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ventilation energy enthalpy recovery ventilator erv humidity
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 9, 2018
When I woke up Saturday morning, the temperature outdoors was -40 degrees†. The wind chill was -100 degrees! It was just unbelievably, impossibly, inhumanly cold outside. Fortunately, that was on a mountaintop in New Hampshire and not where I was. I happened to have woken up on a mountaintop in...
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When stakeholders buy in to doing things right, building enclosure problems like this are reduced.
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 3, 2018
Last month I read a nice little article by Steve Baczek about getting buy-in from the various stakeholders involved with building a home. He's an architect who works closely with the people who build the homes he designs. He's also a former US Marine who understands the importance of what he calls...
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A certified Passive House in Seattle, Washington
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 2, 2018
Well, another year has come and gone. Out with the old, in with the new, and all that. A time for introspection and resolutions. Taking stock of where we are and plotting a course for where we want to be. All because of a somewhat arbitrary turning of the calendar from one year to the next. A...
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A 2x4 wall with blown fiberglass insulation
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 19, 2017
Remember that article I wrote last week? You know, the one about how much you might save if you go beyond a standard 2x4 wall in a warm climate? I showed three tables in the article. The first was a list of the whole-wall R-values for the standard 2x4 wall and three better walls. The second showed...
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Is it better to go with exterior continuous insulation or thicker walls?
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 12, 2017
If you live in the world of 2x4 walls, as I do, you may have wondered about the savings you'd get by going to a more robust wall assembly. The typical house in southern climes has 2x4 walls with R-13 insulation in the cavities. Two ways to beef that up would be to add continuous exterior insulation...
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Lake Fryxell on Antarctica will never reach absolute zero (photo by Joe Mastroianni, National Science Foundation, in the public domain)
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 28, 2017
Thermodynamics is a big subject. It's complex because you can get to the same conclusions in multiple ways. Just take a look at the different formulations of the second law of thermodynamics. In addition, the laws are macroscopic, meaning we don't need to know anything about atoms or molecules to...
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Second law of thermodynamics
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 16, 2017
The first law of thermodynamics is one of the more well-known laws of physics, especially in its generalized form of conservation of energy. It provides us with the power to see through stupid ideas and scams. It's so important, in fact, that even Homer Simpson invokes the laws of thermodynamics...
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hvac furnace atmospheric combustion burner dragon heating capacity
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 15, 2017
Today we take the next step on our stroll through the laws of thermodynamics. As you know from reading the first part of this series, the numbering of the four laws begins with zero, so here, in the second part, we discuss the first law of thermodynamics, which is actually the second of the four....
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water ice cube bizarre property
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 14, 2017
Building science is an odd subject. Few colleges and universities teach it. The majority of those who work on buildings call themselves engineers, architects, and contractors, not building scientists. And many of those who do invoke the term can explain at least one formulation of the second law of...
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HVAC system blower
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 24, 2017
We live in this invisible stuff called air. (But of course you knew that.) We pump it into and out of our lungs. We exhaust it from our bathrooms and kitchens. We cycle it through our heating and air conditioning systems. If we're lucky, we live in a home that even brings outdoor air inside as part...
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