I started writing the Energy Vanguard Blog in March 2010 and have published more than 350 articles since then. I love doing it. In fact, I probably love doing it a bit too much. Early on I often published 4 or 5 articles a week, but I’m trying to cut back. My goal lately has been 2 articles a week. I’m breaking my rule by writing this one, so I hope you’ll forgive me. These things grab a hold of me, and I just have to write.
By the way, that photo you see here isn’t of me. I can understand if you’re confused. She does look like she could be an Allison, after all, and I AM in Who’s Who of American Women, The Millenium Edition. I am NOT a woman, however. Just wanted to clear that up so you don’t write in the comments, as one reader did, “You just don’t get it, lady.” You can read a bit more about me and the manly activities I engage in in my bio. The reason she’s in this article, though, is because she’s still laughing about the Turbo-Thermo-Encabulator Max.
It’s always interesting to see the kind of reactions readers have to my articles. Sometimes an article gets shared a lot. Sometimes one gets a lot of comments. Sometimes it’ll get a lot of traffic or links from outside. Occasionally one gets all or most of those, and I love that! Actually I love all of it and have learned to stop trying to predict how an article will do.
But today I thought maybe I should lay out as clearly as I can what the Energy Vanguard Blog is, and what it isn’t, because occasionally readers come here with expectations that I don’t meet. For example, the first comment to my last article was, “Please drop me from your email list.” More often, though, people say things like, “Your blog is off the chain! Your writing is technical yet easily readable, such a rare combination. We so appreciate it!”
Let’s start with the well-known definition for blogging:
Blog — a collection of thoughts, links, images, equations, whimsy, ramblings, critique, confessions, humor, and/or rants. It can be personal or formal, educational or stupefying, uplifting or depressing, black or white—or grey—true or false, imperial or metric, noise or silence, life or death, Family Guy or The Simpsons, tattoos or peircings, monkeys or penquins…or anything in between. Or beyond. Or something entirely different.
Here’s how I narrow that down. I publish articles about:
- The fundamental principles of building science (e.g., Naked People Need Building Science)
- Home energy ratings and audits (e.g., How to Choose a Company to Do a Home Energy Audit)
- Home energy improvements and financing (e.g., 10 Things You Should Know about the Energy Efficient Mortgage)
- The big picture of energy production and consumption (e.g., Two More Scary Indicators of the Peak Oil Problem)
- Training and education (e.g., Home Energy Rater Training — Our First Year Review)
- Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) (e.g., I Use an Air Conditioner Sizing Rule of Thumb!)
- Energy efficiency & green building programs (e.g., The Deadline Looms for ENERGY STAR Version 3 New Homes)
- Events related to any of the above (e.g., 16 Random Thoughts on the First Day of Building Science Summer Camp)
- Blogging (e.g., Possums, Dilbert, & Happy Caulkers – A Building Science Blog’s Growth)
- The occasional off-the-wall or unrelated topic (e.g., my own obituary, for Letsblogoff)
I write this blog to bring traffic to the Energy Vanguard website so people will find out about our services. This is a business, and we use the Internet as one way of getting clients. I don’t make any money directly from the blog. You don’t have to pay to read any of the articles. I don’t accept advertising or take pay from manufacturers or other companies to post their content. I just write stuff that I think our readers will find interesting.
It seems to be working, too, because our traffic has grown like mad since I started, as the chart of our unique visitors shows below. We’re pushing 50,000 this month. We’re almost at 1000 email subscribers to the blog, too. (Help us get there by telling your colleagues, friends, and family to subscribe!)
What I mainly try to do with the majority of my articles is to explain things in simple terms. I aim for the knowledge level of a homeowner trying to educate themselves about how their home works and the beginning to intermediate home energy pro. I use my physics background a lot in this blog, but I try not to let it go too far. I do occasionally use math and probably throw a bit too much jargon in. My mother-in-law helps keep it real, though, because I try to think, when I’m writing an article, OK, how much of this would Barbara understand?
I do appreciate feedback and use it to help steer the ship. If I start hearing from readers that they’re not finding my articles so useful anymore, I’ll look at what I’ve written lately and make some adjustments. I did that earlier this year because evidently I veered a bit off course.
I love writing this blog, and I love that so many great folks like you come here and read it, share it, subscribe to it, and comment on it. I know most of you take it for what it is — just a blog (see definition above). It’s not an academic journal. It’s not as rigorous and technical as it could be. I do sometimes get things wrong. I may not choose the direction you’d like to see when I write about a topic, but I do always try to keep it real. (Well, almost always.) I also like to employ humor.
You may not realize this, but one of the greatest benefits of writing this blog is how much learning I’ve done. I usually learn new stuff when I’m writing an article because I want to make sure it’s as correct and complete as I can make it. Then I learn even more when the comments start rolling in. For example, I thought I had a pretty clear understanding of the distinction between a renewable energy source and and an energy load. Some astute readers, including Rob Brown of Northeast Radiant Technology, quickly brought me to the grey zone and made me really think through it, however.
So, thank you for visiting! I appreciate all of you for taking the time to come here and read what I have to say, even when you disagree with me and tell me that I need to take a long vacation or call me a lady. And let me give a very special thank you to our 972 (as of right now) email subscribers.
PS I also write for Green Building Advisor now, so if you like this, you should check out that webiste. I’m one of several bloggers there, including the amazing Martin Holladay, the Energy Nerd, and the inimitable Carl Seville, the Green Curmudgeon. By becoming a GBA Pro, you have access to tons of great info, including construction details, product comparisons, and more.
Photo of laughing woman by gagilas from flickr.com, used under a Creative Commons license.