The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Air sealing the Build SMART wall panels with a sausage gun
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 1, 2017
Seven years ago Georgia led the nation. Yep. We were the first state to adopt an energy code that made blower door testing mandatory. All new homes built in the state had to show through performance testing that they had an air leakage rate of less than 7 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of...
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Aspen, Colorado energy code
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 24, 2017
The city of Aspen, Colorado has bucked the trend. Well, actually two trends, but first things first. The 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) introduced another pathway for code compliance using what's called the Energy Rating Index (ERI). Since the only thing that qualifies as an ERI...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on November 9, 2016
Supply and demand are two different things. When you think of an energy code, say the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), you probably think of demand, not supply. Conserving energy, after all, means reducing demand. It's related to supply only indirectly. As a result, you might expect...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on July 3, 2015
Energy codes have all kinds of requirements. You have to have certain R-values in walls, floors, and ceilings. Your windows have to have the right U-values and solar heat gain coefficients. The infiltration rate and duct leakage have to be measured and come in below a threshold for your climate...
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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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home energy rating hers index scale resnet reference home energy code
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 17, 2015
The HERS Index is a number that gives you a measure of how energy efficient a home is. We can debate how relevant that number is or how accurate is the energy model it's based on, but the fact is that it's being used. The 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) includes a compliance path...
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water catching roof austin texas
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 4, 2014
The gap is narrowing. What gap, you ask? Why, the gap between stupid and hurt, of course. So says Dr. Joe Lstiburek. Allow me to explain.
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spray foam insulation open cell roof rot moisture problem
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 16, 2014
Murmurs and hearsay about open-cell spray foam insulation have been gaining traction for a while. It rots roofs, people have told me. Not long ago, someone even told me that in Florida, roofing companies won't let their workers go up on roofs with open-cell spray foam because the roofs are so...
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air conditioner ducts outdoors
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 12, 2014
Three questions have been nagging at Rick Chitwood over the past 5 or 6 years. First, why is the HVAC industry in California, where he lives and works, so pathetic? Second, why have California’s strict energy standards, which have been in effect since 1978, not corrected the problem? Third, how is...
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ducts radial system outside building enclosure in attic
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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