Archive for the ‘Roof’ Category

Focusing on Completing Our Solar Photovoltaic Panel Installation

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

There are multiple components to our renovation/new construction project, all of which are tightly integrated in the overall program and design, and all of which are moving forward in parallel.

One of the components is the installation of our solar photovoltaic panels.  Our original plan, which we noted in our posting on September 19, 2009 (Why Are We Installing Solar Photovoltaic Panels?), was to have 32-175 watt photovoltaic panels in Phase 1.  After the change of law announced on October 13, 2009, we changed our strategy (see Pouring Rain and New Solar Generation Laws in California) so we could take advantage of the ability to generate more electricity that we could use.

We registered under the NSHP rebate program, and have a reservation for a 5.04 kW system.  When Bryan was driving to Merced on Tuesday, August 30, (see Picking Up Our Ladder and Looking at Artemide Lights) he learned that our reservation could be increased to 7.5 kW but the change had to be completed, and submitted, by Monday, September 12, 2012.  This deadline, which is now looming, has created a laser focus on completing the installation of our photovoltaic system, which will include 48-215 watt solar panels, set out in six individual arrays.

The expanded system will have a ‘nameplate’ rating of 10.32 kW (48 x 215 watts) and will generate approximately 90% of that (9.29 kW).  However, the limit under the NSHP is 7.5 kW.

Bryan put together a list of the key tasks that must be completed in order to complete the installation, have it inspected by the City of Monte Sereno, and have it verified by an independant HERS Rater.  He reviewed the list with Bryan McFarland of Reals Goods Solar, who is managing the installation of our solar photovoltaic system, and also discussed the procedures with both Dana Farquhar of Real Goods Solar and our HERS Rater, Darrel Kelly of Builders Energy Services, Inc.

The list is as follows:

  • Complete unistrut frames on:
    North gable
    Upper Flat roof
  • Install Enphase inverters on:
    North gable – 8 inverters
    Upper Flat roof – 32 inverters
  • Mount load centers:
    Under North gable
    On Upper Flat roof unistrut frame (2 load centers)
  • Pull conductors from:
    East gable to load center under North gable
    Load center under North gable to load centers on Upper Flat roof
    Load centers on Upper Flat roof through to East Mechanical room
  • Complete connections to electric panels
    Install 30 amp double pole breaker in 400 amp panel, going to load center on Upper Flat roof
    Install 30 amp double pole breaker in 200 amp panel, going to load center on Upper Flat roof
  • Complete network connections
    Install receptacle to the left of 200 amp panel in the East Mechanical room
    Install Enphase Envoy unit above receptacle
    Provide network access to Envoy unit
  • Install Sanyo 215 watt photovoltaic panels on:
    East gable (one array of 8 panels)
    North gable (one array of 8 panels)
    Upper Flat roof (four arrays of 8 panels each, or 32 panels)
  • Complete all labels and signage relating to solar
  • Test solar installation
    Connect network to Internet
    Register each of the individual panels with Enphase (about 45 minutes) and verify solar production/generation
  • Inspections and certification
    Schedule inspection by the City of Monte Sereno for Friday, 09/09/11 between 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
    Schedule inspection by HERS rater (Darrel Kelly) for Saturday, 09/10/11 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Submit completion certification to NSHP on 09/12/11

Quite a list!  We’ll see how our plan unfolds …

Starting the Day

Since the 60 mil TPO membrane roof was completed last fall, we had a leak (when Earth Bound Homes was verifying the chases were clear in the SIPs), and then made several penetrations for our plumbing vents.  In addition, we had to make two penetrations for solar mounts and then just last week we made four penetrations for the conduit going to the Upper Flat roof.

So … Al Courtney of Statewide Roofing sent three of his top installers over first thing this morning so they could make the necessary repairs to the TPO membrane roof.

With the penetrations for the solar mounts and conduit secured, the team from Real Goods Solar can work unimpeded.

We’re on track to meet the September 12, 2012 deadline.

The team from Statewide Roofing arrived first thing this morning to complete the repairs to the 60 mil TPO membrane roof.

The drain over the South East part of the Garage had to be replaced due to the hole that Earth Bound Homes made when verifying the electrical chases in the SIPs were clear. We discovered the leak during the heavy rains on December 31, 2010.

