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Energy Vanguard Blog

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US Department of Energy Reveals Net Zero Mass/Energy House

 
net zero mass energy house antimatter

Net zero energy homes, which produce as much energy as they use, are all the rage in the world of green building. Environmentalists and hippies have taken that a step further and proposed net zero water and net zero food homes. Now, researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, under orders from their funders at the US Department of Energy to "be more practical and do something useful," have unlocked the secret to using antimatter in building materials. The result is the Net Zero Mass/Energy Home, which could revolutionize the construction industry.

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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!

Ice Spikes, Building Science, & Sci-Fi Movies — A Little Friday Fun

 
water ice cube bizarre property

I love bizarre stuff. I love science. When those two come together, it's almost better than ice cream. And speaking of ice, that's what I'm talking about. Wednesday morning, I filled my orange silicone ice cube tray with tap water. When I opened the freezer that evening, I thought maybe I had interrupted something. Take a look at the photo below, and you'll see what I mean.

The Mixed-Up IAQ and Infiltration Blues

 
Eric Werling sings the Mixed-up IAQ and Infiltration Blues

I've been on the road this week. I flew to Chicago on Tuesday and gave two presentations at the Better Buildings: Better Business conference put on by the Energy Center of Wisconsin. After I was done there on Wednesday, I flew to Massachusetts, where I attended the second day of Building Science Corporation's Experts' Session. (Click the link to download the presentations.) Joe Lstiburek spoke the whole day about ventilation. At the end of the day, though, we got a little surprise.

A First Sentence to Rival Gabriel García Márquez's Firing Squad

 

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." Thus opens Gabriel García Márquez's classic work of literature, One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's the most memorable first sentence of any book I've ever read.

A Halloween Homage to Those Things That Live—and Die—in Our Homes

 
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Whether you live in a single-family detached house, duplex, condo, or apartment, we all have something in common: We share our homes with other animals. They crawl in from below, squeeze in through the sides, or fly in at the top. Sometimes they die within, as did this bird in a Poe-esque attic in Ohio. (Thanks to Nate Adams of Energy Smart Home Performance for this spooky photo!)

Snakes in an Attic — The Ductopus's Cousin Strangles Bath Fans

 
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Neville poked his head up through the scuttle hole into the attic and surveyed the situation. Troy immediately heard a scream erupt and had to get out of the way as Neville quickly jumped down off the ladder.

My Interview with the Inventor of the Turbo Thermo-Encabulator Max

 
joe lstiburek allison bailes turbo thermo encabulator max video interview

You may not realize that among his many other accomplishments, Dr. Joseph Lstiburek, the well known building scientist and Canadian firebrand, invented the Turbo Thermo-Encabulator Max. He's tried to keep this secret and you won't find anything about it on Building Science Corporation's website. I've known about it for a while, though, and I was perfectly content to keep it a secret...until last week.

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Breaking News: Tea Party Successful in Outlawing Insulation

 
insulation outlaw ban tea party april fool day

Hidden deep within the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act, recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, is a provision that outlaws insulation in all new buildings. Citing its potential as both a cause of pandemics and an all-hazard, the bill's authors concluded that insulation is a national security threat and must therefore be banned.

Surrealistic Home Performance Q&A Inspired By A Chicken

 
surreal chicken home performance questions

Last night, I was reading Surrealizations: The Gospel According To Chicken* before I went to sleep. That's always dangerous and liberating, but one question he raised got me to thinking about all of the imaginary home performance questions I'm bombarded with, so today I'll tackle a few. But first I'll start with Chicken's question about his ceiling fan.

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