The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Posted by Allison Bailes on July 1, 2015
As long as we're exploring the wonderful world of water, we ought to show some of the cool stuff it does. In my article Introduction to the Physics of Water in Porous Materials, I described hydrophilic, hydrophobic, and hygroscopic materials. Turns out they're pretty important to building science....
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building science summer camp 2013 napkin sketch
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 8, 2013
Building Science Summer Camp ended yesterday. It's been another fabulous event, the third one I've attended since getting myself invited by writing this piece that caught Joe Lstiburek's attention. As I wind down and reflect on the things I learned this week, I thought you might like to see a few...
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wicked witch south latent heat hvac
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 21, 2013
In my last article, I explained some of the basic science of phase changes, referencing the Wicked Witch of the West and the phase change she underwent when Dorothy threw water in her face in The Wizard of Oz. (I've since added to the article the clip of that scene from the movie.) I listed some...
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The Wicked Witch of the West knows about phase changes!
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 18, 2013
Which takes more heat — melting a pound of feathers or raising the temperature of a pound of feathers from the melting to the boiling point? OK, let me rephrase that. If the Wicked Witch of the West melts at a temperature of 45° C and her current temperature is 35° C, how much heat does it take to...
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Insulation comes labeled with an R-value, but what does that mean?
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 24, 2013
In the world of building construction, improvement, and analysis, we talk about R-value all the time. Generally we talk about it as if it's a constant number. Hey, R-19 is stamped right there on the product, so that's what it is, right? Well, maybe. Sometimes.
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climate zone map north america building science corporation small
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 22, 2013
One of the fundamental principles of building science is that buildings must be suited to their climate. When they're not, problems can ensue. Maybe it's just that they're not as efficient as they should be. Maybe it's worse. Put plastic between the drywall and framing of your exterior walls in...
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advanced framing single top plate ohio state solar decathlon house
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 18, 2013
The tragedy of this is that in the effort to sell Advanced Framing as a whole package, presenting it as an alternative to Western Platform Framing, the sensible housing industry has thrown out the very easy and productive suggestions from the first list along with the bathwater that is the ill-...
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advanced framing t wall insulation thermal bridging
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 17, 2013
A few weeks ago Allison made a couple of quips that could be construed as critical of Advanced Framing methods, also often referred to optimistically as Optimum Value Engineering (OVE). I myself am generally critical of Advanced Framing, so perhaps I was just reading into Allison's comments what I...
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windmill arizona building science learning curve david butler
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 5, 2013
I just returned from Arizona, where I spoke at the Structural Insulated Panel Association’s annual conference. Since it was in Tucson, I also took the opportunity to visit with my friend David Butler. He’s an amazing source of knowledge in the field of building science, especially concerning...
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skiing home building science
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 11, 2013
I spent a few days in Colorado this past week. This was a rare trip for me: It wasn't for business or a conference. My wife, Elaine, and I went there on a belated honeymoon (we got married in 2009), and it was also an early birthday present for her. I'd never skied before in my life (except on the...
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