Plumbing vents on the North East corner of the house.

Plumbing vent on the West side of the house, over the Master Bathroom.

Solar mounts that straddle the ridge of the North gable.

The back side of the frames that straddle the ridge of the North gable.

New TPO membrane over one of the four penetrations of conduit on the Upper Flat roof.

Completed conduit under the Upper Flat roof. Note the reclaimed Redwood under the SIP roof.

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 Progress on Our Red Front Door

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

It was a full day today.

Al continued working on the roof, trying to stay in front of the forecasted rains for tomorrow (100% probability).  Bryan met with the City of Monte Sereno to review our preliminary lighting control plans, John Rider dropped by to see how the project is developing, Bryan and John met with Nathan Merrill to review the progress on our red front door, and Shane Lothrop provided instructions on how we could make an opening in one of our shear walls.

And our daughter, Kate, was on the winning team for her first AA baseball game with Los Gatos Little League (Kate plays hardball).

Reviewing Progress on Our Red Front Door

During John Rider’s quick walk-through of our project, Nathan Merrill called Bryan and asked if he could move the scheduled time of 2:00 pm forward to noon for Bryan to to review the progress Nathan was making on our red front door.  With John having to go back to his office, it was perfect!  John followed Bryan in his truck to Nathan’s shop on Dell Avenue.

John Rider has worked on our project since July 2008.  John is a LEED-accredited professional and is now accredited under the LEED for Homes program.  John dropped by to say that he wants to complete the preliminary rating review on our project and finalize the plans so we can proceed.  Darrel Kelly, our Green-rater under the LEED for homes program has been encouraging us to schedule another integrated project meeting to complete our preliminary rating.  John is with Jrider + Design.

Bryan introduced John to Nathan Merrill, of American Ornamental Iron and then Nathan took us into his shop.  Nathan had our door hanging from his shop forklift, so he could work on it. 

Nathan explained that he is planning to have the door powder coated and asked Bryan to sign off on the colors for the frame and the door.  Nathan has the original red front door in his shop and will take it to the powder coating firm so they can match the color.

John was impressed with the Valli & Valli hardware and Nathan showed John the details where he will not only be meeting the specifications and finish by Valli & Valli but exceeding them.  For example, Nathan is ensuring that all the edges of the door have the same rounding radius (.0625 inch) and that the stainless steel recessed machine bolts are brushed as per the Valli & Valli finish.  Detail is key …

Making an Opening in Our Shear Wall

The recent earthquake and resulting tsumani in Japan shocked us and underscored the importance of exceeding the local seismic requirements.  Since our objective is to live in this house for the next 15 years, we don’t want to meet code requirements – we must exceed those requirements.  We believe strongly that the San Francisco Bay Area will experience a 7.5 or greater earthquake in the next 15 years.

For our lighting control panels, Bryan reviewed locations in the house and then met with our Building Official at the City of Monte Sereno, Howard Bell, this morning to discuss our proposed locations.  Howard reviewed the alternatives with Bryan and recommended that we make an opening in our shear wall in the upper laundry room to do so.  If we go with that location then Howard requires us to review the opening with our Structural Engineer of Record, Shane Lothrop of Innovative Structural Engineering.

Shane reviewed the proposed location and then sent Bryan written instructions on where and how to make the opening.  Those instructions included requirements on the opening so it will maintain the structural integrity of the shear wall.

John Rider (right) and Nathan Merrill discuss our red front door (hanging from the forks of the forklift).

Nathan Merrill (left) and John Rider discuss our red front door (hanging from the forks of the forklift).

The door, including sidelights.  Nathan is fabricating the components around the door.  Note that the piece at the bottom of the door is a brace that will be removed before it is installed.

The door, including sidelights. Nathan is fabricating the components around the door. Note that the piece at the bottom of the door is a brace that will be removed before it is installed.

The door opens in, using four Soss hinges (invisible hinges).  Nathan explained that the door will need some cycles to get the hinges working smoothly (the door weighs 246 lbs).

The door opens in, using four Soss hinges (invisible hinges). Nathan explained that the door will need some cycles to get the hinges working smoothly (the door weighs 246 lbs).

