Archive for the ‘SIPs’ Category

Verifying the Electrical Chases in Our SIPs are Clear

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

We spent the day working on the electrical chases in the gable roofs.  The chases must be ‘open’ throughout their length so the electrical wiring can be completed.  Any chases that are blocked are not acceptable.

This is our last chance to verify these chases are 100% clear and electrical wires can be run unobstructed in the chases because we will be covering the wood fascia on the flat roofs and gable roofs with zinc.

While it didn’t feel like a productive day, it was an important day.

To explain, let’s go back in time …

Taking an Integrated Approach to Design

We took an integrated approach to the design of our home.  Claude Oakland was the architect that designed the house in 1969.  Subsequently, we had an entire team work on the remodel of the main floor, which followed the original design by Claude Oakland and, at the same time, the team also designed the lower level (basement), which is all new construction.

An ‘integrated approach’ required consideration of architectural design, functional design (ergonomics), structural design, energy efficiency, and the durability of materials.  As well, we included the major components of the HVAC, electrical and plumbing components in the initial, integrated design.

Once the overall, integrated design of the house (remodel and new construction) was completed, the detailed structural design was addressed, which anticipated future seismic forces.  The design and structural requirements were then used for the layout design of our SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels). 

Electrical Distribution Strategy and Design

Based on the design of the house, we arrived at an electrical distribution strategy, which the original house had as well.  The electrical distribution in the original house was over the 2×8 Redwood roof decking, which comprised the roof structure (you can see how the original electrical distribution was in a photo of the deconstruction on 09/24/08).  The electrical distribution in the remodel is in the SIPs that comprise the lower and upper flat roofs, and all of the gable roofs.

To provide as much flexibility as possible, both today and in subsequent remodels, the electrical distribution must be through chases that are intuitive and logical, and easy to understand and locate.  We decided to include these chases in the perimeter SIP roof overhangs, which are outside the thermal envelope of the structure.

Background – Design, Manufacturing and Installation of SIPs

SIPs are manufactured using shop drawings for each individual SIP.  The shop drawings are developed based on the design of the house, then the overall layout of the SIPs, and the structural requirements for the house.  We provided our SIP manufacturer, Insulspan, with the overall layout of the SIPs and the structural requirements.  Insulspan then revised the overall layout and developed detailed shop drawings for each individual SIP.  The SIPs are connected (joined) with splines. 

Within Insulspan, the manufacturing group reviewed the detailed shop drawings to ensure that the SIP layout and design, as required, could be manufacturing efficiently.  Subsequently, our structural engineer of record, Innovative Structural Engineering, signed off on Insulspan’s shop drawings and then we signed off on each individual shop drawing.  This marked the completion of the SIP design, which was then passed on to Insulspan’s manufacturing group. 

Manufacturing SIPs

Insulspan’s manufacturing group made the SIPs, and included all splines not requiring dimensional lumber.  Although Insulspan could have provided a complete ‘ready to assemble’ package with every component and spline required, Insulspan could not provide FSC-certified dimensional lumber.  Accordingly, we agreed to obtain FSC-certified dimensional lumber from our own sources through a detailed cut list and FSC-certified lumber order.

The splines that Insulspan provided included both foam splines and I-joist splines.  The foam splines were included but not connected to the SIPs that were to be joined.  The I-joist splines were installed in one of the SIPs; the adjacent SIP would then be attached as part of the on-site assembly.

Importantly, the holes for the chases were drilled in each of the splines, including both the loose foam splines and the I-joist splines that were glued in place to one of the SIPs.

Assembling Our SIPs On Site

Once the SIPs were delivered to our site, each SIP was identified and placed (stacked) near to where it would ultimately be located, in reverse order.  Essentially, the first SIP to be used was at the top of the stack and the last SIP at the bottom.  This required moving the SIPs around our (very crowded) job site.

When the SIPs were assembled on site, the SIPs were connected with the appropriate splines (either foam splines, dimensional lumber or I-joists).  The assembly team had to drill holes for chases in the dimensional lumber that connected each of the SIPs.  The foam splines and I-joists had holes for the chases pre-drilled in those connections by Insulspan’s manufacturing group.

If the SIPs were manufactured as per the design and the assembly was completed as per the design (with components manufactured correctly) then the chases would be clear and open, and located as per the plans.

