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Professor John Straube presenting on moisture physics at the 2018 Building Science Summer Camp
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 22, 2018
The 22nd annual Westford Symposium on Building Science (aka, Building Science Summer Camp) happened two weeks ago.  And it began with a bang, as Professor John Straube expounded on moisture physics for half a day.  I've now had the chance to hear him present on mechanical systems for low-load homes...
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Does the relative humidity have to be 100% whenever it's raining?
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 21, 2018
Serious question here.  Have you ever thought about what the relative humidity is when it's raining?  I've heard people say it's 100% because, well...because it has to be.  It's raining, dammit!  What else could it be? Not so fast there.  This is something we can actually look up on a weather app...
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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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Building Science Summer Camp:  Monday morning
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 10, 2018
Building Science Summer Camp, officially known as the Westford Symposium on Building Science, took place this week.  I'll write more about it next week, but to give you a flavor of it, here are a few photos from the 2018 event. On Saturday afternoon, I sprouted a rainbow out of my head.  That's...
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Zone dampers in a duct system
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 2, 2018
Last year I wrote five articles in a series on duct design and ever since, I keep getting requests to continue it.  Well, those of you looking for more in this area, you're getting your wish.  I've listed and linked the others in the series below so you can go back and read them first if you'd like...
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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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This fan should not be your first choice for keeping cool.  See point 4 below for the reason.
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 11, 2018
Here we are in the middle of air conditioning season.  So why don't we chop down some myths and misconceptions about ceiling fans.  What got me on to this topic was a video of a fan with blades that hide on top of the fan when the fan is turned off.  Sounds clever, but it's a ridiculous idea....
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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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What exactly is a low-load home?  (Architect Richard Levine stands in front of the low-load, solar home he designed and built in the 1970s. Photo by Energy Vanguard)
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 6, 2018
I found out last month that the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is working on a new design manual.  You probably know of some of their other manuals:  Manual J, Manual S, Manual D...maybe even Manual T.  They have quite a few others as well (P, H, Zr...) but now they're working on...
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Good HVAC design is 99% invisible.  (Photo of living room by Ceylon Tea Trails from flickr.com, used under a Creative Commons license.)
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 3, 2018
Sometimes people are bothered by how things look.  They don't want a return grille showing in that location or they'd rather have the supply registers low on the wall or they just can't stomach the thought of a wall-mounted ductless mini-split anywhere.  We all have our preferences about how things...
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