Archive for April, 2011

Receiving Coverage in Green Architecture and Building Report

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

We received some excellent coverage today by Mignon O’Young in her blog, Green Architecture and Building Report.

Mignon is a licensed architect in the State of California and she currently lives in Switzerland.  Mignon has a blog that covers sustainable design.  During a visit to California on December 20, 2010, she met with Bryan at the job site and he gave her a full tour.  A very full tour.

She covered our project in her blog entry, A Green Transformation of Eichler House Model MS-134.  Mignon has phenomenal ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos posted of our yellow cedar shakes.

We will be inviting Mignon back to see the house when it is completed.

Bryan standing on the lower flat roof on a cold December 20, 2010 (photo credit Mignon OYoung).

Bryan standing on the lower flat roof on a cold December 20, 2010 (photo credit Mignon O'Young).

Finding a Leak

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

We’ve almost completed the shakes on the roof and it rained yesterday.  It rained hard.  And, the roof leaked.

Al investigated the leak and then we used a hose to confirm his hypothesis – the manufactured cover for the vent for the cooktop hood leaked.  Bryan was skeptical and, yes, Al was correct.  The weld was not robust and it was leaking.

Al and his team removed the shakes, numbering them in advance, and then removed the offending vent.  Bryan took the vent to Nathan Merrill who welded it securely in minutes.

Notwithstanding the problem win the East side of the East gable, our yellow cedar shake roof is looking fabulous!

Looking West, showing the South side of the South gable.

Looking West, showing the South side of the South gable.

Looking East, showing the North side of the North gable.  You can see the mounts for the solar photovoltaic panels.

Looking East, showing the North side of the North gable. You can see the mounts for the solar photovoltaic panels.

Looking East, on the South side of the North gable.

Looking East, on the South side of the North gable.

South valley.  Note how the ridge is completed and the valley shakes are cut evenly.

South valley. Note how the ridge is completed and the valley shakes are cut evenly.

Looking North, on the West side of the East gable.

Looking North, on the West side of the East gable.

We isolated the leak to the roof vent for the cooktop hood.  After numbering each of the shakes, Al had his team remove them shakes so we could get the vent repaired.

We isolated the leak to the roof vent for the cooktop hood. After numbering each of the shakes, Al had his team remove them shakes so we could get the vent repaired.

Nathan Merrill, from American Ornamental Ironworks, welded the vent.  Subsequently, it was sealed with mastic too.

Nathan Merrill, from American Ornamental Iron, welded the vent. Subsequently, it was sealed with mastic too.

Reviewing a Tesla Charging System

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Our good friend, Paul Fulton, who lives only a few blocks away in Los Gatos, bought a Tesla Roadster 2.5 and loves it! 

Paul took Bryan for a quick drive (literally!) a few weeks ago and Bryan was enamored with the acceleration.  The acceleration, 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, is similar to the acceleration on California Screamin’ , one of the most exciting roller coasters in the world (and is located in Disneyland, California).  California Screamin’ uses linear induction motors to allow the roller coaster to accelerate from 0 to 57 mph in 4 seconds.

Although we have a deposit on a Nissan LEAF, we can have some fun and dream (fantasize?) about a Tesla.  From an infrastructure perspective, we’d like to have two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in our garage.  One for the LEAF, and one for a Tesla.  Dream on …

The LEAF charger draws 30 amps and must be on a 40 amp circuit.  The Tesla charger draws 70 amps and must be on an 80 amp circuit.  Since we’re finalizing our electric plans, we need to design the system so we can put in both EV charging stations.

Installing a 70 Amp Charging System

Paul put in a second electric service with a separate meter.  The second service only has the charger for Paul’s Tesla Roadster 2.5.  Paul could put another EV charger on this service at some point.  Having the separate service allows Paul to continue with his home service at the historic rate and, at the same time, have a lower rate to charge his EV.

The separate service with only an EV charging station load qualifies Paul for the E-9B rate, which is 5.6¢/kWh off peak.  Paul will charge his Tesla from midnight to 7:00 am to enjoy this low rate. 

Since Paul just completed installing his charger, Bryan took the opportunity to review it.

There were two significant learnings from Bryan’s visit today:

  1. The Tesla charging station can have a 90 amp breaker (not an 80 amp breaker); and,
  2. Paul recommended that we put in some 110 V receptacles that also have USB charging ports.  These are way cool!  And, yes, our electrical plans just got updated to have the USB charging ports!

Paul had some other ideas but we only had a few minutes.  Oh, a quick search and we found a web site for the receptacles with USB charging ports

Pacific Gas & Electric's E9A and E9B rate structure.

Pacific Gas & Electric's E9A and E9B rate structure.

Two meters for the same house.  The original meter on the left remains on the regular rate while the meter on the right is only for EVs.  It has a maximum rate of $0.056 per kWh.

Two meters for the same house. The original meter on the left remains on the regular rate while the meter on the right is only for EVs. It has a maximum rate of $0.056 per kWh.

The second service is 200 amps, with a single 90 amp breaker that only has the Tesla charging station on it.

The second service is 200 amps, with a single 90 amp breaker that only has the Tesla charging station on it.

The Tesla charging station is surface mounted on the wall of the garage, right by the garage door.  Paul explained that plugging in his Tesla each day was easy and not a chore.  He loves never having to go to a gas station!

The Tesla charging station is surface mounted on the wall of the garage, right by the garage door. Paul explained that plugging in his Tesla each day was easy and not a chore.

Close up of the charging station itself ...

Close up of the charging station itself ...

110 V receptacle with two USB charging ports.

110 V receptacle with two USB charging ports.