Energy Vanguard Blog

3 Cool Products I Saw at the Passive House Conference in NYC

Posted by Allison Bailes on Fri, Jul 22, 2016

Last month I attended the conference of the North American Passive House Network in New York City. They had a really nice trade show, and I got to spend some time talking to the vendors. It's always nice to see what's going at these events because I'm starting to come around to Joe Lstiburek's way of thinking. At the 2013 Building Science Summer Camp, he said, "Passive House is the only place where real innovation is happening."

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Tags: conferences, ventilation

The 2018 Building Code Makes a Change in Ventilation

Posted by Allison Bailes on Thu, Jul 21, 2016

Ah, ventilation. One of the easier topics in building science. Everyone agrees: We need airtight houses. Airtight houses need mechanical ventilation. Build tight. Ventilate right. No problem! We're all on board. There's nothing to disagree about. Right?

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Tags: indoor air quality, ventilation

The Great Ventilation Battle Shifts to RESNET

Posted by Allison Bailes on Tue, Jul 5, 2016

Just because I haven't written about the jockeying over ventilation rates and strategies with the ASHRAE 62.2 committee doesn't mean nothing's going on. If you've been following the battle over this issue, you know that Joe Lstiburek, PhD, PE, got fed up with ASHRAE and introduced his own ventilation "standard" in 2013. Then the "Great Ventilation Debate" happened in Detroit, and he got back on the ASHRAE 62.2 committee. Stuff happened and now RESNET just put an interesting amendment out for public comment. Follow that?

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Tags: indoor air quality, ventilation

Ventilating High-Rise Multifamily Buildings — A First Look

Posted by Allison Bailes on Tue, Jun 21, 2016

Condominiums and apartments present some serious challenges when it comes to providing ventilation for good indoor air quality. (I live in a condo that was built in 1970 with no whole-house mechanical ventilation, but that's another story.) In high-rise buildings, wind and stack effect often render mechanical ventilation strategies useless, especially for the lower parts of the building. Let's take a look.

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Tags: indoor air quality, ventilation

7 Reasons to Gut Your Bathroom When You Remodel

Posted by Allison Bailes on Tue, May 17, 2016

If your home is old enough for a bathroom renovation, you may want to go ahead and completely gut it. I started my bathroom remodel last month with a complete demolition. If I hadn't, a number of problems would have been unavailable for repair...or even undiscovered. Here's what I found when I opened up the walls and ceiling of my 1970 condo in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

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Tags: ventilation, heating & cooling

Adventures in Hotel Bathroom Ventilation

Posted by Allison Bailes on Mon, Apr 18, 2016

I always look at the bathroom ventilation when I'm staying in hotels. Last month I was at the Air Barrier Association conference in Baltimore and took the photo below. Can you tell anything about what might be happening by looking at it? I didn't do a thorough investigation, but here's what I see.

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Tags: indoor air quality, moisture problems, ventilation

Can You Cool Your Home with Crawl Space Air?

Posted by Allison Bailes on Mon, Feb 1, 2016

I know it's not air conditioning season, but this story is too good to wait until summer rolls around. My friends at E3 Innovate in Nashville — you may remember them for finding the home ventilated with dead possum odors — have done it again. This time they've discovered a crawl space with an unhealthy innovation. Let's take a look at the photos.

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Tags: heating & cooling distribution, crawl space, indoor air quality, ventilation, heating & cooling

Unvented Gas Appliance Industry Falls Flat at ASHRAE Meeting

Posted by Allison Bailes on Mon, Jan 25, 2016

Unvented combustion appliances were added to the scope of ASHRAE's residential ventilation and IAQ standard (Std. 62.2) recently. The committee has begun their deliberations on the issue, and at ASHRAE's winter meeting in Orlando this month, the unvented gas appliance industry folks attempted a defense of their products. Based on the results they presented and the reaction from most committee members, I'd say they failed.

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

What Is the Best Indoor Relative Humidity in Winter?

Posted by Allison Bailes on Wed, Jan 20, 2016

It's been a little crackly around here lately. We're having a cold spell in Atlanta, with high temperatures right around the freezing point. As a result, the indoor relative humidity has dropped and we're getting some static electricity. Even better, what I call the Southern Lights are visible at night, too. (I've never called it that before, but hey, a man named Allison is entitled to make things up on the spot.) That's when the microfiber blanket on the bed lights up every time I move.

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Tags: air leakage, indoor air quality, moisture problems, ventilation

Another Way to Prevent Your Garage from Making You Sick

Posted by Allison Bailes on Fri, Jan 15, 2016

If you have an attached garage where you live, the odds are high that your indoor air quality is worse than a home without an attached garage. Just take a look at the photo below to see some of the sources of pollutants that can get into your home's air. How many do you see?

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Tags: heating & cooling distribution, indoor air quality, water heating, ventilation