Archive for July, 2010

Summarizing Our Construction Progress for the Week

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

It was a beautiful, blue-sky California day.  The morning fog lifted around mid-morning, leaving a warm, but not too hot, day.

Perfect for documenting our progress at the job site this week.

Putting Down a Deposit on a Nissan LEAF

We had some friends over for dinner, including Mike Calise.  Mike is with EVadvise, which is an consultancy firm that focuses on electric vehicles (EV).  Mike explained the benefits of electric vehicles to us and, after a bottle of wine (Chardonnay?), we went to the Nissan LEAF web site and put down a deposit to reserve an all-electric Nissan LEAF.

In California, there are special high occupancy vehicle lanes (known as carpool lanes or, as Nik and Kate say, ‘diamond lanes’) that only vehicles with more than a stated number of people can use.  In most areas, high occupancy vehicles have two or more people in the vehicle.  On most roads, the carpool lanes only allow HOVs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 9:00 am. 

Carpool lane sticker.  The ticket to driving in the carpool lanes.

To promote the adoption of hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, the (Great) State of California passed a law allowing a limited number of hybrid vehicles with only the driver in the vehicle to use the carpool lanes regardless of the time of day.  These vehicles have yellow stickers, signifying they can be in the carpool lanes at any time.  The stickers expire on January 1, 2011 so in only five months there will be 85,000 more vehicles in the non-carpool lanes.

However, the legislators are considering changing the laws to allow all-electric vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF, to use the carpool lanes.

Considering we missed buying a vehicle with yellow stickers, we certainly want to buy a vehicle that is allowed to use the carpool lanes.  This is an opportunity that we simply cannot miss.

Summary
 

Trenching

  • Sewer connection inspected and passed, and backfilled
  • Sewer to garage and South West corner of house completed
  • Connection to San Jose Water meter completed; inspection by the City of Monte Sereno on Monday afternoon (08/02/10)
  • Trench from underground cistern to storm sewer connection completed to sidewalk on Winchester
  • Trench to fill/overflow stubs for underground cistern completed 

Roof

  • All four (4) skylight curbs completed
  • Upper flat roof fascia completed
  • Two (2) of five (5) gable fascia ends completed
  • Twenty (20) linear feet of one hundred (100) linear feet of gable to flat roof connections completed

 

Our PERT chart, showing the remaining items to be completed before we can install the tapered foam roof crickets.

Our PERT chart, showing the remaining items to be completed before we can install the tapered foam roof crickets.

 

 

The trench from San Jose Water Company meter to the house was completed, with the 1-1/4 inch pipe installed.  The City of Monte Sereno will inspect this connection on Monday afternoon so we can backfill this trench.

The trench from San Jose Water Company meter to the house was completed, with the white 1-1/4 inch pipe installed. The City of Monte Sereno will inspect this connection on Monday afternoon so we can backfill this trench.

 

 

This congested trench area shows the water supply line (white 1-1/4 inch pipe) coming from the San Jose Water meter, and how it will be at least three (3) feet from PG&E's natural gas and electric services.

This congested trench area shows the water supply line (white 1-1/4 inch pipe) coming from the San Jose Water meter, and how it will be at least three (3) feet from PG&E

 

 

View of North East section of pool, showing completed trench to pool equipment (view unobstructed without the Hollywood Juniper).

View of North East section of pool, showing completed trench to pool equipment (view unobstructed without the Hollywood Juniper).

 

 

North end of South gable, which has been filled in with plywood.  Note the electrical conduit for the solar panels needs to be installed at the left side of the lower flat roof.

North end of South gable, which has been filled in with plywood. Note the electrical conduit for the solar panels needs to be installed at the left side of the lower flat roof.

 

 

Fully insulated (and enlarged) skylight curb completed on lower flat roof.

Fully insulated (and enlarged) skylight curb completed on lower flat roof.

 

 

There are three design details for the fascia:  the Upper Flat Roof fascia; Gable Roof fascia; and Lower Flat Roof fascia.

There are three design details for the fascia: the Upper Flat Roof fascia; Gable Roof fascia; and Lower Flat Roof fascia.

