Archive for the ‘HVAC’ Category

Picking Up Our Pink CAT5 and Priming the FSC Siding

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

We moved forward on several fronts today … nothing completed but solid progress.

Submitting a Draft Document to the City of Monte Sereno

The first task of the day was to drop off our documentation to the City of Monte Sereno.  Bryan handed two copies to Howard Bell, the Building Official, who stamped them as ‘Received’ and said he would review the documnet.  Howard will be in a class all day tomorrow so Bryan will follow up directly with Brian Loventhal (as one copy was for Brian).

The deadline of September 29 is looming …

Picking Up Our Pink CAT5

While we don’t need to use pink CAT5 for our C-Bus network, we thought it would be a nice touch to follow the Australian code for lighting controls.  In Australia, pink CAT5 is mandated by the building code.

Bryan picked up 2,000 feet of pink CAT5, which had been ordered through ADI in Santa Clara.  Armed with the pink CAT5 and the ferrules that arrived on September 23, we have all the materials to rough in the lighting control system.  OK, we still need the final lighting design …

Working on the Lighting Design

Bryan is still working on the documentation of the lights in the house.  After the design session with Randall Whitehead last week in San Francisco, Bryan documented most of the decisions.  He needs to finish it off and get the list of lights out to the suppliers.

When going through the Artemide showroom on August 30, 2011, we discovered the Artemide’s Mouette lights, which look like airplane wings or birds in flight.  We couldn’t think where they could ‘fit’ in our home.  On the weekend, when going to the Artemide catalog again, we started to visualize how there could be a series of three individual lights that would like like they were emerging from the lower level (basement) and exiting through the clerestory windows in the atrium.

Bryan gave Scott Andersen and Sue Therrien, who are visiting us on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the address of the Artemide showroom in San Francisco so they can see the lights and then help with the design.

Time to focus on this one …

Priming the FSC Siding

Al started priming the FSC siding yesterday and then Al, Dan and Nep were cutting and installing it.  Al decided it would be more efficient if he and Nep primed all of the siding.  Then, they ccould all work together on getting the siding installed.  Especially since another box of Cor-A-Vent should be delivered tomorrow.

Dan got another couple sheets of siding up today.  These were some of the most difficult sheets of siding as they require holes for the electric receptacles and the air vents.

Lots to do tomorrow.

Especially since Scott and Sue arrive on Friday!

Photo from the Artemide catalog showing the Mouette lights in the San Francisco Airport (SFO). These lamps are very cool ...

Another photo from the Artemide catague showing the asymetric Mouette lamps. Note the glass bridge in this photo.

Our pink CAT% matches the smaller loop of pink CAT5, which was included in our light switches. We can now start wiring the switches together.

Bryan picked up another 5 gallon pail of tinted primer as the FSC siding is soaking up the primer!

Al primes another sheet of FSC siding ...


We're using all stainless steel nails on the exterior so we don't run the risk of seeing nay corrosion caused by nails.


The primed, back and front, FSC siding installed on the West side of the house.

The West wall is looking great after the inital pieces of siding have been installed.


Working on our Central Vacuum and BBQ Concrete Pad

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

We’re working on getting the central vacuum in place and completing our exterior infrastructure.  

Based on advice from Dan Singleton, we are using Sequoia Central Vacuum Systems of Menlo Park.  Michael White, owner of Sequoia Central Vacuum Systems, has unparalleled expertise with central vacuums.

Since the HVAC and plumbing is in place, the central vacuum is being installed so the electrical and low-voltage will be next (after the radiant supply-return where applicable).

At the same time, we are getting our exterior BBQ and other infrastructure in place, before we get the siding ready to be installed.  We met with representatives of Danver Stainless Steel Cabinetry at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco.  They have excellent cabinets that we are looking at specifying for our outdoor grill.

With the forms in place, we plan to pour 1/2 yard of concrete tomorrow morning.

Vacuum in wall. We will probably have three outlets off this 2-inch line.

The air ventilation is in the steel beam and the central vacuum is in the wall.