Close up of the Valli & Valli hardware exterior hardware.

Close up of the Valli & Valli hardware exterior hardware.

Close up of the electrified mortise lockset.  The Valli & Valli logo on the inside door handle can be seen, just barely.

Close up of the electrified mortise lockset. The Valli & Valli logo on the inside door handle can be seen, just barely. Nathan's logo and the serial number will be on the top of the door.

Jig for making the wine racks.  There is a left and right jig as we will require 76 of the individual supports to be manufactured.

Jig for making the wine racks. There is a left and right jig as we will require 76 of the individual supports to be manufactured.

The other half of the jig.

The other half of the jig.

The first of some 24 vertical pieces in each of the three wine racks (left, center and right).

The first of some 24 vertical pieces in each of the three wine racks (left, center and right).

Alan holding the first component of the wine rack in the wine cellar.  Note the clearance at the top of the rack, by the ceiling where the radiant cooling will be installed.

Alan holding the first component of the wine rack in the wine cellar. Note the clearance at the top of the rack, by the ceiling where the radiant cooling will be installed.

Shear wall by Upper Laundry Room.  The framed area to the left is for one of three art niches; the stud bay to the right is where we would like the opening in the shear wall.

Shear wall by Upper Laundry Room. The framed area to the left is for one of three art niches; the stud bay to the right is where we would like the opening in the shear wall.

Shear wall from Upper Laundry Room, showing where we would like the opening for the lighting control system.

Shear wall from Upper Laundry Room, showing where we would like the opening for the lighting control system.

The electric cables for the lights in the ceiling will be run up these posts.  We will drill through each post to bring the electricity to the exterior fixtures that will light the underside of the upper flat roof.

The electric cables for the lights in the ceiling will be run up these posts. We will drill through each post to bring the electricity to the exterior fixtures that will light the underside of the upper flat roof.

In order to bring the electric circuits from the West side to the East side, we will have to drill eight holes through this beam.

In order to bring the electric circuits from the West side to the East side, we will have to drill eight holes through this beam.

 

Our daughter, Kate Mekechuk, in her first AA game catching in the second inning.  The Manager and coaching staff are by the fence, with photographers behind them.

Our daughter, Kate Mekechuk, in her first AA game catching in the second inning. The Manager and coaching staff are by the fence, with a photographer behind them.

Continuing with the Yellow Cedar Shakes

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

While Al continued with the yellow cedar shakes, we haven’t forgotten about our red front door.

We made progress on all fronts today.

Our Red Front Door

The last step in the fabrication of our red front door is to paint it (designing and fabricating the red front door has been quite a project in, and of, itself) .  We wanted the new door to match the color of the original red front door, exactly.  During the deconstruction of our house, we sold our red front door to another Eichler homeowner, who lived in Willow Glen.  That was fine as we had a tin of paint from when Bryan and his father, John, painted the red front door in 2002.  After moving between two rental homes, we can’t find the tin of red paint.

Bryan searched through his archive of e-mails and found the correspondence with the person that bought our original red front door in September 2008, including his telephone number.  Bryan called Brad and explained the need to match the color of the original red front door.  Brad said that he could get a paint chip from the door as it is in his garage, and hadn’t been installed yet (hey, it’s only been 2-1/2 years – we understand completely!).  Bryan asked if he could simply come by with the truck and ‘borrow’ the door for a while.  ‘No problem, come by anytime,’ said Brad.

After picking up the red front door, Bryan took it to American Ornamental Iron for Nathan Merrill to match the color with.  Nathan explained that he would take the door to the shop that will be powder-coating the steel door so they can get a perfect match.

Cool … way cool. 

That door is getting around.

Jerry Ditto Drops By

Our advisor, Jerry Ditto, dropped by unexpectedly today to check on our progress.  Jerry has been involved with our project since inception (he spoke at the public hearing for our Site Development Permit on July 16, 2008).  Jerry subscribes to our e-mail updates and had seen the recent postings on the roof.  Since he was in the area and had a couple minutes, he dropped by.  It is always good to see Jerry.

Jerry thought the roof looked fabulous.  He noted how prominent the yellow cedar shakes are from inside the house.  We have had a number of unsolicited positive comments on our yellow cedar shake roof, which is very visible to traffic going North on Winchester Boulevard.