 

 

The Upper Flat Roof fascia has two (2) 2x8s with a one-inch space between them.  The fascia must extend above and below the SIP roof.  This fascia will be covered with natural zinc.

The Upper Flat Roof fascia has two (2) 2x8s with a one-inch space between them. The fascia must extend above and below the SIP roof. This fascia will be covered with natural zinc.

 

 

Upper Flat Roof fascia completed, showing the one-inch gap between the 2x6s.

Upper Flat Roof fascia completed, showing the one-inch gap between the 2x6s.

 

 

Under side of Upper Flat Roof, showing the detail where the remilled redwood will be.  Note the 2x6 will be covered with natural zinc.

Under side of Upper Flat Roof, showing the detail where the remilled redwood will be. Note the 2x6 will be covered with natural zinc.

 

 

The fascia for the Gable Roof consists of two (2) 2x8s.  There will be an air gap in the Gable Roof for a radiant heat barrier.

The fascia for the Gable Roof consists of two (2) 2x8s. There will be an air gap in the Gable Roof for a radiant heat barrier.

 

 

Fascia completed on West side of North Gable.

Fascia completed on West side of North Gable.

 

 

Detial on Gable Roof fascia (South West side of East gable).

Detail on Gable Roof fascia (South West side of East gable).

Getting Back on Track

Friday, July 30th, 2010

We’re getting our project back on track.  We are continuing to working on the roof (so we can install the windows), and also starting to backfill our open trenches (versus digging more trenches).

Agreeing on the Trenching

We wanted to ensure PG&E approved our trenching strategy before digging too much.  Our project coordinator, Nathan, came to the job site and reviewed the electrical conduit that we uncovered.  He saw the water pipe (from San Jose Water Company’s meter, and agreed that it would be ok.

After the City of Monte Sereno inspects the water connection behind the meter, we’ll be able to backfill the trench from the water meter to the cistern trench.  Filling this trench will provide some much-needed real estate.

Identifying the Roof and Floor Penetrations

We can’t put our roof membrane on until we identify and make all of the penetrations through the flat roof.  The penetrations of the roof are for plumbing, dryer vents and exhaust fan vents.  The most complicated are the plumbing vents as we want to limit the number of penetrations of the roof.

Wes Wenger, of Wenger Plumbing, arrived at the job site and walked through the various plumbing fixtures that we will have.  As well, Greg (‘G-Man’) went through all of the penetrations with Wes.  Yup, Wes makes the promises and G-Man has to deliver on those promises.  It was good to establish the vents and penetrations.

We (Jo-Anne and Bryan) need to establish where the free-standing bathtub will be located in the Master Bath, as the tub drain needs to be drilled through the concrete floor.

Also, we need to get Kate’s soaking tub as this drain needs to be established, too.

Finishing the Skylight Curbs on the Lower Flat Roof

Francisco and Carlos continued working on the curbs for our Velux skylights.  This was their second day on this task and they were able to finish it off.  Bryan sent the exact locations of the skylight curbs and dimensions to Leo at Johns Manville so he could complete the shop drawings. 

Leo promised an updated layout on Monday morning, with shop drawings by close of business on Monday.

Backfilling and Compacting the Sewage Trench in Front of the Garage

With the pipe that will take the Lifesource Water Filter backwash water to our cistern stubbed out, we could now backfill and compact the sewage trench immediately in front of the garage.  This trench has been particularly irritating since it limits our movement into and out of the garage.  Plus, it looks messy.

This item was completed today.

Hosting a Friday Night Flamingo Event on Vista Avenue

As with other neighborhoods across the U.S., our neighborhood on Vista Avenue (plus Bruce Avenue and Kavin Lane) has a long-standing tradition of ‘Flamingo Nights’.  On the first Flamingo Night of the year, we signed up to host the July 30 Flamingo Night.

Kate, Sierra and Carli worked on decorations, and Jo-Anne and Wendy hung up our Flamingo lights over the garage.

Our project coordinator from PG&E, Nathan Lee, reviewed our trench from the San Jose Water Company meter to our house.  He approved the location as the trench did not interfer with the PG&E natural gas or electric lines.

