The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

The soffits, fascias, and gutters need to be replaced, opening up an air-sealing opportunity
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 11, 2019
The number one thing you need to do to protect a building is control water.  As the Canadian building scientist Gus Handegord said, "The three biggest problems in buildings are water, water, and water."  So, with the 1961 house I bought this year, one of the first things I discovered was the...
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Spray foam insulation in an encapsulated attic.  How good is at the eaves?
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 8, 2019
An attic that's brought inside the building enclosure is a beautiful thing.  This is most often done with spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, either open-cell or closed-cell.  Here in the southeastern US, open-cell is most often the spray foam of choice.  But how well does this process of...
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An older house with ducts located in the third worst place you can put them
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 14, 2019
Ah, so many choices.  If you want to design and install a duct system to create problems, the possibilities are endless.  I've certainly written about a lot of them (as well as how to do it properly).  Today, though, let's focus on one particularly bad place to put a duct.  In fact, I think it's...
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fiberglass-batt-insulation-grade-1-building-enclosure.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 9, 2019
The Home Innovation Research Labs (HIRL) does an annual survey of home builders to find out what they're doing.  The results of their 2019 survey of the homes built in 2018 are out now, and they recently published an interesting article about the breakdown of different insulation materials used by...
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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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Do convective loops in loose-fill fiberglass attic insulation cause it to lose up to half its R-value?
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 7, 2019
When you get into the world of building science, it's inevitable that you'll hear about the study that proved fiberglass insulation loses half its R-value because of convection within the insulation.  Or it could be you're a homeowner who's been told about this problem by an insulation contractor...
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loaa 2 insulation blown cellulose complete coverage energy vanguard
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 27, 2018
I love insulation. It's a wonderful thing because it saves energy. It makes buildings more comfortable. And it's pretty inexpensive considering how long it lasts (or should last). I get asked a lot for my opinion on the best insulation to put in a building and my answer is straightforward: A well-...
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Water vapor and cool surfaces are a bad combination
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 17, 2018
Because I've written so much about moisture in buildings, I get a lot of questions on the topic. Some are about walls. Some are about the attic. Some are about windows. Some are about the crawl space (which generates the most questions on this topic). The key to answering a lot of those questions...
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Is it better to go with exterior continuous insulation or thicker walls?
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 12, 2017
If you live in the world of 2x4 walls, as I do, you may have wondered about the savings you'd get by going to a more robust wall assembly. The typical house in southern climes has 2x4 walls with R-13 insulation in the cavities. Two ways to beef that up would be to add continuous exterior insulation...
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raised heel truss, photo by APA - The Engineered Wood Association
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 7, 2017
A comfortable, energy efficient home begins with a good building enclosure. That means control layers. You've got to control the flows of moisture, air, and heat. Today, let's talk about controlling heat and further, let's focus on heat going through the top of the house. If you've read my Flat or...
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