Verifying the Chases Are Clear

To verify the chases were open and clear, we drilled holes in each location on the ends (rakes) of the gable roofs so we could insert a length of pipe into the 1-1/2 inch chase.  That pipe should go the entire length of the chase unobstructed.

Any obstructions must be cleared prior to installing the zinc fascia.

Simple, right?

We wish.

Where Could Errors Occur?

Reviewing the process, errors could occur in the design, manufacturing and installation of the SIPs. 

Our design was documented, with each a shop drawing for each SIP.  Design errors could occur where chases in adjacent SIPs were ‘disconnected’ and those disconnections not identified prior to manufacturing and installation.  Insulspan’s review process helped to ensure that our design was robust.

Errors could occur in manufacturing, where the chases were located in locations not specified in the shop drawings.  As well, the foam pieces, with the chases, could move or be placed upside down in the manufacturing process.  Any errors in the manufacturing process should be prevented through Insulspan’s  Quality Assurance program.  Any errors that do occur in the manufacturing process should be identified through Insulspan’s Quality Control process, prior to shipping to our job site.

Finally, errors could occur in the on-site installation.  First, the dimensional lumber splines that were not provided by Insulspan had to be ‘manufactured’ (i.e., cut to length and holes drilled for chases) on the job site.  Other errors could occur where panels were not connected correctly (using the wrong foam splines, moving or ‘flipping’ the foam splines) or where panels were not assembled plumb and square (offset).  As well, the mastic used to joint the foam splines, I-joists or dimensional lumber splines could leak/drip into the chases causing blockage.

Also, the on-site installation is the last part of the process where quality control is possible.  Any errors in the design, manufacturing and installation should be identified at this time.  Prior to putting the LVL into the gable ends (rakes) and as each panel is assembled, inspection will identify blockages in the chases.

As you can see, there are multiple parties involved in the process and multiple opportunities for errors to occur.  However, there are also areas where any errors could, and should, be identified.

Last Chance

Given this is our last chance to ensure the chases are open, we decided to invest the time and effort to drill 1-1/2 inch holes through the 2x fascia and the 1-3/4 inch LVL on the gable ends (rakes).  Also, we drilled holes through the fascia and LVL in the upper flat roof.

After drilling the holes, we started by using using 20 ft long pieces of ½-inch irrigation pipe to verify that the chases were open and clear.  Subsequently, we used larger diameter pipe.  We found problems.

In several instances, we noted that the pipe was hitting foam, indicating blockages caused by the manufacturing process.  In other instances, we noted the pipe was hitting wood, indicating problems with the installation process. 

As well, we found that after removing foam blockages that there were wood blockages.  As well, after drilling through wood blockages, we found foam blockages.

Given the problems we encountered within the sample tested, we are going to verify 100% of the chases in the overhangs where our electric distribution will be.

Using a 20 ft long 1-1/2 inch inside diameter irrigation pipe to identify where the obstructions are in the electrical chases.

Using a 20 ft long 1 inch inside diameter irrigation pipe to identify where the obstructions are in the electrical chases.

Installing Our ‘Cool Roof’ System

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

The team from Statewide Roofing arrived promptly at 8:00 am this morning to install our cool roof system.   We need to get the flat roof completed before the rains come this weekend.  Depending on which forecast one follows, there is a 10% to 40% chance of rain on Saturday and/or Sunday.

We need a roof.  And a ‘cool roof’ would be way cool.

Designing Our ‘Cool Roof’

Our roof serves multiple purposes.  First, it provides us with shelter (go figure).  Beyond this basic function, we have the following requirements:

  • Reduce our heating and cooling requirements.
  • Allow us to capture 100% of the rainwater from the entire roof.
  • Reduce our maintenance requirements.
  • Support our solar photovoltaic panels.

The benefits that we will enjoy from our roof design include:

  • Reduced energy costs, due to reduced energy consumption and the generation of electricity.
  • Reduced maintenance costs, due to lower maintenance requirements and faster and easier maintenance activitivies.
  • Increased occupant comfort, due to higher temperatures in the winter and cooler temperatures in the summer.

Roof Surfaces and Defining a ‘Cool Roof’

According to Johns Manville’s handbook on single ply roofing systems,

‘Roof surface temperature is important to reducing air conditioning energy usage and mitigating the Urban Heat Island Effect. Cool roof surfaces minimize heat build-up in the roof membrane caused by solar radiation (the sun) and the transfer of heat from the hot roof into the building. The roof is one of the first lines of defense against the effects of the sun on and in a building. In addition, roof insulation plays a critical role in reducing the heat flow into the building. With proper insulation and the addition of cool roofing products, heat transfer into a building can be reduced significantly.

