Archive for the ‘Electrical’ Category

Lighting Up the East Mechanical Room

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

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.

 

 

Starting Our Lighting Control System

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The lighting control system is a critical component in reducing our energy needs.  We’re installing Schneider Electric’s Clipsal C-Bus system, which is the most advanced and robust lighting control system that we could find.

Although the basic infrastructure has been in place for some time, Bryan started assembling the components and connecting the data network.  Oh, we’re also building a small data center …

East Mechanical Room

The East Mechanical room houses the electrical distribution panels for the East side of the house as well as the Network Gateway East, which is a 12U network rack and is on the backbone to the Network Gateway West.  The electricity generated from half of our photovoltaic system enter the 200 amp panel in the East Mechanical room, which is ‘live’ today.

East Storage Room

Three of the six lighting control panels are located in the East Storage room.  Bryan installed the network connection from the Ethernet to the C-Bus network in one of the three lighting control panels.

Each room that houses lighting control panels also includes a junction box for the C-Bus network.  These junction boxes allow multiple C-Bus connectors to be joined such that only one C-Bus network cable goes into each lighting control panel.

West Mechanical Room

The West Mechanical room houses the two electrical distribution panels on the West side of the house.  As well, all the geothermal and hydronic heating/cooling equipment will be located in the West Mechanical room.

Air Handler Room

The Air Handler Room, which is on the West side of the building, houses two more lighting control panels.  As well, it has a junction box for the C-Bus network backbone, which is connected to the C-Bus network junction boxes in the East Storage room and the Upper Laundry room.

Network Gateway West

We have two network gateways, which are connected on a high-speed backbone.  We installed a temporary 12U rack for the equipment that will, ultimately, comprise the Network Gateway West.

The temporary rack has a Motorola cable modem (for Comcast), a Luxul 2300 HBR router and a gigabit switch.  Bryan bought an APC PDU, which will become our permanent source of power from the 100 amp panel located in the West Mechanical room.

 

Three lighting control panels in the East Storage room. The initial panel is on the right, and has the network interface (Ethernet and C-Bus) and a 12-channel relay.

 

Close up of the initial lighting control panel. The Ethernet and C-Bus network cables are coming through the bottom of the panel.

 

We put the C-Bus network junction up high as it will only need to be accessible if there is a physical network failure. You can see that we are using pink CAT5e cable for the C-Bus network and yellow CAT5e as redundant cabling.

  

Most of our network cabling is run through flexible orange 'smurf' conduit although some of the cabling runs free outside the conduit.

 

The East Mechanical room is cleaned up and all the electric distribution panels are covered and secured. The 200 amp panel on the left is 'live' as half of our photovoltaic system is connected in this panel.

 

Update on Our Lighting

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Today, we addressed the collars on the Lucifer lights around the exterior of the house.  Also, Bryan saw some interesting electric car charging stations over at the Netflix buildings on Winchester Boulevard.

Lucifer Lights

We’re putting in Lucifer lights in the roof overhangs around the perimeter of the house.  These lights are part of our comprehensive lighting plan, which Randall Whitehead designed for us.  We love the flush mount of Lucifer and the clean, minimalist look.

Each of the lights are in IC-rated housings.  The IC rating means that the housings can be in contact with the insulation.  Since the overhangs are outside our thermal envelope, we can recess the lights into the SIP roof.

We ordered the housings with 1-1/2 inch collars on the housings and it looks like these collars are too long.  Bill Anderson is our contact person at Lighting Advantage Lighting Technologies and he will ensure that we have the correct collars for our lights.  Since there are 29 recessed lights around the exterior that we have received and 34 recessed lights inside the house still to order, we can get the correct collars.

 

The Lucifer Lighting housing in the SIP. Note how the collar may be too long when the OSB replaced and the 5/8-inch reclaimed Redwood is in place.

 

Housing with the collar on ...

 

And, without the collar. We can get the correct size collars and simply replace the existing collars that are too long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing to Work with PG&E

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Nothing is easy.  We thought we were there with PG&E and, surprise, we’re not there yet.

We did start to move the control system for our sliding glass doors at the back of the house into the permanent location in the East Storage room.

Yes, it poured rain, starting at ~3:00 am for a couple hours.  Our site handled the rain just fine.

