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Energy Vanguard Blog

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Hobos in the House - Let the Data Logging Games Begin!

hobos walking on train track

This week we got a box full of hobos delivered to the world headquarters of Energy Vanguard. Well, OK, they weren't the kind of hobos you see at left but actually HOBOs, the data loggers made by Onset, as you see below. Now, the fun begins. Jeffrey, Andy, and I have just started a friendly competition. And I'm planning to crush them!

Stockton Project Demonstrates Huge Home Energy Savings

bruce wilcox john proctor dry climate forum 2014

At the Forum on Dry Climate Home Performance earlier this year, I got to hear three building science experts talk about a really cool research project they've been working on in Stockton, California. Bruce Wilcox, John Proctor, and Rick Chitwood (Wilcox and Proctor shown in photo at left) filled us in on the Stockton project, which now has two years of data and shows some really impressive results.

Curiosity Is the Door to Passion

curiosity passion love

I've been wrong all these years. Even 20+ years ago when I was teaching high school, I was giving out bad advice. Like so many others, I've been telling people to follow their passion. The problem is, that's like telling someone to build a house but giving them only a photo of the front elevation.


What Is the Difference Between Energy Efficiency and Efficacy?

ceiling fan bonus room efficacy vs efficiency

When I was doing research for my recent article on ceiling fans, I noticed that they don't have energy efficiency ratings; they have efficacy ratings. There's certainly confusion in terminology among different sources, but since light bulbs are also described by their efficacy, I started wondering about the term. I'd just accepted it before, with a vague understanding that there was something different about how it was defined. Now I know why.

The James Brown Blower Door Video


Did you know that James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," made a video about doing blower door testing to weatherize homes? Neither did most people, but he certainly did make one. Here it is.

The Great Ventilation Debate - Live at Affordable Comfort!

great ventilation debate ashrae 62.2 panel aci conference

Last week at the Affordable Comfort Conference (also known as ACI), I co-moderated a panel called The Great Ventilation Standard Debate.1 Duncan Prahl of Ibacos proposed the session and rounded up a collection of some of best building science folks in North America to be on the panel. And if you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you know who one of them was.

So Close Yet So Far - The Aqua Tower and Passive House

aqua tower chicago thermal bridge cooling fins

This weekend I got a chance to see Aqua, that oozing projection of glass and thermal bridges in downtown Chicago. I've written about it before because it's such an energy efficiency monstrosity, so of course I had to get some photos of it while I was there.

12 Resources for Learning & Teaching Building Science

HERS rater training pressure testing practice building science education resources

This week at the ACI conference in Detroit, I was part of a session called Speed Dating: Educational Training Tools. It was really fun, with groups of people going to different stations every half hour and getting the scoop on training resources available to them. My job was to show the groups who came to my table web resources. That made it even more fun for me because it meant, unlike J. West, I didn't have to do any preparation! (I also co-moderated a panel on ventilation, with Lstiburek, Francisco, Walker, and other 62.2 members. Look for an article on that next week!)

Does This Harvard Professor Signal Doom for Architecture?

scott hedges tweet hope for architecture 20140426

It started simply enough. I got a tweet (below) directed at me with a link and a request to check it out to see if there's any "hope for architecture." So I did. I clicked the link, and what I found there was a bit jarring. My first thought was, This must be an April Fool's Day joke, right? Sadly, it appears to be real.


What Happens When You Put a Plastic Vapor Barrier in Your Wall?

polyethylene vapor barrier in a wall

A lot of people have heard advice about vapor barriers and vapor retarders. Many of them have walked away confused. A big part of the problem, I think, is that they've been told what to do—"Put it on the warm-in-winter side," or "Never use one"—but they haven't had the physics of what happens explained to them.

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