Energy Vanguard Blog

The Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS) Launches

Posted by Allison Bailes on Wed, May 4, 2016

The Green Builder Coalition has been working hard on their Water Efficiency Rating Score — the WERS — for homes. The inaugural WERS training happened in Santa Fe, New Mexico in March. I was in that class, and I learned a lot. Now the program, which has been in development for the past couple of years, is ready for prime time.

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Tags: water, environment & sustainability

What's the WERS?

Posted by Allison Bailes on Wed, Feb 17, 2016

Now's your chance. The inaugural train-the-trainer session on the Water Efficiency Rating Score, WERS, is happening in Santa Fe, New Mexico in just three weeks. Mike Collignon from the Green Builder Coalition has been doing an amazing job getting this new program off the ground. Last year I wrote about the pilot they ran in Santa Fe. Now it's going mainstream, and you can be a part of it.

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Tags: education, water

My Top 10 Energy Efficiency Articles and Ideas of 2015

Posted by Allison Bailes on Tue, Dec 29, 2015

The year 2015 is almost finished. I've written 69 articles here in the Energy Vanguard Blog. I've been to a bunch of conferences and talked to a lot of people. A lot of thoughts about building science, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and more have gone through my head. As I sit here at the end of the year looking back on all of it, here's what I see as the best and most interesting stuff I've written about.

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Tags: insulation, spray foam, water, moisture problems, solar energy, electricity

Don't Talk to Me About Vapor Barriers!

Posted by Allison Bailes on Wed, Dec 2, 2015

I was at a meeting recently when the discussion turned to wall assemblies. One of the speakers then asked what we should do about vapor barriers. It's what everyone wants to know, right? Should I use a vapor barrier?  Should I install it on the inside or the outside? But I had a different question for the speaker.

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Tags: water, moisture problems

Accidental Dehumidification - A Preventable Mess

Posted by Allison Bailes on Fri, Nov 20, 2015

"Oops! The house just had an accident. Whose turn is it to clean it up?" Yep. We're entering the season of accidental dehumidification. If you've got windows that start collecting water, like the one shown below, you're a victim of accidental dehumidification. It's not something you want in a building.

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Tags: insulation, air leakage, indoor air quality, water, moisture problems

New Mexico Green Builders Create Water Efficiency Rating System

Posted by Allison Bailes on Wed, Feb 11, 2015

Energy usually gets top billing in the green building community. It has a huge impact on the environment. We sometimes pay a significant amount for it (although most of us don't pay enough to motivate serious change, but that's another story). We can do energy modeling and home energy ratings. Plus, it's just really interesting! But water deserves a lot of attention, too, and green builders in New Mexico are innovating a way to move water to the fore.

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Tags: RESNET/BPI, water, water heating

A Great Success: Classic 1970s Passive Solar Home Turned Net Zero

Posted by Allison Bailes on Thu, Mar 27, 2014

I've been in Lexington, Kentucky this week at the Midwest Residential Energy Conference. It was great! (And I played nice - I didn't mention in any of my talks that I'm a Florida Gator.) One of the many highlights for me was getting to visit Richard "Dick" Levine's 1970s passive solar house. It's not like any other house I've seen, and I've seen other passive solar houses.

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Tags: design, water, environment & sustainability, creativity, solar energy, heating & cooling

6 Materials That Drain the Rain on the Plane and Keep A House Dry

Posted by Allison Bailes on Mon, Jan 27, 2014

Are you ready to take the next step in being a building enclosure control freak? You already know about the 4 types of control layers, so let's go further now and look at the one that controls liquid water. But why should you care? All you gotta do is throw some housewrap on that sucker, right?

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Tags: building enclosure, water, moisture problems

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

Posted by Allison Bailes on Fri, Jan 24, 2014

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.

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Tags: fun, water, moisture problems

Cold Air Is Dry Air

Posted by Allison Bailes on Mon, Dec 9, 2013

Relative humidity is what everyone likes to talk about. It gets the attention, but it can be a bit confusing, especially when the temperatures drop. For example, at one point yesterday, we had a relative humidity (RH) of 97%. Seems humid, eh?

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Tags: air leakage, water