Moving the Door Control System into East Storage Room

When the control system for the three sliding glass doors at the back of the house was set up, we were not ready to mount the control system in its permanent location, which is in the East Storage room.  Now, it is time to do so.

The control system, made by Doors in Motion, requires a dedicated 15 amp circuit and has four wires going from the DC electric motor to the control system, including the switch.  The four wires, which have multiple conductors, are for the power (the transformer to DC and backup battery are housed in the control system), the door switch (open, close, stop, lock, reset), the motion detector, and the encoder unit itself.

We decided to run the wires in a dedicated conduit containing only low-voltage wires.  The conduit is the flexible, orange corregated one-inch conduit by Carlon.  We’ve been obtaining our low voltage products from ADI in Santa Clara.  Hank Malloy and Jordan have been extremely helpful in sourcing the correct products for us.

The conduit included the four wires for the door and the CAT5e wires for the lighting control system (C-bus).  The lighting control system includes a pink CAT5e and a yellow CAT5e.  The pink wire is for the main system and the yellow wire is for a backup (redundant).  All other data CAT6, with a spline, will be blue.

When connecting the wires to the door control system, we found a problem.  Jason Cruz, who installed the door control system, helped Bryan to isolate the problem.  They didn’t solve the problem yet and should complete it tomorrow.

Installing Our Permanent Electric Meter

Although the two-person crew from PG&E installed our permanent electric meter on Monday, October 3, they didn’t have the correct meter for a 400 amp service.  Knowing that the meter would be changed again to a bi-directional meter for our solar photovoltaic generation system, they put in a 200 amp meter.  However, PG&E’s process and internal systems still show our temporary service in place as the correct meter had not been installed.

Thus, PG&E dispatched a meter technician to our job site to install the permanent meter for our 400 amp service.  The meter technician, AJ, smiled as he installed the correct meter saying, ‘I’ll be back in a couple days to install the bi-directional meter that will measure your generation and your electric vehicle consumption.’

We’re just following the process …

Motor for our sliding glass pocket doors at the back of the house. We need to have the wires to connect the control system to the motor in a dedicated conduit.

 

The path for the flexible conduit will go through the Dining Room, into the soffit and through to the East Storage room.

 

The one-inch orange conduit will join the two-inch 'smurf' tubes in the soffit going to the East Mechanical room.

 

 

The door control system will be located permanently in the wall to the left of the three lighting control system panels.

 

We're taking the opportunity to install the 1-1/2 inch polyisocyanate insulation against the concrete throughout the lower level (basement). We removed this insulation from the roof and stored it so we could use it again. This insulation will be covered with spray foam, encapsulating it. Note there is two inches of rigid foam insulation outside the concrete wall.

 

The meter technician from PG&E, AJ, installs the correct Smart Meter for our 400 amp service. This meter replaced the 200 amp meter that was installed on Monday. The next meter that will be installed is the bi-directional smart meter for our solar photovoltaic generation and time-of-use electric vehicle (E-9) rate service.

 

 

Installing Our Permanent Electric Meter

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

With our permanent meter in place, we’re a step closer to our rebate.  Every day we seem to get closer …

It rained today and is forecasted to rain through Wednesday.  We are prioritizing our activities to keep our materials dry … bone dry.

Installing Our Permanent Electric Meter

Before we can have an electric meter for our solar generation, we need to have a permanent electric meter in place.  To have a permanent electric meter, we required a ‘meter release’ from the City of Monte Sereno.  The meter release was issued by the City of Monte Sereno on September 29, which was our rebate filing deadline.

Bryan called PG&E several times this morning and learned that our permanent meter was scheduled to be installed on Wednesday, October 5.  Knowing this was delay, Bryan started to call our various contacts at PG&E.  When speaking with the scheduler, Barbara Aker, Bryan explained that if a crew was available at the last minute then we would be ready to have our meter installed.

To our delight, Barbara called and said that a crew came available and they could install our permanent meter today.

Way cool!

Portable Charger for a Nissan LEAF

While getting some parts for Al at Electrical Distributors in San Jose, Bryan noticed a Nissan LEAF in the parking lot.  Bryan spoke with the owner of the LEAF, who explained that he was assembling a portable charging station that could plug into various types of 240 volt circuits.  Further, he explained, the benefit would be to use 240 volt circuits that are available in RV/trailer parks.