Our project coordinator from PG&E, Nathan Lee, reviewed our trench from the San Jose Water Company meter to our house. He approved the location as the trench did not interfere with the PG&E natural gas or electric lines.

Wes Wenger (left) and Greg (G-Man) review the plumbing plans while establishing the locations for the plumbing vents in the SIP roof and the coring through the concrete floor (drains, hot and cold water supply, and vents from the lower level).

Wes Wenger (left) and Greg ('G-Man') review the plumbing plans while establishing the locations for the plumbing vents in the SIP roof and the coring through the concrete floor (drains, hot and cold water supply, and vents from the lower level).

The completed insulated curb, which will have a sloped cover and support the Velux skylight.

The completed insulated curb, which will have a sloped cover and support the Velux skylight.

The backfilled and compacted trench in front of our garage.  Finally done!

The backfilled and compacted trench in front of our garage. Finally done!

Our table is ready to host the Friday Night Flamingo on Vista Avenue.  Note (right to left), Kate, Sierra and Carli are working on the decorations.

Our table is ready to host the Friday Night Flamingo on Vista Avenue. Note (right to left), Kate, Sierra and Carli are working on the decorations.

Jo-Anne found some excellent Flamingo lights several weeks ago, so Wendy and Jo-Anne strung the lights up for the event.

Jo-Anne found some excellent Flamingo lights several weeks ago, so Wendy and Jo-Anne strung the lights up for the event.

Working on the Roof

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

We’re now focusing on completing the roof. 

Several items need to be constructed so we can put the membrane on the roof, including the perimeter fascia, the skylight curbs, and the infrastructure to support our photovoltaic solar panel installation (mounts and conduit).  After these items are completed, we can put down the tapered insulation, put in the remaining roof penetrations (plumbing and dryer vents), and then put down the white roof membrane.

Building the Skylight Curbs

The skylights need to be raised off the roof deck and be mounted on curbs.  The curbs need to be above the roof deck by the amount of the tapered insulation and an additional six to eight inches.  Also, to reduce the solar gain and to allow water to drain, we are sloping the skylights to the East.  This slope will provide some solar gain when we need it in the morning, and reduce the solar gain in the afternoon.

Importantly, the curbs need to be insulated.  We have an R-47 SIP roof so installing uninsulated curbs would allow energy to move into and out of our house.  Thus, we are putting two layers of rigid foam around each of the skylight curbs (R-20 with no thermal bridging).

Solar Panel Mounting Infrastructure

Since we have SIPs and there are very few flush beams inside the flat SIP roof, we had custom mounting infrastructure manufactured for our photovoltaic solar panels.  We wanted to limit the number of penetrations of the roof inside the thermal envelope while, at the same time, providing a rock-solid mounting system that could withstand high wind loads.

Accordingly, we had Larson Steel manufacture our solar panel mounts for the SIP roof.  Akeena Solar would then have their racks attached to these mounts.  Pete Larson dropped off the mounting brackets last night. 

Akeena Solar is now on the critical path for our roof membrane installation.

Trenching for San Jose Water Company

Our water meter is in the public right of way in front of our house.  We are responsible for the trenching from the water meter to our house.  With PG&E’s restrictions on keeping at least three (3) feet of separation from water pipes, we need to have a new trench dug from the water meter to the house.  

Ugh …

Opening for skylight increased to 2 ft by 3 ft.  The larger skylights will provide additional daylight inside the bathrooms, which will reduce the amount of electricity required for lighting.

Opening for skylight increased to 2 ft by 3 ft. The larger skylights will provide additional daylight inside the bathrooms, which will reduce the amount of electricity required for lighting.

This is the first part of the skylight curb.  Note the Simpson brackets to fasten the curbs to the SIPs.

This is the first part of the skylight curb. Note the Simpson brackets to fasten the curbs to the SIPs.

The curb construction in progress.

The curb construction in progress.

Completed skylight curb in background; uninsulated skylight curb in foreground.

Completed skylight curb in background; uninsulated skylight curb in foreground.

Custom mounting bracket for solar photovoltaic panel array frames.  These mounting brackets will be used for both the flat and gable SIP roofs.

