The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

A plastic film with amazing radiative cooling capacity
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 21, 2017
When it's hot out, we want cold. At night, we like to be able to turn on the lights. During the daytime, it can be hard to find the darkness. All these things — hot and cold, light and dark, day and night — can seem like opposites. Chinese philosophy suggests, however, that these opposing forces,...
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Buried ducts in attic insulation
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 16, 2017
Are you confused? In my last article, I said buried ducts are at risk for condensation. Now I'm telling you they'll be allowed in the 2018 code. What's going on here? The answer is simple. Yes, when you bury ducts in attic insulation in a humid climate, you increase the risk of water vapor...
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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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ventilation energy enthalpy recovery ventilator erv humidity
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 25, 2017
"You know where this is going, right? Codes will eventually require balanced ventilation." I've heard people say this more than once in the past year or so. As someone who has been attending the semiannual meeting of the ASHRAE 62.2 committee, I've been skeptical. Then I read the new Aspen energy...
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Aspen, Colorado energy code
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 24, 2017
The city of Aspen, Colorado has bucked the trend. Well, actually two trends, but first things first. The 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) introduced another pathway for code compliance using what's called the Energy Rating Index (ERI). Since the only thing that qualifies as an ERI...
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New home installation with sagging flex duct
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 19, 2016
Some people love flex duct. Some people hate it. Some of us are OK with it if it's done right. As I've documented here numerous times, many flex duct installations leave a lot to be desired. They sag. They're kinked. They're twisted around pipes. If there's something bad that can be done with flex...
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Air sealing the Build SMART wall panels with a sausage gun
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 13, 2016
If you want to build a superinsulated, airtight house, you run into some difficulties. How do you deal with the extra thickness of your walls and ceilings when you add all that extra insulation? What's the best way to ensure you hit your airtightness goal? And how do you do all that while keeping...
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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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Insulation and Global Warming
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 21, 2016
At the North American Passive House Conference in Philadelphia in September, I gave a presentation on the global warming impact of insulation, an issue I've been discussing off and on since Alex Wilson wrote his paper on the topic back in 2010. In my presentation, I covered two different aspects of...
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