The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Keeping the air conditioner thermostat set really low can do more than just make people uncomfortable.
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 3, 2020
I briefly worked at a dry cleaning shop in St. Louis a long time ago.  It was December, and we had a bout of super cold weather one week.  The temperature dropped to 0° F at night and got up only into the teens during the day.  I worked inside where the temperature was always nice and warm, but the...
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Air conditioner supply vent with mold because of sweating
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 23, 2020
Back in the summer of 2005, I got a call to figure out a moisture problem in a new house.  The homeowners took me into the master suite, where the first thing to catch my eye was the towel folded neatly on the floor.  It hadn't just fallen out of the laundry basket; it was there to catch the water...
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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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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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A nasty spot on this ceiling tile in my basement indicates a moisture problem
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 18, 2019
That photo above is from my basement.  In case you missed my last article, I just bought a 1961 ranch-style house in Atlanta and am embarking on the wonderful building science adventure of turning it into a high-performance home.  Ultimately, I'd like to take it all the way to net zero energy, too...
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Mid-century house in Atlanta
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 12, 2019
Let me tell you the story about a poor, young country boy who broke the law and launched me into my new project.  Back in February, I was driving home from work one evening when a driver T-boned me.  The crash totaled my car.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but I was pissed because my car was paid...
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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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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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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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