Custom mounting bracket for solar photovoltaic panel array frames. These mounting brackets will be used for both the flat and gable SIP roofs.

Original underground utilities coming from the street.  Note the water, natural gas, electric (three direct burial cables) and telephone were all in a single common trench.

Original underground utilities coming from the street. Note the water, natural gas, electric (three direct burial cables) and telephone were all in a single common trench.

We need to trench from the water meter to our house.  This trench must be at least three (3) feet from the natural gas and electrical conduit.

We need to trench from the water meter to our house. This trench must be at least three (3) feet from the natural gas and electrical conduit.

Working with Kate (and Driving Around the South Bay)

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Since her brother, Nik, worked with Bryan last Saturday, it was Kate’s turn to spend a day with Bryan.

Getting 1/2 Yard of 3/4-Inch Crushed Rock

Kate and Bryan started their chores by going to U-Save Nursery in San Jose to pick up a 1/2 cubic yard of 3/4-inch crushed rock.  West Valley Sanitation specifies that the connection to the sanitary sewer have six (6) inches of 3/4-inch crushed rock above and below the connection.

Reviewing the Redwood Slab at Artisan Burlwood in Berkeley

After changing vehicles, Kate and Bryan went north up 101 and crossed over the Bay Bridge into Berkeley.  They were going to Artisan Burlwood to review the work that was being done on the Redwood slab for our dining room table.  Bryan had selected a particular slab, which is narrow at one end (34 inches) and gets wider at the other end (43 inches).

Our plan is to have a two-piece 13 foot long table in our Dining Room.  The slab would be cut at approximately 9 feet, with the other piece (4 feet) being the 43-inch wide section.  This piece would extend into the living room.  Bryan plans on working with Scott Andersen and Darren Johnson to design a stainless steel base for the table.  More on this to follow …

Upon inspection, the Redwood slab needed a bit more work, so Bryan will send Jim Parodi an e-mail.

Having completed the chores, Kate thoroughly enjoyed her long-awaited ice cream treat at Baskin Robbins back in Los Gatos.

1/2 cubic yard of 3/4-inch crushed rock.

1/2 cubic yard of 3/4-inch crushed rock.

About to dump the crushed rock into our pickup.

About to dump the crushed rock into our pickup.

13 ft Redwood slab at Artisan Burlwood in Berkeley, California.

13 ft Redwood slab at Artisan Burlwood in Berkeley, California.

Kate likes the Redwood slab!

Kate likes the Redwood slab!

Removing the Hollywood Juniper

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Yesterday, Bryan received permission from the City of Monte Sereno to remove the Hollywood Juniper from the back of the house.  Essentially, a Hollywood Juniper is a bush, or shrub, and is not covered by the Significant Tree ordinance.

We like to be squeaky-clean when it comes to following the ordinances in the City of Monte Sereno.

10.15.030 Significant trees; definition.

Trees deemed significant for the purpose of this Chapter are those whose visual importance to the neighborhood is sufficient to justify special efforts to protect and preserve them and whose loss would be of irremediable adverse impact on the environment. Factors to be considered in determining the significance of trees are age, size, rarity and appearance. Notwithstanding the preceding, each of the following is declared to be a significant tree or trees:

A. Oaks or redwood trees having a circumference greater than twenty (20) inches measured at a height of four (4) feet above ground level.

B. Any tree having a circumference greater than twenty-five (25) inches measured at a height of four (4) feet above ground level.

C. Any three (3) or more trees proposed to be removed from any parcel of property within a twelve (12) month period

Nik and Bryan worked on removing the Hollywood Juniper and then they made three trips to Guadalupe Land Fill with the debris.  Importantly, Guadalupe recycles and reuses garden waste so there was no land fill issues associated with the removal of the Hollywood Juniper.

Kate and Jo-Anne documented the event.  Kate will have an opportunity to help Bryan next Saturday …

Bryan starting to cut the Hollywood Juniper.

Bryan starting to cut the Hollywood Juniper.

Under Niks directions, Bryan continues cutting the Hollywood Juniper.

