The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Grade I installation quality of fiberglass batt insulation
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 5, 2012
Six years ago, RESNET published a major revision of the HERS Standards, called...wait for it: the 2006 National Mortgage Industry Home Energy Rating Systems Standards. One important new feature in the standards was the grading of insulation installation quality. Before this change, R-13 insulation...
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building envelope framing penetration thermal bridging small
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 2, 2012
The title of this article refers not to the two framers charging the house with a large timber but to the framing timbers already installed above the porch. Home designers, builders, and framers aren't used to thinking about the building envelope and thermal bridging. They think more about...
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insulation Roxul mineral wool batt in framed floor
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 29, 2012
Yesterday I observed an interesting discussion on Twitter. Carl Seville, the Green Building Curmudgeon, posted a link to his article suggesting that maybe we should just ban all batt insulation. Greg La Vardera, an architect who really understands the building envelope, responded that Carl shouldn'...
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hers home energy rating duct leakage test
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 7, 2012
ENERGY STAR. LEED for Homes. Builders Challenge. HERS. It's easy to fall into the wrong line of thinking about this. I did it myself when I was new to the HERS rating industry. It's even easier now that RESNET is out there pushing hard for builders to adopt the HERS Index as a marketing tool. I'm...
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duct blaster allison bailes mean radiant temperature vs hvac system
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 16, 2012
Evidently, I'm an oddball. We published a guest post by engineer Robert Bean on comfort and ASHRAE Standard 55 a few weeks ago, and when I first read the article, one sentence jumped off the screen, grabbed me by the collar, and yelled in my face, "Allison, you ignorant nut! Mr. Bean's suggestion...
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historic house preservation deep energy retrofit Georgia swayback
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 9, 2012
In one corner, we have a core of people who have dedicated themselves to preserving old buildings. In the other corner is a group that strives to save energy by making buildings more efficient. These two groups often charge out of their respective corners, not realizing at first that they were even...
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attic insulation fiberglass resnet grade i installation cable guy 1
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 6, 2012
On one of my recent quality assurance trips for our HERS raters, I made a discovery of a building envelope problem that's best told in pictures. When I went into the attic, what I noticed first was that the blown fiberglass insulation looked really good. They'd put in enough insulation for a high R...
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leed certified glass homes all windows no wall insulation
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 1, 2012
New houses certified in the LEED for Homes program will be required to have 100% windows in all above-grade walls once the new 2012 update is approved by US Green Building Council (USGBC) members this summer. The LEED certification program has grown tremendously over the past decade, and in the...
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attic kneewall bonus room door
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 23, 2012
Yesterday I was doing a home energy rating for quality assurance in Augusta, Georgia, and the house I was in had a bonus room. Bonus rooms are often the least comfortable room in a house, and the main reason is that they are the most flawed part of the building envelope, especially the attic...
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spray foam insulation building envelope new big hole 2 infrared image Jamie Kaye
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 21, 2012
After reading an article by Joe Lstiburek titled Just Right and Airtight, I got to thinking about what we've been spending a lot of time on lately, and that is what we call the “New Big Holes.” Of the 350+ spray foam encapsulations we have tested with a Blower Door and infrared (IR) camera, it's...
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