting to…
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Triple Net-Zero Development Going Up in Albany

By Lloyd Alter   03/28/21  
According to Garrison Architects, The Seventy-Six is the first "triple net-zero (energy, water and waste) housing development in the United States."1 But the firm's new project in Albany, New York is a lot more than…
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It’s Not So Hard to Build Quality Housing, Just Follow the Recipe

By Lloyd Alter   03/17/21  
The standard trope is that building healthy, ultra-efficient housing is expensive and difficult, and that the houses are not attractive. Oh, and they can be stuffy and dark inside thanks to teensy windows. None of…
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What’s A Passive Solar House?

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss   03/05/21  
A passive solar house is typically designed from scratch factoring in several considerations to boost the structure’s ability to naturally keep the interior living spaces a comfortable air temperature without using conventional emissions-spewing HVAC appliances.
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The battle over climate change is boiling over on the home front

By Steven Mufson   02/23/21  
Municipalities want new buildings to go all electric, spurning gas-fired stoves and heating systems. The gas industry disagrees
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Seattle bans natural gas in new buildings

By John Ryan   02/02/21  
The city of Seattle has banned most uses of fossil fuels in new buildings. The ban on appliances like gas furnaces and gas water heaters in new construction is part of a revised energy code…
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Solar panels, digital tech, green roofs: How buildings are changing

By Anmar Frangoul   01/27/21  
In the future, buildings will need to be functional, eye-catching and sustainable.
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A new initiative could make cities more biodiverse: Here’s how

By Børge Brende and Ivan Duque   01/27/21  
The need to transform the relationship between cities and nature has become ever more urgent. Over half of the world’s population lives in cities, with an estimated 1.5 million additional people per week expected to…
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Linear City Proposed as ‘Solution To Our Ecological Problems’

By Liyod Alter   01/14/21  
Like Chambless a hundred years earlier, Gauthier puts the transport system at the bottom, but in three layers: a local metro/subway, a regular train, and then a TGV (train à grande vitesse, or high-speed train)…
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As priorities shift, world’s largest cement firm inks $3.4 billion deal to focus on solar, green roofs

By Anmar Frangoul   01/11/21  
Cement maker LafargeHolcim has agreed to buy specialist roofing company Firestone Building Products for $3.4 billion, in the latest example of shifting priorities within the building industry.
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Decarbonizing cities – how to harmonize buildings, mobility and infrastructure

By Francesco Starace and Jean-Pascal Tricoire   01/11/21  
An integrated approach is needed to fully decarbonize cities. Digitalization across buildings, mobility and energy infrastructure is key to achieving net zero carbon. Decarbonizing cities will not just benefit the environment, but also the jobs…
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We can’t tackle the climate change crisis without changing construction. Here’s why

Thin Lei Win   01/04/21  
Planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from buildings and construction are jeopardising global goals to keep devastating climate change at bay, a U.N.-backed coalition warned, after data showed they hit an all-time high in 2019.
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This company is making building tiles out of polluted air

Isabelle Gerretsen   01/03/21  
Determined to make construction more sustainable and tackle India's air pollution, Sidnal launched Carbon Craft Design in 2019. The startup takes black carbon extracted from polluted air and upcycles it to make stylish, handcrafted building…
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Green buildings ‘unheralded hero’ in emissions fight, experts say

By Chris Teale   12/10/20  
President-elect Joe Biden's plan to upgrade the buildings sector and make it more energy efficient could be critical to help fight the effects of climate change, elected officials said Wednesday during a webinar hosted by…
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Outdoor Heaters Seem Like a Huge Waste. Are They Really?

By Susan Shain   11/25/20  
It’s getting chilly out there. And whether you’re hosting an alfresco Thanksgiving celebration or just trying not to freeze while working from home, you may be curious about the best way to heat yourself, but…
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Philadelphia architecture firm installs wild solar project to maximize onsite power production

By Billy Ludt   11/10/20  
Solar systems are predominantly installed on rooftops in urban settings, where open land is scarce but multi-level buildings are aplenty. Often, the roof space on these structures isn’t large enough to host solar systems that…
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Lessons From Livermore: Look at the Big Picture to Figure Out Where We Have to Go

