The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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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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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Insulation on flex duct (Photo by Mike MacFarland, used with permission)
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 13, 2018
If you know a little building science, you've no doubt seen a lot of problems that occur with air distribution systems. Ducts just don't get anywhere near the attention they deserve in most homes, partly because they're hidden from view. I've written about ducts quite a bit here and have shown...
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Are door undercuts sufficient as return air pathways?
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 23, 2017
Most people don't know that simply closing a door in their home can make them sick, increase their energy bills, or reduce their comfort. We live in this invisible stuff called air. We pull many pounds of it into our lungs each day. A typical air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace easily moves 20...
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Perfect Balance in-door return air pathway
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 17, 2017
Your bedroom really doesn't aspire to be a balloon. Yet, because of the way your heating and air conditioning system was installed, it may be acting like one. At least to an extent. It doesn't expand the way a balloon does, but it does get blown up. Think about it. If your bedroom has a supply vent...
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Making third-party HVAC design work
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 28, 2017
What if a builder refused to build from plans drawn by an architect? What if a tile installer refused to implement designs handed to them and instead did their own thing? What if an HVAC contractor told a potential client they wouldn't install a system designed by a third party to ACCA protocols?...
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Flex duct presentation intro, 2017 Buildng Science Summer Camp
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 8, 2017
One week ago I spoke at the Westford Symposium on Building Science. You may know it better as Building Science Summer Camp, since that's what everyone calls it. I wrote up a little summary of the whole conference last week but didn't say a lot about my presentation. Today I'll fill you in on what...
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Duct design schematic diagram showing vents and air flow
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 9, 2017
To this point in our little series on duct design, we've been calculating intermediate quantitites: available static pressure, total effective length, and friction rate. Today we use all that to find out how big the ducts need to be. We're following the Manual D protocol for duct design, a standard...
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UL and Intertek partner with home builders in new home energy rating program for Florida
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 8, 2017
In case you didn't see the announcement out of Florida, two big well-known names have entered the market for home energy ratings and energy code compliance. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek are working with the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) certify home energy ratings, blower...
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