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Energy Vanguard Blog

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RESNET Bungles the Adoption of Combustion Safety Testing

 
resnet hers rater combustion safety testing

At the 2012 RESNET conference in Austin, most of the HERS trainers in attendance at the trainers roundtable wanted combustion safety testing added to the list of skills required to be a certified home energy (HERS) rater. Really, what we wanted was not to have two separate certification tracks for HERS raters. Two years later, it's clear that RESNET staff, Board of Directors, and the Training & Education committee blew it.

Is It Time To Give Up On High-Performance Homes?

 
high performance home comfort health iaq durability efficiency

To those of us in the industry, the term 'high-performance home' has a clear definition. It's one with a good building enclosure. That is, it's airtight and insulated well. It has properly sized, installed, and commissioned heating and air conditioning systems, including the distribution side. Because it's airtight, it also has mechanical ventilation. The result is a home that's comfortable, healthful, durable, and energy efficient. Apparently that's not good enough.

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A Pi Day Physics Lesson on the Induction Cooktop — With Dancing!

 
appliance induction cooktop physics energy efficient indoor air quality

Today is Pi Day, named for that special number, 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288... The three dots at the end mean that I've exhausted my memory of the digits of pi, but pi doesn't care. It just goes on and on. Anyway, Pi Day is a perfect day for a physics lesson because so many physics equations (and solutions) use that special number. And what better physics lesson for Pi Day than one about a device that cooks yummy things for us!

The Ventilation Debate Continues: Interview with Dr. Iain Walker

 
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The debate over how much to ventilate a home has been going on a long time. Last year, Building Science Corporation introduced their own standard to compete against ASHRAE 62.2 because of problems they felt weren't adequately addressed in the ASHRAE standard. I've written about the standard and interviewed Dr. Joseph Lstiburek and ASHRAE 62.2 committee chair Paul Francisco (links at bottom).

A Home Performance Trailer as Good as Pap-Paw's Truck

 
bailes electric truck leesville louisiana

The truck below is the one I spent my teenage summers in and around when I worked for my grandfather, the most senior of the Allison Arthur Baileses. It was a great truck and had almost everything on it that we'd need for a day doing electrical, plumbing, or air conditioning work in Leesville, Louisiana. Pap-paw knew how to outfit a truck to make Bailes Electric as efficient as possible. Recently, I saw something that reminded me of that old truck.

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The North American Passive House Conference Is in San Francisco

 
PHIUS North American Passive House Conference

The 9th annual North American Passive House Conference will be in San Francisco, California on 10-14 September 2014. Confused? Maybe you heard that the North American Passive House Conference will be in Portland, Maine on 22-23 September. What's going on here?

4 Ways a Bad Duct System Can Lead to Poor Indoor Air Quality

 
A leaky return duct can suck in a lot of bad air and distribute it throughout your home.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a big deal. It doesn't get near as much attention as energy efficiency or green building programs, but it should be one of the highest priorities for anyone who lives in a home. It's actually part of an even bigger deal called indoor environmental quality (IEQ), but I'm just going to focus on IAQ here as I show you four ways your ducts might be hurting your indoor air quality.

The Stack Effect in Plastic

 
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It was the stack effect that led me to Building Science Fight Club. I wrote about it two years ago and all hell broke loose in the comments, especially in the version I posted at Green Building Advisor. People get passionate about their building science, ya know.

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Why Are Heat Pumps So Dumb About Frost?

 
heat pump frost defrost cycle outdoor coil

Heat pumps can get frosty when they run in heating mode. It doesn't happen all that often, but it's a fact of life when you're trying to extract heat from cold, outdoor air. Sometimes the outdoor coil goes below the dew point, and frost results. There's nothing wrong with that. Every heat pump comes with a built-in defrost system so it will keep running smoothly. Unfortunately, the defrost system in most heat pumps is just plain dumb. And fortunately, I have a smart friend named Mike MacFarland who's come up with a way to overcome that liability.

John Krigger: Effective Combustion Safety and Efficiency Testing

 
combustion safety test vent outdoors john krigger

Guest post by John Krigger. Last week I wrote an article on combustion safety testing based on the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab work mentioned below and opened the article with a reference to a discussion I'd had with John last year. I revised the article to remove that reference because it was really a different topic and also didn't represent John's views fully. With this article, which first appeared in his blog 5 January 2014, he explains what he thinks we should do with combustion safety.

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