The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Posted by Allison Bailes on August 14, 2015
WARNING: This article contains graphic and disturbing images of a duct system that may upset anyone sensitive to low-quality air distribution. If you've ever experienced nausea, fainting spells, or outbursts of anger upon being exposed to such stimuli, I urge you to take this in small doses...or...
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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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water catching roof austin texas
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 4, 2014
The gap is narrowing. What gap, you ask? Why, the gap between stupid and hurt, of course. So says Dr. Joe Lstiburek. Allow me to explain.
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clark howard diy ways save energy bill
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 18, 2014
Clark Howard is the penny pincher's guru. My wife loves his radio show and website for all the money-saving tips he provides. Naturally, anyone trying to help people save money at home has to address energy use, and Howard does, too. Unlike some others, though, he's generally well educated on the...
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air conditioner heat pump furnace supply vent register
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 25, 2014
Your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace probably uses a lot of energy. Heating and cooling makes up about half of the total energy use in a typical house. For air conditioners and heat pumps using electricity generated in fossil-fuel fired power plants, the amount you use at home may be only a...
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crawl space vented duct condensation drop
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 18, 2014
A line in the sand has some significance for Texas, the state where I was born. Colonel William Travis used his sword to draw such a line in the waning days of the Battle of the Alamo. As General Santa Anna had the Texans completely surrounded and asked for their surrender, Colonel Travis asked for...
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disconnected duct unbalanced supply leakage
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 17, 2014
Duct leakage is a big deal. It's one of the top three energy wasters in most homes (air leakage and cable TV set-top boxes being the other two). Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that duct systems leak on average about 10% of the supply air they move and 12% of the return air (...
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Air conditioning tips and trivia
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 15, 2014
When it comes to air conditioning, there are a lot of bad products and bad ideas out there. Here are a few: You can buy a cover for your condenser that could kill your compressor. Some people don't think the outdoor unit really needs to go outdoors. (They're wrong!) And then there's the strange...
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Bruce Wilcox and John Proctor at the Dry Climate Forum
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 20, 2014
At the Forum on Dry Climate Home Performance earlier this year, I got to hear three building science experts talk about a really cool research project they've been working on in Stockton, California. Bruce Wilcox, John Proctor, and Rick Chitwood (Wilcox and Proctor shown in photo at left) filled us...
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flex duct hvac loose inner liner friction rate
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 3, 2014
Two things. Just two things in your ducts are responsible for giving the blower in your furnace or air handler a hard time. They make the blower push against more pressure, thus reducing air flow or increasing energy use, depending on blower type. They cut the amount of air that gets delivered to...
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