The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Blower door test during a home peformance assessment
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 17, 2017
Dick Kornbluth was an insulation contractor in Syracuse, New York back in the 1970s. Then he discovered home performance. It's really the logical place insulation contractors, HVAC contractors, and similar companies to end up. Rather than doing just one job to make a building better, he did several...
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Missed insulation and air barrier
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 16, 2017
The Atlanta housing market is booming again. I see renovations, infill, and tear-downs all over the place lately. There's a rebuild after tear-down happening now along one of my main walks. You saw a little about it already. Remember that house with the terrible joist blocking to the garage? Well,...
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A difficult air sealing task with garage ceiling joists
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 2, 2017
The I-joists in the photo above run across the top of the wall between the dining room and the garage. In the old days, before anyone worried at all about air moving through those joist cavities, the builder didn't do anything with them. You can see here, though, that the builder knows a thing or...
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humidifier-indoor-humidity-mold.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 14, 2016
It's that time of year when heating systems start coming out of their summer hibernation. (Except maybe in Vermont. Michael Blasnik's Nest data showed that Vermonters are about the last to start heating their homes in Fall.) Then everyone starts looking for their lotion and lip balm. Gaps appear in...
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basement-moisture-problem-mold-humidity.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 31, 2016
Lying in bed. Feel like I've run a world record mile. Can't...catch...my...breath. I take the deepest breath I can. The noisy air provides little sustenance for my oxygen-starved lungs.
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spray-foam-insulation-attic-humidity.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 5, 2016
Spray foam insulation can solve problems that other insulation materials can't. One of those problems is moving the building enclosure from the drywall ceiling of a home to the roofline. By doing so, you bring the attic inside the building enclosure. But what happens to that attic space when you...
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spray-foam-insulation-roof-deck-cellulose-attic-floor.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 9, 2016
I get asked a lot of questions about spray foam. Do I need an ignition barrier? Should I use open cell or closed cell spray foam? Will open cell spray foam really rot my roof? But the question I get more than any other on this topic is about whether or not the insulation on the attic floor should...
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filter-over-plenum-hole-ventilation-air-intake.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 5, 2016
I've seen some crazy things done to homes. It's usually someone's attempt to make things better. Sometimes that someone is a homeowner or other occupant. Sometimes it's a contractor. But it always seems to be a solution to a problem that creates other problems. It's just like they say: Our biggest...
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ventilation energy enthalpy recovery ventilator erv humidity
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 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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ventilation ashrae 62.2 2010 low rise residential standard
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 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...
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