The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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Posted by Allison Bailes on May 25, 2017
When it comes to heating and cooling homes, forced air distribution is king. Yeah, my Canadian friend Robert Bean of Healthy Heating pushes radiant for both heating and cooling, and my Texas friend Kristof Irwin drank that koolaid and installed what may be the first radiant cooling system in Texas...
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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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Home energy quiz from the US Dept. of Energy
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 4, 2017
I found this little quiz on Twitter the other day. I got 9 correct out of 12, but I'd like to dispute one of my wrong answers. One of the answers surprised me. And I was glad to see one of them support an article I wrote in 2014. If you want to take the quiz before reading my quick take on it, go...
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Condensation on the insulation jacket of a duct running through a crawl space
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 14, 2017
Water vapor from the air condenses on air conditioning ducts in humid climates. It's as normal as poorly insulated bonus rooms making occupants uncomfortable or cigarettes causing lung cancer†. Condensation on ducts is most common in crawl spaces and basements, where the air is more likely to have...
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This heat recovery ventilator is inside the building enclosure
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 10, 2017
If you've been hanging around here for a while, you know I encourage architects and builders to find a way to get the ductwork and heating and cooling systems inside the conditioned space of a home. In cold climates, this usually happens without much argument. In hot and warm climates, we're not...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on October 14, 2016
There's really no end to the fun stuff you find when looking at furnace & air conditioner filters. Here are a few of my favorites for this Fall Friday.
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Posted by Allison Bailes on September 7, 2016
There's a ton of new construction and remodeling going on in Atlanta. On a lot near where I live, a developer tore down the old house and is building two new ones. This weekend, I took the opportunity to check out their progress on the first one and saw the mechanical system roughed in on the first...
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disconnected duct unbalanced supply leakage
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 30, 2016
A lot of discoveries and research work over the past four decades have led to our current understanding of air leakage in buildings. I’ll mention a few here, but I want to focus on one: the MAD AIR paper by John Tooley and Neil Moyer. The full title of the paper was, Mechanical Air Distribution And...
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New home installation with sagging flex duct
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 23, 2016
Last month while I was in Austin, homebuilder extraordinaire Matt Risinger gave me a tour of some of his projects. Afterward I wrote about something I saw on his new home construction site that was a sign of a good duct installer. Today I bring you a few photos that are signs of a bad duct...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on May 25, 2016
The word "interstitial" comes up occasionally in building science discussions. I think I've heard it a couple of times at conferences just in the past month. That may be because Joe Lstiburek was there. He's the guy who used that word 127 times in his doctoral dissertation, Toward an Understanding...
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