The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Mid-century house in Atlanta
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 12, 2019
Let me tell you the story about a poor, young country boy who broke the law and launched me into my new project.  Back in February, I was driving home from work one evening when a driver T-boned me.  The crash totaled my car.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but I was pissed because my car was paid...
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A heat pump is an air conditioner with a reversing valve
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 29, 2019
So we've looked at a simple way to estimate the heat pump balance point.  If you also read the comments of that article, you should be aware that there's more to the actual balance point than what I wrote in the article.  Today, though, let's look at two factors that can affect the balance point....
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At the balance point, a heat pump can supply the same amount of heat as a house needs
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 26, 2019
As the outdoor temperature drops on a cold day, a home's heating load increases.  At the same time, decreasing temperature means less heat in the air for a heat pump to pump indoors.  And at one special temperature, the capacity of a heat pump equals the heating load in the house.  That temperature...
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A heat pump pumping heat in winter
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 19, 2019
Since more people are using heat pumps these days, even in cold climates, let's spell out the three different types of heat that conventional heat pumps provide.  Why not!  We've just recently covered the three main sources of home heating and then stepped back and looked another group of three...
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3 sources of heat in a Passive House or other high-performance home
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 31, 2019
Earlier this week I wrote about the three main sources of heat in homes.  At the end of the article I threw in a fourth one, solar energy, but then I dismissed it as something that people tried in the 1970s and '80s and have since abandoned for home heating.  And that's still mostly true, but my...
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3 main sources of home heating
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 28, 2019
It's wintertime in the Northern hemisphere and that means we're heating our homes.  The new year started off a bit on the warm side, with the temperature at nearly 70° F (21° C) here in the Atlanta area.  In terms of heating degree days (HDD), we've gone from about 12 HDD/day at the beginning of...
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Do convective loops in loose-fill fiberglass attic insulation cause it to lose up to half its R-value?
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 7, 2019
When you get into the world of building science, it's inevitable that you'll hear about the study that proved fiberglass insulation loses half its R-value because of convection within the insulation.  Or it could be you're a homeowner who's been told about this problem by an insulation contractor...
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Aprilaire high-MERV filter with carbon
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 9, 2018
What is a hair's breadth?  A strand of the finest human hair is about 20 micrometers (also called microns) in diameter.  Take a piece and slice it in half.  Then take one of those halves and slice it in half again...and then one more time.  Now you've got a sliver of hair that's 2.5 microns wide. ...
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HVAC School logo
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 24, 2018
I love to share good resources and here's one you need to know about if you're interested in the nitty gritty of HVAC systems.  I'm talking about HVAC School, with their various channels like their daily Tech Tips email, YouTube videos, quizzes, and a podcast.  It's all free. Bryan Orr (shown below...
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Lyle Lovett and His Large Band in concert at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 17, 2018
Last weekend my wife and I went to Asheville, North Carolina to hear Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at the Biltmore Estate.  It was a wonderful evening!  Mountains, sunset, gardens...  We even had four planets lined up over the stage:  Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus. While in Asheville, we spent...
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