The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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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A disconnected duct next to a dead possum
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 9, 2014
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a big deal. It doesn't get near as much attention as energy efficiency or green building programs, but it should be one of the highest priorities for anyone who lives in a home. It's actually part of an even bigger deal called indoor environmental quality (IEQ), but I'm...
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hvac duct booster fan ice chest 1 600
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 7, 2014
Sometimes you see something in a house that splits your head open, revealing the little green pistachio head that sees the world in a completely different way. I love those moments! It's Stumpy, the duct amputee, which I saw back in '09, or the Kraken ductopus of Snellville from '07. These things...
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atmospheric combustion gas furnace
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 16, 2014
I get asked from time to time if a gas furnace dries out the air in a home and makes a humidifier necessary. I've written about humidifiers and psychrometrics before, but it's still worthwhile making this point explicitly. Even some people who work in the heating and air conditioning industry get...
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ducts radial system outside building enclosure in attic
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 5, 2014
If you want to do something really stupid with the ducts for a heating and air conditioning system, put them in an unconditioned attic. In cold climates, designers, builders, and contractors know this and, for the most part, avoid it. They also have basements as an alternative location. In hot...
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duct hvac kitchen cabinet toekick structure tech
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 16, 2013
I saw the photo below on the Structure Tech Facebook page recently. (They're a home inspection company in Minnesota that appreciates building science.) In this case, everyone can see one of the problems. Even if you know nothing about building science, you can see it, right?
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net zero energy house serenbe proud green home imery
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 26, 2013
I spoke at Serenbe,† a beautiful green community southwest of Atlanta, this weekend and got a chance to visit a net zero energy home while there. Built by Luis Imery, one of the home energy raters we're a HERS provider for, the home has garnered quite a bit of recognition. In fact, they recently...
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air conditioner ducts outdoors
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 11, 2013
Today for your enjoyment, I have some mighty fine photos for you. They speak for themselves, really, so I don't have to say much. First up is a nice package unit air conditioner (or heat pump) in Little Rock, Arkansas. The flex duct—yes, flex—runs from the ground up to the attic. Notice that it's...
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ventilation energy recovery ventilator erv electronic damper
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 9, 2013
If you're designing a ventilation system, first you have to determine how much air the house needs. You can use ASHRAE 62.2 or the new BSC-01 for that task. Then you have to decide what type of ventilation system to use: positive pressure, negative pressure, or balanced. In many green homes, the...
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