The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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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This fan should not be your first choice for keeping cool.  See point 4 below for the reason.
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 11, 2018
Here we are in the middle of air conditioning season.  So why don't we chop down some myths and misconceptions about ceiling fans.  What got me on to this topic was a video of a fan with blades that hide on top of the fan when the fan is turned off.  Sounds clever, but it's a ridiculous idea....
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Good HVAC design is 99% invisible.  (Photo of living room by Ceylon Tea Trails from flickr.com, used under a Creative Commons license.)
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 3, 2018
Sometimes people are bothered by how things look.  They don't want a return grille showing in that location or they'd rather have the supply registers low on the wall or they just can't stomach the thought of a wall-mounted ductless mini-split anywhere.  We all have our preferences about how things...
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Ventilation grille bringing in straight outdoor air at the ASHRAE conference hotel in Houston, Texas  (photo by Nikki Krueger of Therma-Stor, used with permission)
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 24, 2018
I've been going to the meetings of the ASHRAE residential ventilation committee (SSPC 62.2, to be specific) for the past few years.  As a matter of fact, I'm writing this article from my room in Houston, the site of the summer meeting.  It's always interesting to go to these things because the...
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Staying cool with air conditioning
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 11, 2018
It's getting hot out there. Here in the Southeast, we love our air conditioning.  In fact, without air conditioning, far fewer people would live in places like Houston, Hattiesburg, and Sopchoppy.  And that's true for the hot, dry places, too, like Phoenix, El Paso, and Boron. So if we're going to...
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Sample Manual J heating and cooling load calculation report
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 23, 2018
When you enter the world of building science — whether through building a house, becoming a home energy rater/building analyst, or just hanging out in cyberplaces like this — everyone talks about the importance of getting actual heating and cooling load calculations based on ACCA Manual J.  A great...
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Oversized air conditioner
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 8, 2018
Many people seem to think HVAC design means you get a load calculation (Manual J in the ACCA protocols) so you know what size system to put in. Hey, that's a great start. It's way better than just using a rule of thumb or Manual E (for eyeball). You don't really want to end up with a ginormous...
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air conditioner heat pump furnace supply vent register
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 28, 2018
When you embark on the project of educating yourself about building science, one of the first things you encounter is the concept of heating and cooling loads. Every building has them. (Yes, even Passive House projects.) That's why we do heating and cooling load calculations. We enter all the...
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