The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Crawl space moisture sources
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 5, 2017
Here in the southeastern US, we have a lot of crawl spaces. Most are vented. Even most new ones are vented. It's not because it's the best way to keep them dry. That's certainly not true. We have enough research on crawl spaces to know better. No, they're vented because foundation vents got into...
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The outdoor unit of an air conditioner or heat pump
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 3, 2017
I was on a tour of passive house projects in Seattle a couple of days ago when someone asked me, "What do you call the outdoor part of a heat pump? The condenser? The compressor?" For someone not immersed in the field of HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning), that can be confusing. So...
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Making third-party HVAC design work
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 28, 2017
What if a builder refused to build from plans drawn by an architect? What if a tile installer refused to implement designs handed to them and instead did their own thing? What if an HVAC contractor told a potential client they wouldn't install a system designed by a third party to ACCA protocols?...
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Your air conditioner is more efficient in fall and spring
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 20, 2017
It's cooled off a bit here in Atlanta. A couple of weeks ago we even had temperatures down in the low 50s Fahrenheit. Ah, that felt nice, especially since I've been running again this year.1 With the fall equinox two days away, we should start seeing more of those nice cool days. We're back up...
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Can you get condensation on a sponge?
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 7, 2017
Last week I taught a class called What the Duct!? at the Builders' Boot Camp in Virginia. Paul Francisco was one of the other instructors (teaching about indoor air quality), and on the last evening at dinner, our conversation turned to building science. (Imagine that!) I don't recall exactly how...
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Moisture problems at the air conditioning diffusers in a trendy restaurant
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 25, 2017
I've got the curse, you know. I can't walk into a building and not check out what's going on with ductwork, windows, and anything else that lets me apply what I know about building science. Yesterday, I went to lunch at a trendy restaurant near Emory University and of course looked up at the...
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To understand heat, air, and moisture flows in buildings, think materials, assemblies, and enclosure.
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 17, 2017
When you approach the subject of building science, especially as it regards heat, air, and moisture flows through the building enclosure, it's easy to get confused. There's a lot to learn: blower door testing, insulation grading, R-value, permeance, radiant barriers, combustion safety, solar heat...
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Builders' Boot Camp in Christiansburg, VA, 30-31 August 2017
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 9, 2017
Now that Summer Camp is over, I'm excited about Boot Camp. That would be the Builders' Boot Camp that Community Housing Partners (CHP) puts on each year. It's being held on 30-31 August. I haven't been part of it before, but this year I'm teaching a half-day class four times over the two day affair...
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Flex duct presentation intro, 2017 Buildng Science Summer Camp
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 8, 2017
One week ago I spoke at the Westford Symposium on Building Science. You may know it better as Building Science Summer Camp, since that's what everyone calls it. I wrote up a little summary of the whole conference last week but didn't say a lot about my presentation. Today I'll fill you in on what...
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raised heel truss, photo by APA - The Engineered Wood Association
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 7, 2017
A comfortable, energy efficient home begins with a good building enclosure. That means control layers. You've got to control the flows of moisture, air, and heat. Today, let's talk about controlling heat and further, let's focus on heat going through the top of the house. If you've read my Flat or...
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