The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Posted by Allison Bailes on November 11, 2015
Danny Orlando, a manager in the ENERGY STAR program at the US EPA, walks the talk. He's been steadily improving the energy efficiency of his home over the past couple of decades and also monitoring his energy use data. The graph below tells the story.
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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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ceiling fan bonus room efficacy vs efficiency
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 14, 2014
When I was doing research for my recent article on ceiling fans, I noticed that they don't have energy efficiency ratings; they have efficacy ratings. There's certainly confusion in terminology among different sources, but since light bulbs are also described by their efficacy, I started wondering...
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roof ice dam attic heat loss cute house
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 14, 2014
They say you can't fix stupid. They're wrong. When it comes to ice dams, we know how to fix what is the most common cause.† If you know a little building science, you can look at the photo below and know immediately what's going on here. Right?
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passive house conference joe lstiburek opening talk history
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 13, 2013
Last week, Joe Lstiburek gave the fifth annual twitterview† from his crawl space. (When he gets back from sailing this week, Peter Troast of Energy Circle has promised to publish the transcript.) One of the pearls of wisdom dispensed by Joe was that, "Passive House is the only place where real...
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coal-fired electricity plant
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 12, 2012
When does saving one of anything ever result in actually saving three or four? When we're talking about electricity, of course. The reason is simple: Most of our electricity comes from the burning of fuels like coal and natural gas. That process results in a lot of waste heat. After converting the...
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John Belushi College trades HVAC building science
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 24, 2012
Do you really need to go to college? If your heart's not in it, you can't find a field of study that excites you, and your college degree doesn't help your job prospects, the answer may be no. But what can you do without a college degree? Plenty, as it turns out. And there's also plenty you can do...
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US energy flows sankey diagram 1995
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 22, 2012
I like to talk about the big picture of energy occasionally here. I also love data! Today, I'm not going to do a whole lot of talking at all. I mainly want to show you what I consider to be one of the most informative energy diagrams about energy flows in the US. Technically, they're called Sankey...
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daylight savings time clock energy vanguard
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 12, 2012
Most of us here in the US just lost an hour this weekend because of Daylight Savings Time. This annual clock-advancing used to happen late in April but has been extended a couple of times in the past few decades. It now gets light later in the morning and stays light later in the evening. Why do we...
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aceee state energy efficiency scorecard 2011 sml
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 3, 2011
Hey, Californians, look out. You're not number 1 anymore. Nope. You're number 2 now. In their annual assessment of how the states are doing with energy efficiency, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has pronounced Massachusetts the best for energy efficiency in 2011. The...
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