The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

blown cellulose insulation grade 1
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 24, 2015
My friends up in Maine came up with the concept of the Pretty Good House a few years ago, and I love the idea! Not everyone can or wants to build a LEED Platinum, Living Building Challenge, Passive House. But a lot of architects, builders, and homebuyers would like to design, build, and live in...
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hvac-duct-monster-ductopus-air-flow-problems
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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