The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Posted by Allison Bailes on November 20, 2015
"Oops! The house just had an accident. Whose turn is it to clean it up?" Yep. We're entering the season of accidental dehumidification. If you've got windows that start collecting water, like the one shown below, you're a victim of accidental dehumidification. It's not something you want in a...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on August 24, 2015
My friends up in Maine came up with the concept of the Pretty Good House a few years ago, and I love the idea! Not everyone can or wants to build a LEED Platinum, Living Building Challenge, Passive House. But a lot of architects, builders, and homebuyers would like to design, build, and live in...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on July 10, 2015
Jeffrey was driving through Atlanta the other day and saw a new building under construction that forced him to slam on the brakes. He got his camera out and took the photo below. Can you see why he was so excited?
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double stud wall design Joseph Lstiburek BSC 550
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 29, 2015
Joe Lstiburek called me last week to set the record straight. I had written an article about a study of moisture in double-stud walls in a Massachusetts home, and his company, Building Science Corporation (BSC), had done the research as part of the Building America program. They found elevated...
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double wall cold sheathing moisture content BSC 1
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 22, 2015
Insulation is good. More insulation is better (although at some point, more may not be cost effective). It reduces the amount of heat a home loses in winter or gains in summer. You can get there by building thicker walls and putting more insulation in the cavities, or you can put insulation on the...
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terry brennan abaa conference dallas 2015
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 15, 2015
Last week I got a chance to sit down and talk with Terry Brennan in Dallas at the Air Barrier Association of America’s annual conference. He may not be as famous as Joe Lstiburek, but he’s every bit the building science pioneer. Armed with a physics degree, the ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals, and...
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spray foam insulation california dtsc karl palmer 600
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 31, 2015
Last summer I learned about the state of California's efforts to create more healthful buildings and working conditions. In 2008, they passed the California Green Chemistry Initiative with the intent of reducing state residents' exposure to toxic chemicals. California leads the US in new directions...
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grandfather mountain insolation insulation solar energy
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 27, 2015
In 1993 I took a graduate course in solar energy from Professor Yogi Goswami. It was a great course, and one of the projects we had to do was to compile a whole binder full of solar radiation data for Gainesville, Florida. I used an ancient spreadsheet called Lotus 1-2-3 (remember that?) to do all...
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near net zero energy home utah 2
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 18, 2015
I'm writing this on St. Patrick's Day so let me tell you a wee bit about the O'Mearas. Kevin and Svetlana O'Meara live in a beautiful home in Utah that's oh-so-close to being a net zero energy home. After I wrote about how home building is like skiing two years ago, Kevin invited me out to see...
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fiberglass insulation wall cavity johns manville spider
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 24, 2015
We used to build houses without giving much thought to heat flow through the walls, ceilings, and floors. The main thing was to provide some resistance against wind and rain, and then we'd get a fire going to try to make the indoor temperatures bearable. If you've ever lived in an old, uninsulated...
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