The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

insulation expanded polystyrene eps graphite leigha dickens deltec homes
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 28, 2013
Yesterday I got to see something I learned about only two weeks ago at Building Science Summer Camp. That's where I found out that 85% of all expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation in Germany is grey because it has graphite in it. I was intrigued. Until this week, though, I'd never seen any of...
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Building science secrets for home builders and remodelers
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 30, 2013
Overall, the state of the construction industry is improving. A lot of home builders and remodelers are learning, either out of interest or coercion, about building science and how to apply it to their work.
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mushroom insulation tiny house ecovative design green smile
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 17, 2013
Rather than blowing agents, this insulation uses growing agents. It's natural. It's made with agricultural waste and fungi. You can grow it in place. No hydrocarbons are involved, and it yields little to no toxic waste. Compared to most other insulation materials, it takes little energy to make the...
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The Wicked Witch of the West knows about phase changes!
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 18, 2013
Which takes more heat — melting a pound of feathers or raising the temperature of a pound of feathers from the melting to the boiling point? OK, let me rephrase that. If the Wicked Witch of the West melts at a temperature of 45° C and her current temperature is 35° C, how much heat does it take to...
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green home building scaffolding allison bailes tools
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 3, 2013
When I wrote about the net zero energy home that Amy Musser and Matt Vande built, I was really impressed that they were willing to share the mistakes they'd made and what they would do differently if they could go back and start over. Several readers remarked on that in the comments as well. Since...
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jack man cave outside
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 31, 2013
My wife and I visited family in Florida recently and our first stop was the home of my sister and brother-in-law in Lakeland (east of Tampa). They haven't lived in the house all that long, and my brother-in-law, Jack, moved his man-cave into the one upstairs room when they settled in. After one...
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insulation inspection wall hole drywall
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 28, 2013
If you live in an older home, the walls may or may not have insulation in them. After you've tackled all the easier-to-access parts of the building enclosure, namely the floors and ceilings, uninsulated walls would be next on the list. If you're replacing the siding or doing a full gut-rehab, it'll...
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Insulation comes labeled with an R-value, but what does that mean?
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 24, 2013
In the world of building construction, improvement, and analysis, we talk about R-value all the time. Generally we talk about it as if it's a constant number. Hey, R-19 is stamped right there on the product, so that's what it is, right? Well, maybe. Sometimes.
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insulation outlaw ban tea party april fool day
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 1, 2013
Hidden deep within the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act, recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, is a provision that outlaws insulation in all new buildings. Citing its potential as both a cause of pandemics and an all-hazard, the bill's authors...
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building enclosure ice dam icicle snow melt heat strip aspen
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 15, 2013
On my trip to Aspen, Colorado last week, when I learned to ski, I noticed an interesting snow pattern on a lot of the roofs of the houses near where we stayed. Not being from snow country, I didn't know what they were. In fact, when I posted the lower photo in this article to Facebook, my friend...
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