The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Low indoor relative humidity in winter is common
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 15, 2019
I'm going to go out on a limb and make what you may think is an outrageous statement:  Water is the most interesting substance in the world.  Some of you may immediately respond, "Oh, yeah!  What about beer?"  (Or wine or Sidecars, Negronis, or Sazeracs or whatever your drink of choice is.) ...
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Abundant pressure drops in flex duct installation
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 8, 2019
"Don't sweat the small stuff," they say.  You know what, though?  That may be great advice for your emotional life but it's terrible advice for just about anything to do with buildings.  Whether you're designing them, specifying materials, putting them together, or fixing them later, buildings have...
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High-MERV filters are more restrictive but do they reduce air flow?
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 16, 2019
Over the past few months, I've taken a look at some critical issues for indoor air quality.  Starting with the issue of how much time we spend indoors, I then wrote about kitchen ventilation, the panoply of indoor air pollutants, problems with filters in general and with high-MERV filters.  Now let...
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Aprilaire high-MERV filter with carbon
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 9, 2018
What is a hair's breadth?  A strand of the finest human hair is about 20 micrometers (also called microns) in diameter.  Take a piece and slice it in half.  Then take one of those halves and slice it in half again...and then one more time.  Now you've got a sliver of hair that's 2.5 microns wide. ...
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Filter bypass because of incorrectly installed filter
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 24, 2018
Indoor air quality (IAQ) researchers have established that little bitty invisible pieces of stuff that float around in the air are bad for human health.  Of course, being scientists, they don't call it little bitty invisible pieces of stuff.  They call it particulate matter (PM) or particulates. ...
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Paracelsus, the father of toxicology
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 22, 2018
That face above is of a physician, alchemist, and astrologer named Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim.  He is deemed the father of toxicology and is better known by the name Paracelsus.  I begin this article with him because Dr. Brett Singer, at Building Science Summer Camp...
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A Make It Right house in New Orleans with serious moisture problems
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 13, 2018
Hurricane Katrina barreled through New Orleans in 2005.  The levees failed, flooding 80% of the city and destroying many homes.  The low-income residents in the Lower 9th Ward were particularly harmed by the storm, many losing everything they owned.  Two years later, Brad Pitt started the Make It...
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Kitchen range hood
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 4, 2018
Energy efficiency is a gateway drug to building science.  When you really start learning about it, you come to the inescapable conclusion that there's so much more to making homes better than just saving energy.  A house is a system, you know.  There's moisture and comfort and indoor air quality...
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The Corsi Code, a breakdown of how you spend your life
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 31, 2018
Back in 2004, as I was immersing myself in the world of building science and green building, I took the US Green Building Council's exam to become a LEED Accredited Professional.  I bought their book.  I took a study course at Southface to prepare for the test.  And that's when I learned a...
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Lyle Lovett and His Large Band in concert at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 17, 2018
Last weekend my wife and I went to Asheville, North Carolina to hear Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at the Biltmore Estate.  It was a wonderful evening!  Mountains, sunset, gardens...  We even had four planets lined up over the stage:  Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus. While in Asheville, we spent...
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