By Lloyd Alter   08/13/20  
Every year when I start teaching my course in Sustainable Design at Ryerson University School of Interior Design, I start with the latest Sankey diagram or flow chart from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and…
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Generac, the Backup Generator Giant, Launches Souped-Up Home Solar-Storage System

By Jeff St. John   08/10/20  
Solar-battery systems may be useful for providing backup power during power outages. But many of the systems on the market today don’t pack enough punch to start up power-hungry air conditioner or pumps, or store…
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‘Climate Pledge Arena’ Will Be The Name Of Amazon’s New Seattle Sports Center

By Ken Silverstein   07/06/20  
When companies commit to reducing their carbon footprints, they do so either to meet regulatory obligations, bolster their images with customers, or because it makes financial sense. But oftentimes those efforts seem amorphous and they…
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Retrofitting homes, small businesses for clean energy appliances will stimulate economy and fight climate change

By Srinidhi Sampath Kumar and Panama Bartholomy   06/26/20  
As California grapples with grim economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must work together to craft an economic response that meets the significance of this moment.
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Buildings consume lots of energy – here’s how to design whole communities that give back as much as they take

By Charles F. Kutscher   05/26/20  
Although the coronavirus pandemic has dominated recent headlines, climate change hasn’t gone away. Many experts are calling for a “green” economic recovery that directs investments into low-carbon energy sources and technologies.
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The Underground Solution To Climate Change

Geothermal is the renewable source of heating, cooling, and power that no one is talking about. Learn more about The Geothermal Exchange Organization and their Geothermal For All Campaign here.
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Pittsburgh’s 2030 District includes 556 buildings that are greatly reducing energy usage. It’s healthier for all of us.

By Michael Machosky   05/13/20  
ittsburgh’s buildings are not only getting more energy- and cost-efficient, they’re also getting healthier, which benefits us all. Since it launched in 2012, the Pittsburgh 2030 District has aimed “to commit commercial buildings in the…
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Critical mass: Can low-carbon wood construction catch on in the U.S.?

By Lisa Provost   04/22/20  
In Boston, two firms designing affordable housing using cross-laminated timber hope it can be replicated elsewhere.
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Denmark Took a Mountain of Trash and Made a Ski Hill

By Tom Vanderbilt   02/13/20  
On a cold, windy December day in Denmark, Amager Bakke might look, at least through severely fogged goggles, like any other ski slope. Near the top, helmeted skiers slalom down steep black-diamond runs, while at…
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NYC’s roofs are getting a sustainable makeover

By Cailley LaPara   01/22/20  
It's been two months since New York's Sustainable Roof Laws, part of the Climate Mobilization Act, took effect. Now architects and officials must decide: Are green roof systems or solar systems best?
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The super-cool materials that send heat to space

By XiaoZhi Lim   12/31/19  
Paints, plastics and even wood can be engineered to stay cool in direct sunlight — but their role in displacing power-hungry air conditioners remains unclear.
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Green roof law repealed, replaced in Denver

By Katie Pyzyk   12/20/19  
The Denver City Council unanimously voted to repeal and replace its green roof law that required rooftop greenery on buildings larger than 25,000 square feet, according to The Denver Post. The revised law instead will…
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All New Rooftops Must Be Covered in Plants or Solar Panels in France

By Sara Burrows   11/12/19  
Frances’s new “green roof” law is cooling city streets, cutting heating and air conditioning costs, reducing water and air pollution, providing local, organic food and ecosystems for birds, bees and hundreds of other species
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Green Buildings Are the New Thing, But What About Green Construction Sites?

By Roy Berendsohn   10/31/19  
15 years ago, Milwaukee revolutionized power tools. Can it do the same with construction equipment?
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Buildings are bad for the climate. Here’s what we can do about it.

By Bill Gates   10/28/19  
There are two ways in which buildings are responsible for greenhouse gases. The first is the construction phase: Buildings are made of concrete and steel, both of which produce a lot of emissions when they’re…
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One Thing You Can Do: Consider a Heat Pump

By Tik Root and Nadja Popovich   10/16/19  
It was a long, blistering summer, but many of us will soon be turning the heat back on. That means a lot of greenhouse gas emissions.
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LEED v4.1 Goes Zero

By Bruce Sullivan   09/09/19  
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) is going zero. Their new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification has now reached its fourth version. LEED v4.1’s energy performance prerequisite will be based it on…
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