The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 5, 2014
If you want to do something really stupid with the ducts for a heating and air conditioning system, put them in an unconditioned attic. In cold climates, designers, builders, and contractors know this and, for the most part, avoid it. They also have basements as an alternative location. In hot...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on November 18, 2013
You have two choices when change happens: You can embrace it, or you can fight it. Some parts of the home building and home improvement industries are in the first camp. These are the home performance contractors, green builders, and spray foam insulation contractors. Some are in the latter camp....
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Posted by Allison Bailes on November 4, 2013
I get a lot of questions from people asking how they should go about fixing their homes. Sometimes it's specific (What's the best way to insulate my kneewalls?), and sometimes it's a hands up in the air, With all these problems, where do I start? I'll focus on the latter today and let Albert...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on October 30, 2013
Whether you live in a single-family detached house, duplex, condo, or apartment, we all have something in common: We share our homes with other animals. They crawl in from below, squeeze in through the sides, or fly in at the top. Sometimes they die within, as did this bird in a Poe-esque attic in...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on October 7, 2013
We're working on a project, so we got a set of plans to get started. It includes the attic kneewall and vaulted ceiling section you see below.This is typical of plans that architects draw, and builders build houses this way all the time. Unfortunately, it contains several errors. Can you spot them?
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Posted by Allison Bailes on September 23, 2013
Peripeteia and anagnorisis. Not the kind of words you expect to hear from people who do 'dirty jobs.' Of course, Mike Rowe doesn't do dirty jobs for a living the same way that most of the people he covers do. Anyone who's done what Mike Rowe did with lamb testicles that day in Craig, Colorado,...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on September 11, 2013
Earlier this year I got a question about a home that had spray foam insulation in the attic. Nothing unusual about that. A lot of builders and homeowners are going with spray foam insulation because of the airtightness benefits. But then the questioner mentioned that the spray foam contractor had...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on July 30, 2013
Overall, the state of the construction industry is improving. A lot of home builders and remodelers are learning, either out of interest or coercion, about building science and how to apply it to their work.
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Posted by Allison Bailes on July 26, 2013
I'm a big advocate of getting ducts inside the building enclosure. In cooling climates, getting ducts out of an unconditioned attic can save you 15% on your electricity bills. It can reduce the size of air conditioner you need by 25%. If it's not in such a harsh environment, your air conditioner...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on April 11, 2012
The air has been thick with spring for weeks — and I do mean thick. The pollen count in Atlanta this year has set records, our highest getting over 9000. We had a warm winter and a condensed spring. Now the heat of summer is just around the corner, and that means air conditioning here in the...
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