Energy Vanguard Blog

3 Cool Videos about Hydrophilic, Hydrophobic, & Hygroscopic Materials

Posted by Allison Bailes on Wed, Jul 1, 2015

As long as we're exploring the wonderful world of water, we ought to show some of the cool stuff it does. In my article Introduction to the Physics of Water in Porous Materials, I described hydrophilic, hydrophobic, and hygroscopic materials. Turns out they're pretty important to building science. Yesterday I saw a video of hydrophobic sand and that got me looking on Youtube for other good videos of this sort.

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Tags: fun, building science

17 Reasons I Love Working with Buildings

Posted by Allison Bailes on Mon, Jun 29, 2015

Yesterday I had lunch with Robert Bean and Eric Griffin at the ASHRAE conference here in Atlanta. As we talked about how we got into the field of building science, I began thinking of the reasons I love doing what I do. My background is physics, and I really enjoyed teaching it when I was in academia, but I didn't really fit in there. When I discovered building science (and later blogging), I finally found my niche. Here's why:

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Tags: fun, design, education, business, comfort, indoor air quality, environment & sustainability, big picture, creativity, health & safety, blogging

The Paranormal - Building Science Nexus

Posted by Allison Bailes on Fri, Apr 10, 2015

Have you seen ghosts? Ever been in a haunted house? Do some homes just give you the paranormal heebie jeebies? The building science ghostbusters are hot on the trail, so you may be able to set your mind at ease.

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Tags: fun, indoor air quality, moisture problems, health & safety

7 Reasons to Go to the ACI National Home Performance Conference

Posted by Allison Bailes on Fri, Apr 3, 2015

The ACI National Home Performance Conference is only a month away. Even more important, the deadline to get the Early Bird rate on the registration fee is Monday, 6 April. If you work on homes, this conference is for you. Here are 7 reasons why.

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Tags: fun, education, conferences

A New Way to Cool Your Attic - Powered Attic Mini-Split Heat Pumps

Posted by Allison Bailes on Wed, Apr 1, 2015

Move over powered attic ventilator. There's a new boss in town. For decades, concerned homeowners have looked for ways to keep their attics cool: gable vents, ridge vents, turtlebacks and whirlybirds. Then they moved from passive to active and latched onto the powered attic ventilator. Now we don't have to settle for a technology that pulls conditioned air up from the house.

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Tags: fun, attic, heating & cooling

The Energy Vanguard Blog Turns 5

Posted by Allison Bailes on Mon, Mar 9, 2015

On Saturday, the Energy Vanguard Blog turned 5 years old. It's been an interesting and rewarding journey, and I'm really glad I sat down and started doing it in early March 2010.

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Tags: fun, education, creativity

Insulation to Go - Creativity in the Attic

Posted by Allison Bailes on Tue, Oct 7, 2014

Someone got creative with their attic insulation!

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Tags: fun, insulation, attic, creativity

4 Ventilation Quotes That Will Rock Your IAQ World

Posted by Allison Bailes on Thu, Jul 31, 2014

I've been writing some articles on ventilation for the Journal of Light Construction lately and have come across some great material. The first quote here makes the point about indoor air quality with a graphic underwear metaphor. It's from an 1893 book whose author was a medical doctor interested in ventilation to prevent diseases like phthisis (what we now call tuberculosis).

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Tags: fun, indoor air quality, health & safety, ventilation

Fermi Problems, Blower Doors, and the Compressibility of Air

Posted by Allison Bailes on Wed, Jul 9, 2014

Enrico Fermi was famous for many things, as you might expect of one of the smartest physicists of the 20th century. Quantum theory,  statistical mechanics, and nuclear physics were his primary subjects, but what I appreciate most about him was what are called Fermi Problems. He had an amazing ability to come up with estimates for questions for which he had little or no real data.

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Tags: fun, big picture, diagnostic/performance testing

The James Brown Blower Door Video

Posted by Allison Bailes on Thu, May 8, 2014

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.

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Tags: fun, diagnostic/performance testing