Both the supply air ventilation and central vacuum are shown in this photo' Note how the air ventilation wil be hidden once the wall is furred out from the steel beam.


The central vacuum manifold is in the soffit and then goes over the dropped ceiling in the Guest Bathroom.


The vacuum enters some congested space on the North side of the East wall in the lower level ...


Al and Nep set the forms for a concrete pad for our outdoor grill (BBQ). We will pour the pad that will be under the enclosed grill structure so this concrete will not be seen as it will be hidden by the kick. The remaining concrete, which will be visible, will be poured with the pool deck and other hardscape around the house.


After much consideration, we decided to extend the non-structural wall for the sliding glass pocket by 14 inches and enclose a drain from the roof. The drain will, however, be outside our thermal envelope. This will make a cleaner exterior and eliminate a zinc downspout.



Pouring Our Concrete Generator Pad

Friday, August 5th, 2011

We poured concrete today and it looks great.

And the HRV is now mounted and in place, connected to the exterior supply/exhaust plenum.  The seismic cross-bracing needs to be added and then the interior supply/exhaust can be connected.

We’re getting there …

Al and Nep are finishing the concrete they just poured for the generator pad.


The HRV is mounted to the ceiling and connected to the exterior plenum.


We used unistrut framing to connect the HRV to the ceiling. This needs to have a cross-brace each way for additional rigidity (seismic).


The forms were stripped at the end of the day ... it looks great!

Installing Our Displacement Air Ventilation System

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

We engaged Silicon Valley Mechanical to install our displacement air ventilation and hydronic heating and cooling systems.  Ken Martin took the original design and has improved on it immensely.

Before we can cover any of the walls, we need to have the rough plumbing, rough electrical, rough HVAC and rough hydronic systems in place.  In addition, we need to have all of the low voltage wiring (e.g., security, network, vacuum, generator and pool controls, etc.) in place.  And then inspected by the City of Monte Sereno.

Silicon Valley Mechanical has been working on the ducting for our displacement air ventilation for over a week.  Yesterday, Bryan picked up the heat recovery ventilator (we missed the delivery a on Friday) and took the unit to the job site.

The heat recovery ventilator is from Lifebreath Systems Inc., headquartered in London, Ontario, Canada (where Bryan completed his MBA at the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in 1991).

Ken was on site to ensure the HRV was installed as he had designed.  With such new equipment, it is key to get the unit oriented in the optimal position so it is easy to maintain and operates in the most efficient manner.

Examining the Lifebreath HRV, so we can orient and install it in the most appropriate manner.


The inside of the Lifebreath HRV. The unit takes the incoming fresh air and transfers the temperature of the outgoing exhaust air to it.


Ken Martin works the the Lifebreath heat recovery ventilator so it is positioned in the optimal orientation for operation and maintenance.


Emmanuel Zendejas positions the HRV in the West Air Handler room. Note the nifty platform Silicon Valley Mechanical uses to raise/lower/swivel bulky and heavy mechanical components at a job site.


Silicon Valley Mechanical uses low-VOC duct sealants, such as the product in this photo. Design Polymerics' 1010 Duct Sealant has less than 7 grams of VOCs per liter. This amount of VOCs is far lower than the 200 grams per liter required by MR 2.2.


In order to improve the efficiency of the clothes dryers, we used the Dryer-Ell, which is a large radius dryer exhaust elbow. This photo shows where the dryer exhaust comes down from the Upper Laundry room.


There is another Dryerbox Ell where the exhaust comes up from the Lower Laundry room. Also, the ducting for the displacement air ventilation is above the dryer exhaust.


This is the fresh air duct going to Kate's bedroom. Note the low VOC mastic over all the joints.


Two exhausts, one for each of the Lower Laundry and the Upper Laundry, going up, then through the concrete under Kates vanity before exiting the house on the West wall.


Before going through the steel beam, the duct splits and goes up to provide fresh air for the Living Room. We are, finally, using one of the holes that were cut through the steel beam.


Al and Nep have prepared the location behind the swimming pool and statue where the generator will be anchored. There will be a concrete pad in place here for the 100 amp generator.