The most recent blogs at Lakesideca Advisor

Condensation on Car Windshields

Posted on February 2, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A surprising number of people don’t understand the causes of condensation. If you ask a stranger on the sidewalk, “Does condensation happen when cold air encounters a warm surface, or when warm air encounters a cold surface?,” many people will shrug their shoulders.

Here’s an example of this type of confusion: When drivers see condensation on their windshield during the summer, they are often unsure of the best remedy. Should they turn on the heater or the air conditioner?

Let’s look at four different scenarios.

We’re Pouring Millions of Tons of Salt on Our Roads

Posted on February 1, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By GREG BREINING

If you live — and drive — in a northern or mountainous climate, you’ve seen highway trucks spreading loads of rock salt on snowy highways to melt the ice. But where does the salt go?

The FHA Problem with PACE

Posted on January 31, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By JACOB CORVIDAE and MARTHA CAMPBELL

Last month, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced it will stop insuring new mortgages on homes with property assessed clean energy (PACE) loans. As to what motivated its decision —

Why Is Wood Burning Counted as Green Energy?

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Fred Pearce in Guest Blogs

This post originally appeared at

Six Steps to Success With Heat-Recovery Ventilation

Posted on January 29, 2018 by Bruce Sullivan in Guest Blogs

Heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs) remove stale air from the home and replace it (in winter) with preheated fresh air from outside. The result is better indoor air quality and lower energy use than in standard homes. The HRV itself is fairly simple: an airtight box with a heat exchange core that transfers heat from the indoor air to outside air (or vice-versa) as the air passes through the box. The box also contains two small fans to move the air. All the points below apply equally to HRVs and their close cousins, energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs).

Brick Chimneys With Multiple Flues

Posted on January 26, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

One of my first construction jobs in Vermont, back in the late 1970s, was at an architect-designed home with a massive brick chimney with four flues: one flue for the oil-fired boiler, and three flues for the home’s three wood stoves. The chimney worked fine — mostly because the house had so many air leaks that the wood stoves were never starved for combustion air.

Massive chimneys like the one I remember from that job are expensive to build, but they are often a source of pride for the owner. They provide interior thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night. ; they are durable; and they are handsome to behold.

Kingspan Kooltherm Phenolic Foam Rigid Insulation

Posted on January 25, 2018 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Improving the thermal performance of an existing attic is often challenging: workers are faced with narrow cavities, low clearances, and claddingMaterials used on the roof and walls to enclose a house, providing protection against weather. systems that make it hard to achieve desired R-values while still maintaining the necessary drying potential of the assembly.

The house at 81 Chapin Street in Brattleboro, Vermont, is no exception. It’s a 100-year-old wood-framed two-story home that Alex Beck and Candace Pearson are determined to comprehensively retrofit to high performance.

Adjusting Bath Fan Use in Winter

Posted on January 24, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

You may have heard or read somewhere that you should run your bathroom exhaust fan whenever you take a shower and then let it run for a while after you're done with the shower. Showers increase the humidity in the bathroom. Sometimes it gets high enough to cause condensation to appear on the mirror and other surfaces in the bathroom. And that can result in mold growth.

So you should always run your bath fan when you shower. Or so they say.

Urban Rustic: Prepping for a Basement Slab

Posted on January 23, 2018 by Eric Whetzel in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project; a list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, .

A One-Room Insulation Challenge

Posted on January 22, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

The one-room addition on Emerson W's home is not what anyone would realistically consider over-insulated: R-11 batts in the walls and R-19 at most in the ceiling. But the immediate issue is the floor. There's no insulation at all there, and because the addition sits on concrete piers, there's nothing to stop the wind from blowing freely below.

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