The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Posted by Allison Bailes on June 29, 2015
Yesterday I had lunch with Robert Bean and Eric Griffin at the ASHRAE conference here in Atlanta. As we talked about how we got into the field of building science, I began thinking of the reasons I love doing what I do. My background is physics, and I really enjoyed teaching it when I was in...
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air leakage infiltration building enclosure design garage ceiling
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 15, 2015
Take a look at the photo below. See anything missing? If you don't see it yet, look at the big opening at the bottom right of the photo and you should be able to deduce what that room is. It's a garage. Now look at the framed wall between the garage and where I was standing when I took the picture...
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near net zero energy home utah 2
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 18, 2015
I'm writing this on St. Patrick's Day so let me tell you a wee bit about the O'Mearas. Kevin and Svetlana O'Meara live in a beautiful home in Utah that's oh-so-close to being a net zero energy home. After I wrote about how home building is like skiing two years ago, Kevin invited me out to see...
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What exactly is a low-load home?  (Architect Richard Levine stands in front of the low-load, solar home he designed and built in the 1970s. Photo by Energy Vanguard)
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 27, 2014
I've been in Lexington, Kentucky this week at the Midwest Residential Energy Conference. It was great! (And I played nice - I didn't mention in any of my talks that I'm a Florida Gator.) One of the many highlights for me was getting to visit Richard "Dick" Levine's 1970s passive solar house. It's...
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duct hvac kitchen cabinet toekick structure tech
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 16, 2013
I saw the photo below on the Structure Tech Facebook page recently. (They're a home inspection company in Minnesota that appreciates building science.) In this case, everyone can see one of the problems. Even if you know nothing about building science, you can see it, right?
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guy pearce memento
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 17, 2013
If you have any involvement with the world of building science, you may have heard about something called WUFI and wondered what the heck it is. Maybe you've heard that it's a piece of software (several pieces, actually) that does hygrothermal modeling. Well, today's your lucky day because I just...
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ventilation energy recovery ventilator erv electronic damper
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 9, 2013
If you're designing a ventilation system, first you have to determine how much air the house needs. You can use ASHRAE 62.2 or the new BSC-01 for that task. Then you have to decide what type of ventilation system to use: positive pressure, negative pressure, or balanced. In many green homes, the...
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million dollar home crappy hvac wall street journal
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 8, 2013
The fellow standing in the home he's having built is proud. It's his dream home in Brookline, Massachusetts after all. The Wall Street Journal last week published an article about affluent home buyers getting their own jumbo construction loans to do just as Mr. Deshpande has done. Usually, they...
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attic kneewall details air barrier insulation
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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house all glass front windows repurpose inhabitat
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 5, 2013
I confess that, back in the '80s, I might have done the same thing this couple did. I remember reading Mother Earth News and Practical Homeowner magazine articles about folks who collected discarded materials to use in their existing homes or to build a new one. Take that man in Colorado, for...
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