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Beware These 3 Expensive Ventilation System Scams

 
wave ventilation system crawl space model

How much does an exhaust fan cost? Search online and you can find lots of them that move 200 cubic feet per minute (cfm) for $100 to $150. But, if you put one in a semi-attractive (emphasis on the "semi") package, create some fancy marketing materials, and target people who don't know much building science, you can charge $1200 to $1700 for that same fan. At least that seems to be the business plan for these three companies.

Why Is This Obsolete Supply-Only Ventilation Method Still Used?

 
ventilation duct outdoor air return plenum

The small duct in the photo below is supposed to bring in outdoor air for ventilation in this new home.  It's a simple method that consists of a duct running from an outdoor wall cap to the return plenum of the HVAC system. A decade ago, it was commonly recommended as the easiest and least expensive way to ventilate a home in a humid climate. When I worked at Southface, however, we made the transition away from it for some very good reasons.

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The #1 Reason Power Attic Ventilators Don't Help

 
power attic ventilator fan gable vent

Three years ago I wrote an article titled, Don’t Let Your Attic Suck - Power Attic Ventilators Are a Bad Idea. Nearly a hundred thousand page views and 93 comments later, it's still generating lots of heat. I don't know why so many people are so defensive about power attic ventilators, but here are a few of the things they've said to me in the comments:

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.

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.

4 Smart Building Science Learning Opportunities for You

 
aci affordable comfort national conference detroit 2014

If you work in the fields of home building, home improvement, or HVAC and want to do the best work you can, you know that you've got to keep learning. Not only is there a tremendous amount to know, but things are always changing. Here are four great opportunities for you to continue your building science education.

The Ventilation Debate Continues: Interview with Dr. Iain Walker

 
iain walker lawrence berkeley national lab lbnl

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).

Can Occupants Be Trusted to Control Their Home's Ventilation System?

 
ventilation eco touch controller fantech

One of the points of contention in the great ventilation debate is whether a home's occupants should control their own ventilation systems. The issue came up again in my article last week, Does a Gas Furnace Dry Out the Air in Your Home? I wrote that occupants should have control of their ventilation system and experiment with the rate to help prevent drying out the air by diluting it with too much cold, dry outdoor air. Paul Raymer, a friend and member of the ASHRAE 62.2 committee, then questioned me on that:

Building Science Schmilding Science; Let's Do Things Right in 2014

 
Encapsulated crawl space in South Carolina

We're a few days into 2014 now. A lot of homes got built last year, and a lot got renovated, too. Quite a few homes got home energy ratings, and even more had blower door tests. Spray foam attics and encapsulated crawl spaces also grew in popularity. Since the economy is heating up a bit, the numbers will probably be higher this year. But are things improving?

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.

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