The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Burning fuels in the home is an ancient practice, but it needs to be done safely
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 11, 2020
We are now ten short days from the winter solstice and many of us in the Northern Hemisphere have been in heating season for a while.  That means there's a lot more combustion happening in homes than there was in the summer.  We humans have millennia of experience with burning stuff in our homes,...
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An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) removes stale air from the house and brings in outdoor air
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 22, 2020
Let's talk about one of my favorite subjects:  air.  Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the novel coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) that spreads it, the indoor air quality (IAQ) community—researchers, mediators, manufacturers, bloggers, groupies—is having a moment.  This must be the first time in...
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A high-MERV portable air cleaner can reduce your risk of getting COVID-19
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 7, 2020
Twitter is an utter hellscape in some ways, but it does have a few redeeming qualities.  I've seen a lot of good information about the COVID-19 pandemic there, including ways to filter the indoor air for coronavirus and the emerging science about the spread of SARS-COV-2 via aerosols in addition to...
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The Sterling chart, from a 1986 research paper, suggests an optimum zone for relative humidity
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 9, 2020
The classic chart demonstrating the importance of keeping to the middle of the relative humidity spectrum has been shown to countless attendees of classes, conference presentations, and webinars on building science, indoor air quality, moisture problems, and health.  I can't tell you how many times...
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Ultraviolet (UV) lamp installed in air handler to kill microbes on cooling coil and drain pan  [Image from Fresh Aire UV]
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 23, 2020
I used to be a smart-ass who would say things I thought were clever but really were just annoying.  When I learned the basics of quantum physics, for example, I had a clever/annoying answer for anyone who asked me, What's new?  E over h, I'd respond.  Hahaha!  Then we'd both laugh our heads off. ...
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Droplets from a sneeze can travel 18 feet across a room
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 8, 2020
Back in 2018 I wrote a series of articles on indoor air quality and filtration.  One of those articles, The Unintended Consequences of High-MERV Filters, has seen a flurry of activity in the comments over the past three weeks.  It all started when a reader named Pat wrote:I have a question about...
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Cancer cells  [by Yale Rosen, from flickr. com]
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 23, 2020
Cancer treatment during the coronavirus pandemic is something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of weeks now.  Then on Friday, Vox published an article on that very topic:  The dilemmas facing cancer doctors and patients in the coronavirus pandemic.  I encourage you to read it.Cancer patients...
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An image from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV.   [Image from the CDC]
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 19, 2020
Well, there's nothing like a little pandemic to completely upend our daily lives as well as our short and long-term outlooks for the future.  I've spent far too much time reading about, listening to, and watching news about the novel coronavirus lately and I guess you may have done likewise.  Here'...
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A Make It Right house in New Orleans with serious moisture problems
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 13, 2018
Hurricane Katrina barreled through New Orleans in 2005.  The levees failed, flooding 80% of the city and destroying many homes.  The low-income residents in the Lower 9th Ward were particularly harmed by the storm, many losing everything they owned.  Two years later, Brad Pitt started the Make It...
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Kitchen range hood
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 4, 2018
Energy efficiency is a gateway drug to building science.  When you really start learning about it, you come to the inescapable conclusion that there's so much more to making homes better than just saving energy.  A house is a system, you know.  There's moisture and comfort and indoor air quality...
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