The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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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Leaking basement wall could use negative side waterproofing
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 19, 2017
Just a quick note for you this morning about some building science resources I found on the Web this week. As alluded to in the title, one relates to the top of the house (cathedral ceilings) and the other to the bottom (waterproofing basements). And actually, these resources that I'm referring you...
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Does compression of fiberglass insulation cause problems?
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 18, 2017
I've been guilty of perpetuating a myth. Last month I wrote an article in which I said installing insulation, "cavities are filled completely with as little compression as possible." But is compression really such a bad thing? When I posted that same article on Green Building Advisor, commenter...
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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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Attics encapsulated with spray foam insulation have more volume
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 11, 2017
What happens to the heating and cooling loads when you encapsulate an attic? With the insulation and air barrier at the ceiling below the attic, you're excluding the attic space. That volume of air up there isn't involved in the conditioning of the home. But when you move the enclosure to the...
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Improper window flashing with house wrap
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 9, 2017
After taking classes for the past 15 years, my sister graduated from college last week. While I was in Lakeland, Florida for her graduation, I took the photo above. It's a hotel under construction. I took this picture because I was surprised to see curtains in the windows at this stage of...
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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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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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Stick-built home with advanced framing
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 3, 2017
Most new homes in North America are built with sticks. The early home builders used bigger pieces of wood — timbers — and when the smaller dimensional lumber that we use so much today hit the market, they scoffingly referred to those new-fangled little woody things as sticks. So now our home...
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