The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Why won't the HVAC industry do things right?
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 8, 2010
Do you know how most HVAC contractors charge for installing HVAC systems, especially in the case of new home construction? By the ton of installed air conditioning capacity. If you've read any of my previous articles about Manual J and oversized air conditioners, you probably see where I'm going...
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Posted by EV Staff on July 1, 2010
"Making something beautiful is one of the most sustainable things you can do." - Sarah Susanka, Author of The Not So Big House.
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Condensation forms on surfaces that are below the dew point temperature, even when the air conditioner is working properly.
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 30, 2010
It's a pretty safe bet that the vast majority of air conditioners are oversized. ACCA developed its Manual J protocol for heating and cooling load calculations to help HVAC contractors put in correctly sized equipment, but there are a couple of problems. First, most contractors don't do the load...
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A high performance home doesn't have to look weird.
Posted by EV Staff on June 23, 2010
Yesterday, I heard a law student tell a story about some advice she gave to her friend about a recent break up. Her friend was having trouble letting go, and instead of saying something simple like, "you need to move on," she recommended that her friend "mitigate the damages!" WHAT!?, her friend...
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An oversized air conditioner can make it cold but doesn't dehumidify well.
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 14, 2010
It's been hot and muggy in Atlanta the past few days. Now I'm not your typical Atlantan who says that lightly. I grew up in Houston and south Louisiana and spent nine years in Florida, so I know hot and muggy. Overall, summers in Atlanta are pretty nice because of our elevation (~1000 feet), but we...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on June 7, 2010
My grandmother was 'cold-natured,' which meant she was more often too cold than too hot. My grandfather could sweat just by thinking about going outside on a summer day in Louisiana (where summer lasts for 5 months). Yet they lived together comfortably for over half a century. How is that possible?
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Posted by EV Staff on June 4, 2010
A few weeks ago, my uncle, John, called me up and asked if I could design the house where he and his future wife would spend the rest of their lives. Like many people, he wants to save money on the construction costs and the energy bills. “No problem,” I said. 
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hvac duct leakage stumpy amputee energy vanguard
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 21, 2010
And now for a little Friday fun, here's one of my favorite duct design failures. I call it Stumpy.
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Duct leakage can trump right-sizing in HVAC design.
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 18, 2010
I know, I know. If you've had a HERS rater class or any education in residential building science, the alarms are going off in your head right now - WAANNNHHHHH WAANNNHHHHH WAANNNHHHHH! Please, let me explain.
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Heat pumps can heat a home by running the an air conditioner's refrigeration cycle in the opposite direction.
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 28, 2010
Last week in my role as a home energy rating provider, I had to disqualify a home for the ENERGY STAR label. I hated doing it because it was a nice home and, in every way but one, can be called a high performance home.
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