The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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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Bathroom exhaust fan brings humid air into the house
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 20, 2018
Nope.  Today is not the first of April.  Nor is this one of those special April Fools' Day articles I write at random times.  This one's real.  A white noise generator has now been used in at least one home to reduce indoor humidity.  And no, this isn't an amazing scientific breakthrough either....
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Dew point isn't just for understanding condensation
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 9, 2018
I've been on a bit of a mission for the past several years.  My goal is to get more people thinking about humidity in terms of dew point rather than relative humidity.  Why?  Because relative humidity is misleading.  That whole "relative" thing is a bit slippery, you know. For example, I've had a...
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Ventilation grille bringing in straight outdoor air at the ASHRAE conference hotel in Houston, Texas  (photo by Nikki Krueger of Therma-Stor, used with permission)
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 24, 2018
I've been going to the meetings of the ASHRAE residential ventilation committee (SSPC 62.2, to be specific) for the past few years.  As a matter of fact, I'm writing this article from my room in Houston, the site of the summer meeting.  It's always interesting to go to these things because the...
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