For people who buy the LEAF from Arizona used Nissan Dealers, or anywhere else in the country, it can be frustrating not having many charging stations easily available when driving. The portable charging station can fix all of that.

Installing charging stations in RV/trailer parks could be done quickly and easily, which would help deploy the infrastructure for electric vehicles across the U.S.

An interesting idea …

The two-person truck arrived at our job site at ~ 11:30 am this morning.

 

The service entrance panel had to be secured and then sealed before the meter could go in.

 

Our permanent meter is in! This meter will be replaced with a 'net meter' that will measure the electricity that we generate and send into the grid.

 

Charging station that can be used in RV/trailer parks for charging a Nissan LEAF.

 

Hosting Scott and Sue’s Visit to California

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Scott Andersen and Susannah Therrien flew into San Francisco yesterday and will return to Toronto on Sunday.  Scott, from Toronto, has been involved in the design of our remodel and construction since inception.

Al, Dan and Nep continued on the rainscreen while Bryan ensured we met the remaining obligations under our indemnification agreement with the City of Monte Sereno.

Finishing the Week

Bryan had made arrangements to have yellow and black warning signs made for the two live electric panels.  This morning, he picked up those signs and put one on the service entrance panel outside the house.  The other sign was for the 200 amp electric panel in the East Mechanical room.

We completed insulating the ceiling in the Wine Cellar and Wine Dining today.  The soffit needs to be insulated and that will be completed on Monday.  Next steps with the Wine Cellar will be to use closed cell spray foam and fill the cavity and create a moisture barrier.  The Wine Cellar will be at a much higher humidity than the house and exterior, so we need to ensure that moisture remains in the Wine Cellar.  After with moisture barrier is in place, we will be able to install the radiant cooling panels in the ceiling.

Al, Dan and Nep completed the siding on the East side of the house and started on the rainscreen on the South side of the house.  They will complete the rainscreen on Monday, before the first real rains of the season are forecasted to start on Wednesday.

Spending the Afternoon and Evening with Scott and Sue

Scott and Sue arrived at the job site just after 12:00 noon today.  Bryan took them on a quick tour, during which Scott opened the sliding glass door at the back of the house.  Both Scott and Sue were impressed, with Sue noting that their sliding glass door in Panama could be improved with the controls that we are using in California.

As a visitor, Scott had to go for a test drive in a Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport, the high performance electric sports car developed by Elon Musk, which Bryan enjoyed too.  Yes, Scott had the ‘Tesla smile’ after his test drive.

Since Jo-Anne was finishing the quarter in Boston and returning to California tomorrow morning, Scott, Sue and Bryan went to Enoteca La Storia.  Bryan showed them the empty bottle of 1961 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, which we opened at the 50/50 party on April 16, 2011 at Enoteca La Storia. 

After Enoteca, Scott took Sue and Bryan to Steamer’s Grillhouse in Los Gatos, where Scott arranged for a table instantly.  It was a excellent ending to a great day.

Tomorrow, after a lighting design session on the job site, we’re hosting Scott’s 51st birthday dinner at Nick’s on Main

Scott, after pushing the button, watches as our three-panel 24 ft sliding glass door opens.New yellow and black warning sign on the service entry electric panel on the East side of the house.

 

New yellow and black warning sign on the service entry electric panel on the East side of the house.

Warning sign, in English and Spanish (thank you for the translation Darryl!).New yellow and black warning sign on 200 amp panel door in East Mechanical room.

 

 

Completed insulation in the ceiling of the Wine Cellar.

 

Completed insulation in the ceiling of the Wine Dining. Note the wine racks in the background.

 

Rainscreen assembly and radiant barrier on the South wall of the house.

 

Primed furring strips over the radiant barrier create a 3/4-inch air gap for air to flow and to allow the radiant barrier to reflect heat.

 

Scott, with the 'Tesla smile', after returning the Roadster 2.5 Sport to the dealership on Santa Row.

 

Scott enjoyed the Roadster!

 

Sue, Bryan and Scott in Enoteca La Storia, with the empty bottle of 1961 Cabernet from the 50/50 party held there on April 16, 2011.

 

Bryan explained to Scott and Sue, 'It was a great bottle of wine but ... it was a bit young.'

 

Everyone enjoyed dinner at Steamer's Grillhouse.

 

We enjoyed a great bottle of 2005 Altagracia.