The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Missed insulation and air barrier
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 16, 2017
The Atlanta housing market is booming again. I see renovations, infill, and tear-downs all over the place lately. There's a rebuild after tear-down happening now along one of my main walks. You saw a little about it already. Remember that house with the terrible joist blocking to the garage? Well,...
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Attics encapsulated with spray foam insulation have more volume
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 11, 2017
What happens to the heating and cooling loads when you encapsulate an attic? With the insulation and air barrier at the ceiling below the attic, you're excluding the attic space. That volume of air up there isn't involved in the conditioning of the home. But when you move the enclosure to the...
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Improper window flashing with house wrap
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 9, 2017
After taking classes for the past 15 years, my sister graduated from college last week. While I was in Lakeland, Florida for her graduation, I took the photo above. It's a hotel under construction. I took this picture because I was surprised to see curtains in the windows at this stage of...
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Lots of snow out West but warmer than usual temperatures in winter 2016-17
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 8, 2017
We've had some beautiful, cool weather here in Atlanta the past couple of days. It's about 50° F outdoors as I write this. The high yesterday was only about 70° F. We're getting a few more heating degree days (HDD) in the middle of May. (Heating degree days are really just another way at looking at...
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Home energy quiz from the US Dept. of Energy
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 4, 2017
I found this little quiz on Twitter the other day. I got 9 correct out of 12, but I'd like to dispute one of my wrong answers. One of the answers surprised me. And I was glad to see one of them support an article I wrote in 2014. If you want to take the quiz before reading my quick take on it, go...
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Stick-built home with advanced framing
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 3, 2017
Most new homes in North America are built with sticks. The early home builders used bigger pieces of wood — timbers — and when the smaller dimensional lumber that we use so much today hit the market, they scoffingly referred to those new-fangled little woody things as sticks. So now our home...
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A difficult air sealing task with garage ceiling joists
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 2, 2017
The I-joists in the photo above run across the top of the wall between the dining room and the garage. In the old days, before anyone worried at all about air moving through those joist cavities, the builder didn't do anything with them. You can see here, though, that the builder knows a thing or...
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Air sealing the Build SMART wall panels with a sausage gun
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 1, 2017
Seven years ago Georgia led the nation. Yep. We were the first state to adopt an energy code that made blower door testing mandatory. All new homes built in the state had to show through performance testing that they had an air leakage rate of less than 7 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of...
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Building a new home
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 24, 2017
You're having your dream house built. You're into the design phase, working with an architect or looking through collections of house plans. You're doing your homework, trying to find out how to ensure you get a top quality house. And that's when you run into all this stuff about building science,...
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Plastic pipes usually indicate a high efficiency furnace. But what key piece does this ignore?
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 17, 2017
You can tell how energy efficient a furnace is by its official efficiency rating, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). It's a measure of how much of the heat originally in the fuel that's being burned is available for delivery to the home. The more heat that gets lost up the flue or...
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