The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Max Planck physicist Nobel Prize winner
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 5, 2012
When I wrote about the debate over the terms 'building envelope' vs. 'building enclosure' a couple of weeks ago, I favored the former but overall felt agnostic on whether we should choose one over the other. I didn't think I'd change my mind. After reading the many comments from readers here in the...
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building science summer camp 2012 bookshelf envelope vs enclosure
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 24, 2012
If you travel down into the building science vortex, you start discovering that people argue over a lot of things that most people never think twice about. Wait. Most people probably never think once about these things. Earlier this year I wrote about the stack effect and used the expression 'heat...
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Dr. Joe Lstiburek was the opening keynote speaker at the 2012 Passive House Conference.
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 30, 2012
As I sit here getting ready to head for the airport, a lot of thoughts about what I've experienced and heard here at the Passive House conference are swirling around my head. They haven't really congealed into a coherent body yet, but I thought I'd write this quick report of the conference to give...
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radiant barrier playground slide mad men dad 1962
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 26, 2012
Remember those old metal playground slides? Yeah, I realize I'm dating myself here, but I'm not embarrassed to have been in utero when the first episode of Mad Men was set. In fact, if you look at this photo of my dad with me and my sister from 1962, you may find a bit of a resemblance to Don...
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insulation Roxul mineral wool batt in framed floor
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 29, 2012
Yesterday I observed an interesting discussion on Twitter. Carl Seville, the Green Building Curmudgeon, posted a link to his article suggesting that maybe we should just ban all batt insulation. Greg La Vardera, an architect who really understands the building envelope, responded that Carl shouldn'...
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polyethylene vapor barrier in a wall
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 25, 2012
If there's one building science topic that confuses more people in construction than any other, I think I'd say it's the purposes and properties of the various control layers. I'm talking about the materials that are meant to control the flows or heat, air, and moisture. I'm going to limit this...
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moisture management: mold from plumbing leak, indoor air quality, asthma
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 30, 2012
I grew up with really bad asthma. Not being able to get enough air into your lungs, in case you haven't experienced it, is pretty scary. I remember lying in bed during one asthma attack, gasping for air, wheezing loudly, and feeling like I was going to die. A trip to the hospital for a shot opened...
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duct blaster allison bailes mean radiant temperature vs hvac system
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 16, 2012
Evidently, I'm an oddball. We published a guest post by engineer Robert Bean on comfort and ASHRAE Standard 55 a few weeks ago, and when I first read the article, one sentence jumped off the screen, grabbed me by the collar, and yelled in my face, "Allison, you ignorant nut! Mr. Bean's suggestion...
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historic house preservation deep energy retrofit Georgia swayback
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 9, 2012
In one corner, we have a core of people who have dedicated themselves to preserving old buildings. In the other corner is a group that strives to save energy by making buildings more efficient. These two groups often charge out of their respective corners, not realizing at first that they were even...
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attic insulation fiberglass resnet grade i installation cable guy 1
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 6, 2012
On one of my recent quality assurance trips for our HERS raters, I made a discovery of a building envelope problem that's best told in pictures. When I went into the attic, what I noticed first was that the blown fiberglass insulation looked really good. They'd put in enough insulation for a high R...
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