The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

building science experts session professor john straube teaching HVAC
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 7, 2012
Oh, where do I start? Professor John Straube spoke all day yesterday at Building Science Corporation's Experts' Session. His topic was mechanical systems for low-load buildings. You know that expression about how the information comes at you so fast in some classes that it's like drinking from a...
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hvac duct flex poorly supported reduced airflow comfort efficiency
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 19, 2012
I like flex duct. Really! In fact, I did an interview yesterday for the Energy Saving in the Home Radio Show and surprised the host, I think, when I said that to him. He's an HVAC contractor himself and is used to building science types being purists on the use of rigid ducts. (You can catch the...
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ducts inside conditioned space
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 8, 2012
One of the things that happens when you learn building science and HVAC design principles is that you can no longer go into any building without looking at the building envelope and mechanical systems. Now that my smart phone doubles as a high-resolution camera, I usually get photos of the...
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hvac air conditioner capacity tons ice finland flickr
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 21, 2012
A few years ago, a student of mine told a funny story in a home energy rater class. He was an HVAC contractor and said he was installing a new air conditioner for an elderly woman. As he was explaining things to her, he mentioned that they would be installing a 4 ton unit. "Oh, my," she said. "How...
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hvac duct design strange plenum configuration jellyfish mating
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 19, 2012
Every once in a while I come across someone's workmanship that leaves me in awe. I see it and realize that I am looking at something unique, a piece of work (in all senses of that phrase) so bold that it may never be surpassed. The one I'm about to show you is such a piece.
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hvac duct robot ductbot condensation
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 12, 2012
I've seen it over and over: The central air conditioner's ceiling vents raining down onto the floor. The insulation liner on the duct in the crawl space holding a gallon or two of water. The office that has spots appearing on the ceiling. It's not uncommon at all, although it should be.
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hvac distribution duct system losses efficiency waste baby
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 5, 2012
Babies cry. Babies are messy. Babies are inefficient. Just look at that face. Yeah, he's a cute little guy with that big smile, but it looks to me like there's been a problem with the food distribution system. Is your heating and air conditioning system like that? Chances are good that it is.
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hvac air conditioner happy family
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 20, 2012
This is the story of a happy family that got too hot and sweaty. They'd lived in their house for a while, and everything was fine at first. The central air conditioning system kept them nice and cool. Over the past few years, however—they're not sure exactly when it started—their 'Home, Sweet Home...
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hvac mini split heat pump duct rigid elbows waiting
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 16, 2012
Mini-split heat pumps and ductless go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or do they? If all mini-splits were ductless, then why were those rigid elbows sitting on a jobsite I visited recently? That home is going to be heated and cooled entirely with mini-split heat pumps.
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air conditioner cooling tips hvac waterfall swimming
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 23, 2012
We went through a record-setting heat wave recently in the US. Here in Atlanta, we set an all-time record of 106° F. Homes with properly-sized air conditioners—yeah, yeah, I know they're few and far between—are sized for our design temperature of 92° F and probably didn't stay so cool. I'm sure...
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