The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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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million dollar home crappy hvac wall street journal
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 8, 2013
The fellow standing in the home he's having built is proud. It's his dream home in Brookline, Massachusetts after all. The Wall Street Journal last week published an article about affluent home buyers getting their own jumbo construction loans to do just as Mr. Deshpande has done. Usually, they...
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huntington condo building science problems
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 30, 2013
Hi. My name is Allison, and I'm a building science zealot. I preach the gospel of building science, yet in my own life, I fall short of the perfection I exhort others to attain. Yes, I once built a green home that had many of the features I promote here, but if you've been reading this blog for a...
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