Jerry did ask about the completion date …

The original red front door from our Eichler home, which was built in 1969.  Nathan will take the door to the firm doing the powder coating so they can get a perfect match on the paint.  It is, after all, a remodel ...

The original red front door from our Eichler home, which was built in 1969. Nathan will take the door to the firm doing the powder coating so they can get a perfect match on the paint. It is, after all, a remodel ...

The final row of yellow cedar shakes are going onto the West side of the East gable.  Note the standoffs for the solar photovoltaic panels.

The final row of yellow cedar shakes are going onto the West side of the East gable. Note the standoffs for the solar photovoltaic panels.

The remaining bundles of yellow cedar shakes in the garage - we will have sufficient shakes to complete the roof.

The remaining bundles of yellow cedar shakes in the garage - we will have sufficient shakes to complete the roof.

Completing the South Gable

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Each gable of our roof has two sides, and we chose to complete the South side of the South gable first.  We did this because (1) it was easy to complete (no penetrations, solar mounts, valleys, etc.) and (2) we wanted to show visible progress.

The tough part with this decision is that our progress appears to have slowed down.  We’ve been focusing on completing the non-visible parts of the roof now.

We completed the North side of the South gable today.  The other gables are coming along nicely and we are making good progress.

Unfortunately for our construction project, the winter rains are returning to the South Bay this week.  There was a solid 90 minutes of rain today and more rain is forecasted in the next 10 days.  When that happens, we’ll get back to completing the wine racks inside the house.

The North side of the North gable is completed.  When all the gables are done, we will put the ridge shakes.

The North side of the North gable is completed. When all the gables are done, we will put the ridge shakes.

Close up of our yellow cedar shakes on the gable.  Al noted that the yellow cedar sheds the water much better than red cedar.

Close up of our yellow cedar shakes on the gable. Al noted that the yellow cedar sheds the water much better than red cedar.

View of the West part of the North side of the South gable.  This is the FINAL layer (except for the ridge shakes, which will be completed soon!).

View of the West part of the North side of the South gable. This is the FINAL layer (except for the ridge shakes, which will be completed soon!).

The braces were very helpful in putting the yellow cedar shakes on the 12:12 gable roof.

The braces were very helpful in putting the yellow cedar shakes on the 12:12 gable roof.

More progress on the South side of the North gable.  The remaining rows of shakes should be completed this week.

More progress on the South side of the North gable. The remaining rows of shakes should be completed this week.

There are some 10 rows of shakes that need to be completed on the North side of the North gable.

There are some 10 rows of shakes that need to be completed on the North side of the North gable.

Al Debeauclair attaching shakes on the West side of the East gable.

Al Debeauclair attaching shakes on the West side of the East gable.

Making Progress with Our Yellow Cedar Shake Roof

Friday, March 11th, 2011

After returning from the 3-day training course in Palm Desert, it was time to see how much progress we had made with the yellow cedar shakes on our gable roof.

The roof looked fantastic!

We should complete installing the shakes by the end of next week.

Progress on North side of South gable, showing scaffolding system used to protect roof while attaching shakes.

Progress on North side of South gable, showing scaffolding system used to protect roof while attaching shakes.

The East side of the East gable, showing the cooktop vent penetration.  The yellow cedar shakes are lined up nicely.

The East side of the East gable, showing the cooktop vent penetration. The yellow cedar shakes are lined up nicely.

When you walk into the house, you will see the shakes on the South side of the North gable.

When you walk into the house, you will see the shakes on the South side of the North gable.

This photo shows that we have six more rows of shakes to complete the South side of the North Gable.  The standoffs for the solar mounts are visible in this photo.

This photo shows that we have six more rows of shakes to complete the South side of the North Gable. The standoffs for the solar mounts are visible in this photo.

View of the valley between the North and East gables (from the upper flat roof).

View of the valley between the North and East gables (from the upper flat roof).

North gable, showing solar mounts.

North gable, showing solar mounts.

There are three more rows to complete the North side of the South gable, and then the ridge can be completed with the ridge shakes.

There are three more rows to complete the North side of the South gable, and then the ridge can be completed with the ridge shakes.