The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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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net zero energy house serenbe proud green home imery
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 26, 2013
I spoke at Serenbe,† a beautiful green community southwest of Atlanta, this weekend and got a chance to visit a net zero energy home while there. Built by Luis Imery, one of the home energy raters we're a HERS provider for, the home has garnered quite a bit of recognition. In fact, they recently...
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energy star new home program dying
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 30, 2013
Back in 2009, I attended a webinar given by Sam Rashkin, head of the ENERGY STAR new homes program at the time. (He has since left the EPA for the DOE.) He explained the changes coming in the program as they prepared for the transition from what we now call Version 2 to the new Version 3. The part...
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georgia power earthcents hers index billboard 500
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 28, 2013
The EarthCents program for new homes is a child of ENERGY STAR Version 3. The previous version of the ENERGY STAR new homes program was an entry level energy efficiency program; Version 3 is not. Early in the transition, I spoke with someone from Georgia Power, which had been giving home builders a...
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energy star new home inspection jeffrey sauls
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 21, 2013
Let me tell you a little story about the day that Jeffrey went to test several Habitat for Humanity houses that are going for certification in the ENERGY STAR new homes program (the one in the photo here was not one of them). This was a couple of weeks ago, but I wrote down the numbers he told me...
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oversized air conditioner, Texas style!
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 19, 2013
The typical new home gets a heating and air conditioning system that's about two times too large. Look, I've  discussed oversized air conditioners many times before. Most HVAC contractors use a rule of thumb that says they should put in one ton of air conditioning capacity for each 500-600 square...
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energy star v3 deltec homes success story
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 3, 2013
Guest post by Leigha Dickens, Green Building Coordinator for Deltec Homes, who earlier this year was a student in our home energy rater class.
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elephant room hvac high performance home david butler small
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 15, 2013
The ENERGY STAR New Homes program deserves much of the credit for bringing high performance to the mass market. Aside from a widely recognized and respected brand, ENERGY STAR accomplished that which previously eluded industry pioneers: it created a uniform verification and certification procedure...
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Structural insulated panel (SIP) homes can be very airtight.
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 27, 2013
I buillt a house out of structural insulated panels (SIPs) before I'd ever done—or even watched—a blower door test. It turned out to be pretty dang airtight, too, despite my lack of air sealing experience at the time. If I'd stick-built the same house, I'll bet my air leakage measurement would have...
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indoor air quality iaq range hood ducted solar decathlon house glass
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 11, 2012
You'd never settle for a recirculating toilet, would you? Press the lever and everything in the bowl just swirls around and around. Never leaving, just recirculating. That's the image Professor John Straube painted for us last week in his talk at the Building Science Experts' Session. He was...
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