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Energy Vanguard Blog

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A Net Zero Energy Home in a Beautiful Green Community

 
net zero energy house serenbe proud green home imery

I spoke at Serenbe, a beautiful green community southwest of Atlanta, this weekend and got a chance to visit a net zero energy home while there. Built by Luis Imery, one of the home energy raters we're a HERS provider for, the home has garnered quite a bit of recognition. In fact, they recently picked up a pretty big award from Southface.

Fixing an Old House? Follow Einstein's Advice

 
Albert Einstein knew that planning ahead was the key to solving problems.

I get a lot of questions from people asking how they should go about fixing their homes. Sometimes it's specific (What's the best way to insulate my kneewalls?), and sometimes it's a hands up in the air, With all these problems, where do I start?  I'll focus on the latter today and let Albert Einstein provide the guidance you need.

This Little Ventilation Mistake Can Lead to Comfort Problems

 
ventilation energy recovery ventilator erv electronic damper

If you're designing a ventilation system, first you have to determine how much air the house needs. You can use ASHRAE 62.2 or the new BSC-01 for that task. Then you have to decide what type of ventilation system to use: positive pressure, negative pressure, or balanced. In many green homes, the balanced system is becoming a popular choice. I've seen some installations lately, though, that are missing a key component.

Why Do So Many Expensive Homes Get Walmart-Class HVAC Systems?

 
million dollar home crappy hvac wall street journal

The fellow standing in the home he's having built is proud. It's his dream home in Brookline, Massachusetts after all. The Wall Street Journal last week published an article about affluent home buyers getting their own jumbo construction loans to do just as Mr. Deshpande has done. Usually, they hire a home builder to build the home, but if you look at that photo, you'll see a mistake that's common even in million dollar homes.

Advice to Architects: Draw Those Attic Kneewall Sections Right

 
attic kneewall details air barrier insulation

We're working on a project, so we got a set of plans to get started. It includes the attic kneewall and vaulted ceiling section you see below.This is typical of plans that architects draw, and builders build houses this way all the time. Unfortunately, it contains several errors. Can you spot them?

A Surprisingly Common Cause for High Energy Bills

 
small simple home high electricity energy bills strip heat

She lives in a small, simple house in southern Mississippi. It's only 1700 square feet. Why then, she wondered, were her summer electricity bills running more than $600? She didn't have anything that could be a big energy hog, like a swimming pool, and she didn't do stupid things like leave all the doors and windows open while she ran the air conditioner. What could it be?

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Don't Try This Recycling Trick at Home!

 
house all glass front windows repurpose inhabitat

I confess that, back in the '80s, I might have done the same thing this couple did. I remember reading Mother Earth News and Practical Homeowner magazine articles about folks who collected discarded materials to use in their existing homes or to build a new one. Take that man in Colorado, for example, who had a materials stash big enough to build a whole, nice-sized house for only $5000. That was cool! Since then, however, I've learned why I would have regretted building a house resembling what you see below.

Passive House — The Only Place Where Real Innovation Is Happening?

 
passive house conference joe lstiburek opening talk history

Last week, Joe Lstiburek gave the fifth annual twitterview from his crawl space. (When he gets back from sailing this week, Peter Troast of Energy Circle has promised to publish the transcript.) One of the pearls of wisdom dispensed by Joe was that, "Passive House is the only place where real innovation is happening."

Beautiful Duct System in a Beautiful Crawl Space! Was I Dreaming?

 
crawl space duct system moisture mold nasty iaq

I've seen a lot of nasty crawl spaces. I've squirmed through their squalor and squeezed through their narrow confines. Possums, snakes, spiders, and camel crickets have kept me company in the dank, musty underworlds that so many people live above. Moldy joist fur (furry joist mold? joisty mold fur?) doesn't faze me. (That's not to say I haven't had nightmarish experiences.)

The REAL Reason We Need Building Science

 
facebook little girl dancing with art

I LOVE this photo! It has nothing to do with building science. Or does it? As we humans have progressed from living in caves to mud huts to stone buildings to the stick-built structures many of us in the US inhabit now, our lives have changed.

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