The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Burning fuels in the home is an ancient practice, but it needs to be done safely
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 11, 2020
We are now ten short days from the winter solstice and many of us in the Northern Hemisphere have been in heating season for a while.  That means there's a lot more combustion happening in homes than there was in the summer.  We humans have millennia of experience with burning stuff in our homes,...
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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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Posted by Allison Bailes on January 15, 2016
If you have an attached garage where you live, the odds are high that your indoor air quality is worse than a home without an attached garage. Just take a look at the photo below to see some of the sources of pollutants that can get into your home's air. How many do you see?
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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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hvac furnace atmospheric combustion air building code irc nfpa
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 10, 2015
Remember those two furnaces I showed you photos of last week? You know, the ones that had ducts placed—or taped, in one case—right in front of them to bring them combustion air. I told you it wasn't a good way to deal with the combustion air issue, but let's go a little further today. Let's look at...
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watersense low flush toilet water efficiency
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 11, 2015
Energy usually gets top billing in the green building community. It has a huge impact on the environment. We sometimes pay a significant amount for it (although most of us don't pay enough to motivate serious change, but that's another story). We can do energy modeling and home energy ratings. Plus...
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clark howard diy ways save energy bill
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 18, 2014
Clark Howard is the penny pincher's guru. My wife loves his radio show and website for all the money-saving tips he provides. Naturally, anyone trying to help people save money at home has to address energy use, and Howard does, too. Unlike some others, though, he's generally well educated on the...
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water heater combustion safety flue pipe exhaust in house
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 20, 2014
Burning fuels inside a house can lead to serious health and safety problems. Energy auditors do a variety of combustion safety tests to find potential hazards and recommend fixes. A couple of weeks ago at the Dry Climate Forum, I heard Vi Rapp, PhD of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) make an...
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Albert Einstein knew that planning ahead was the key to solving problems.
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 4, 2013
I get a lot of questions from people asking how they should go about fixing their homes. Sometimes it's specific (What's the best way to insulate my kneewalls?), and sometimes it's a hands up in the air, With all these problems, where do I start?  I'll focus on the latter today and let Albert...
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garage air conditioning duct system negative pressure
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 2, 2013
Sometimes people do the craziest things. Take that photo below, for example. That's a new home being built in Austin, Texas. The arrows point to three air conditioning ducts. In the garage. Yes, they're air conditioning the garage.
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