Revising Our HVAC Design

After considering the importance of indoor air quality, we decided to make some design changes so we have the highest indoor air quality while maintaining the optimal energy efficiency.  Bryan has been working with Ken Martin, of Silicon Valley Mechanical, to make this happen.

Ken identified a number of locations where air would be flowing to/from the ground floor to the lower level.  We need to ensure these penetrations do not hit our PEX, which is embedded in the concrete, and that the structural integrity of our concrete floor is not compromised.

Building Our Water Treatment System

Adam, having worked under the careful guidance of Edwin Tomas (Silicon Valley Mechanical), cut the copper fittings and built the components.  Then, he sweated the components together into separate assemblies.

Adam started by making a jig that would hold the components …


Then started ‘sweating’ the pieces together to create the components …


And, finally, sweated the components together and made the assembly.


The two assembies were joined and the complete system pressure tested to 100 PSI overnight. The system is in front of where it will be cut into the actual water supply. Note that we moved the potassium tank into the corner.

Treating Our Water

We want to have excellent water inside our house.  First, we need to get rid of the ‘scaling’ of the hard water that we have.  Second, we want the water purified so we can drink it.  Although our water in Monte Sereno is relatively pure, it is loaded with calcium carbonate, which leaves a white residue (scaling) everywhere.

We bought the equipment through Jerry Breen, who is a water ‘expert’ that lives in our community in Los Gatos.

After Jerry designed our system, we had the components delivered and now have to build the system.

First, the water is put through an activated charcoal filter, which eliminates organic materials and filters any sediments out of the water.  Then, the water goes through a potassium water softner, which eliminates the calcium carbonate that causes scaling.

Our water treatment system will be in the East Mechanical room and has the activated charcoal filter on the left, with the potassium water softener on the right. The bin in the middle is for holding the potassium cubes.


We will use the remaining copper fittings from our West Mechanical room ...


Here is the layout for one of the two components. (Don't worry, it will be easier to understand once built.)


Hosting Students from West Valley College

We’ve hosted a number of site visits for various groups .in the past.  Usually, the groups are architects or construction students.  This one was a bit different as it was a group of interior design students from West Valley College.

The instructor was Linda Newton, and she was referred to us by John Mitchell and Dan Singleton.  Linda was interested in showing her students the systems comprising an energy efficient home.  Specifically, she wanted a tour to show the mechanical systems, geothermal heat exchange, solar photovoltaic system, and rainwater capture and management.

Linda estimated  that there could be some 30 students that may attend.  For such a group, we thought it would be best to have three groups of ten, with three ‘tour stations.’  Bryan recruited Ken Martin and John Rider to host two stations, with Bryan hosting the third.  Each group would spend up to 20 minutes at each ‘tour station’ then rotate.  Yes, each tour station host would have to make similar presentations three times.

The tour started promptly as planned, and went for a full 90 minutes.  We were pleased to have several of the instructors there from the Interior Design Faculty.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the tour and they wanted to see it upon completion.


Bryan provides an overview in the Atrium at the start of the tour (left to right, Esin Kariova, Cigdern Bulut, Lucile Glessner, Carol Langston, Elizabeth Goldberg and Cita Rojas.


More students …


Ken Martin presenting the technical aspects of the geothermal heat exchange and hydronic heating/cooling systems.



Ken Marting explaining how a manifold works for multiple zones.



Bryan explaining in the Atrium. Left to right, Citta Rojas, Lucile Glessner, Billy Gee, Rashmi Singh and Diane Hurd (Department Chair).


Linda Newton, who organized the tour.


Everyone liked the ‘vertical culvert’ with the water at the bottom.


John Rider presenting, using his iPad.


Wrapping up in the Lower Level …


Hosting a class from West Valley College. Left to right, Cigdem Bulut, full time faculty, Bryan, Anna Harrison, ASID, LEED AP, associate faculty, and Linda Sanford, lighting designer/associate faculty.

Lighting Up the East Mechanical Room

We received the 3FLinda lights and were able to get them installed.  They look great!

Dan and Adam continued to work on the wall in the Wine Dining.  This will be a work of art that will be absolutely amazing.  While enjoying a glass of wine, it will be nice to reflect on how the wall was built and where the materials came from.

Way cool ..

These are the individual pieces of wood that are being used to construct the West wall in the Wine Dining room.

Dan and Adam have been working meticulously on the wall. Each strip is one inch wide and consists of five (5) pieces of wood. These pieces are held together with a spline, which is nailed into the wall with 22 gauge stainless steel brad nails.

The East Mechanical room is lit up with the 3FLinda lights.

The 3FLinda fixtures each have two T5-HO fluorescent bulbs. The temporary light is in the background.

View of the network equipment rack in the East Mechanical room. The shelfs under the rack are temporary.