The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Things we should ban to improve home building in America
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 10, 2017
Let's face it. The state of home building isn't good. Yes, we have building science and energy codes and green building programs out the wazoo. We have cool new products and home energy raters and even Joe Lstiburek. Despite all this, we still have wild ductopuses, holey air barriers, and insipid...
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Stop Plate Tectonics, one of my favorite T-shirts
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 2, 2017
So the United States has announced it's withdrawing from the Paris Accord, the international agreement with nonbinding measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. Now everyone's up in arms, speaking in exasperated tones about the travesty of this decision. "But...but...the science," they...
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Women needed in the building trades, including HVAC design
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 24, 2017
The photo above is from one of the home energy rater classes we taught a few years ago. We had 13 students in that class. Only one was a woman. That ratio actually is comparable to what you see in construction as a whole. According to OSHA (see chart below), about 9% of all workers in construction...
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Lots of snow out West but warmer than usual temperatures in winter 2016-17
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 8, 2017
We've had some beautiful, cool weather here in Atlanta the past couple of days. It's about 50° F outdoors as I write this. The high yesterday was only about 70° F. We're getting a few more heating degree days (HDD) in the middle of May. (Heating degree days are really just another way at looking at...
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loaa 2 insulation blown cellulose complete coverage energy vanguard
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 6, 2016
Everyone knows about the impact of burning fossil fuels on global warming. Maybe not everyone believes it, but scientists first started focusing attention on increasing carbon dioxide levels way back in 1827. The impact of insulation on global warming, however, is relatively new. About a decade ago...
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Stephen Hawking
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 18, 2016
There's big news this week. No, I'm not talking about the delayed opening of ski resorts out West because of the lack of snow. And, believe it or not, it has nothing at all to do with Donald Trump. I'm talking about Stephen Hawking's prediction that we humans have only a thousand years left here on...
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bed-of-nails-physics-class.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 4, 2016
You can go into just about any introductory physics classroom and you'll see that the students learn the same stuff no matter which school they attend. They study forces and motion, momentum and energy, electrostatics, and a host of other physics topics. They do lab experiments. They observe and...
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electrical-grid-transmission-power-lines.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 7, 2016
Like many energy geeks, I track my electricity usage and costs. I've been doing it for decades. (Unlike Danny Orlando, however, I haven't stayed in the same house and watched as the home energy improvements kept lowering that usage.) One thing I've noticed in the past few months is that the...
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photovoltaic-array-solar-electricity-richard-levine-550.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 29, 2016
Solar energy has sex appeal. If you want to show the world you're doing something to reduce pollution, you put photovoltaic (PV) panels on your roof to generate clean electricity. Even better, you drive a plug-in hybrid or an all-electric car and charge your car's batteries with your solar panels....
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Posted by Allison Bailes on July 14, 2016
Every day, I get updates on various energy data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Earlier this week I got one showing the graph below, indicating that energy intensity for the whole world is going down. That's a good thing, so I posted it to my social media networks. It means we'...
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