Under Nik's directions, Bryan continues cutting the Hollywood Juniper.

Kate and Bryan resting after cutting down (most of) the Hollywood Juniper.

Kate and Bryan resting after cutting down (most of) the Hollywood Juniper.

 

Nik cooling off in the trench and enjoying some cold water.

Nik cooling off in the trench and enjoying some cold water.

The Hollywood Juniper at Guadalupe Land Fill, ready for recycling.

The Hollywood Juniper at Guadalupe Land Fill, ready for recycling.

The job site is relatively clean at the front of the property.  This space will be needed to pur the dirt from our upcoming trenching activities.

The job site is relatively clean at the front of the property. This space will be needed to pur the dirt from our upcoming trenching activities.

The stump from the Canary Island Pine remains at the job site.  We had planned to use the rented chain saw to cut the stump into pieces.  It is too large so we will engage someone with a stump grinder to address this issue so we can start trenching at the front of the property.

The stump from the Canary Island Pine remains at the job site. We had planned to use the rented chain saw to cut the stump into pieces. It is too large so we will engage someone with a stump grinder to address this issue so we can start trenching at the front of the property.

Documenting Our Construction Progress

Monday, July 5th, 2010

We took a few minutes to walk around the project site (interior and roof), taking pictures that document our progress to date. 

Having these photos available will help us to focus our efforts on continuing to refine our comprehensive PERT chart.

View of Foyer, from front door, going across the bridge to the Living Room and swimming pool

View of Foyer, from front door, going across the bridge to the Living Room and swimming pool.

View of Foyer and front door opening, from bridge.  Note Master Study on the right.

View of Foyer and front door opening, from bridge. Note Master Study on the right.

View of Master Suite from gable roof.

View of Master Suite from gable roof.

View of Master Bedroom with emergency egress window on right.  Note the existing 2x4 West wall was increased to a 2x6 wall.

View of Master Bedroom with emergency egress window on right. Note the existing 2x4 West wall was increased to a 2x6 wall.

View of Master Closet (right) and Master Vanity (left).

View of Master Closet (right) and Master Vanity (left). The door height will be framed to 86 inches from finished floor (equal to the bottom of the beams).

View of Master Bath.  Skylights will be larger to allow more light into the bathrooms.  Pony wall by Shower will be reduced in size and replaced with glass wall.  Freestanding soaking tub to go under window at left.

View of Master Bath. Skylights will be larger to allow more light into the bathrooms. Pony wall by Shower will be reduced in size and replaced with glass wall. Freestanding soaking tub to go under window at left.

 

West side of lower flat roof.  Skylights will be larger and require insulated curbs.

West side of lower flat roof. Skylights will be larger and require insulated curbs.

West end of North Gable roof.  Fascia needs to be constructed over the end of the SIP roof.

West end of North Gable roof. Fascia needs to be constructed over the end of the SIP roof.

Mid-level flat roof over Living Room at North side of house.

Mid-level flat roof over Living Room at North side of house.

View into Dining Room and Kitchen from North side of East Gable.

View into Dining Room and Kitchen from North side of East Gable.

East side of East Gable.  The gable roof must be extended to the Lower Roof deck and fireblocked every 10 feet.

East side of East Gable. The gable roof must be extended to the Lower Roof deck and fireblocked every 10 feet.

East Gable, from South East corner of Lower Flat roof over Garage.

East Gable, from South East corner of Lower Flat roof over Garage.

West side of East Gable, looking North.

West side of East Gable, looking North.

North side of South Gable, looking West.

North side of South Gable, looking West.

South Gable, looking East.  Note the bottom of the SIP roof must be extended to the Lower Flat Roof deck and fireblocked every 10 feet.

South Gable, looking East. Note the bottom of the SIP roof must be extended to the Lower Flat Roof deck and fireblocked every 10 feet.

Upper Flat Roof, looking North from South West corner.

Upper Flat Roof, looking North from South West corner.

Upper Flat Roof, looking North East from South West corner.

Upper Flat Roof, looking North East from South West corner.

Upper Flat Roof, looking East from South West corner.

Upper Flat Roof, looking East from South West corner.