A cool roof surface is defined by two mechanisms, reflectivity and emissivity. The higher the reflection of the total solar energy spectrum (called the albedo), the less solar energy is absorbed. The second mechanism, emissivity, is the amount of absorbed heat that is re-radiated back into the atmosphere. Thermal emissivity is expressed as a percentage relative to an ideal radiating surface, which is defined as having an emissivity of 100%. Thus, when less energy is absorbed (high solar reflectivity) and more of the absorbed energy is emitted (high thermal emissivity), there is less thermal energy (e.g., heat) in the roof to enter the building. For example, metals have low emissivity, and that is the reason why a highly reflective piece of metal left in the sun still becomes hot compared to a highly reflective, more emissive roof membrane. Reflectance and emittance with proper insulation are critical properties to a properly functioning cool roof.’

What could be cooler than a ‘cool roof’? 

Eliminating Water from Ponding on Our Roof

Starting with shelter, we don’t want the roof to leak.  On our 12:12 pitch gable roofs, this will not be a problem.  However, on our flat roofs (upper-, mid- and lower flat roofs), we may experience ‘ponding’.  Allan Courtney, our roofing advisor and roofing contractor, recommended that we design the flat roofs to direct water to the drains.  Note that all of the water from our gable roofs, and upper- and mid level flat roofs goes onto our lower flat roof.  This can be a lot of water.  Al doesn’t want there to be any ‘flat’ areas on our roof for water to pond.  Ponded water is bad, as it can be a source of water that could then leaks into our house.  We would very much prefer that 100.0% of the water from our roof go into our underground cistern.

In addition, ponded water is heavy, which increases the load on the structure.  Increasing the load can cause the roof to deflect, causing more ponding.  More ponding can cause more deflection …

So, Al recommended that we have tapered foam crickets from Johns Manville.  Each of the tapered foam crickets are manufactured in 4 ft x 4 ft pieces from closed cell polyisocyanurate foam. 

ENRGY 3® and ISO 3™ are rigid roof insulation boards composed of a closed cell polyisocyanurate foam core bonded in the manufacturing process to universal fiber glass reinforced facers. ENRGY 3 and ISO 3 utilize an environmentally compliant blowing agent containing pentane hydrocarbon to enhance the thermal performance of the foam insulation. This hydrocarbon has zero ozone depletion potential and conforms to the Montreal Protocol established in 1987. ENRGY 3 and ISO 3 meet the physical property requirements of ASTM C 1289, Type II, Class I, Grade 2 and CAN/ULC S704, Type 2, Class 2. ENRGY 3 and ISO 3 specialty products are also available as tapered panels, precut miters and precut crickets.

To direct the water to the drains, the crickets need to be engineered so that, in every instance, there is a downward slope that leads to a drain.  Johns Manville provided us with this design service as it is included in the cost of their product.  Here is the design of our tapered insulation, which Leo Richardson drafted.

Although we don’t need to have additional R-value for our roof, installing tapered insulation as crickets will eliminate the structural thermal bridges on our flat roofs. 

Reducing Energy Consumption

Our roof design started with reducing our energy consumption, which is one of the reasons for using SIPs (structural insulated panels).  Our SIP roof provides thermal resistance of R-47.  This high thermal resistance does not prevent solar radiation from reaching the inside of the house and heating the house.  To reduce energy consumption for cooling the house, we need to reflect that heat back into the sky.  Reflecting solar radiation can be accomplished with a roof surface with high solar reflectance and high thermal emittance.  This is the value of a light colored (e.g., white) roof.

The R-47 thermal resistance does not include the structural elements inside the SIPs that create thermal bridges.  For example, we have a 5.25×16 SCL (structural composite lumber) in the center of our upper flat roof that is not insulated.  Without the tapered insulation, we would have thermal bridges where heat (energy) can escape, or enter, our house.  The tapered insulation will reduce the thermal bridges as it will add, on average, R-7.5 to our thermal envelope on our flat roofs.

Components of Our Roofing System

In evaluating the roof surface over the SIPs, Al recommended a white, 60 mil TPO Membrane from Johns Manville.  This product has an extremely high initial solar reflectance of 0.77 and an extremely high initial thermal emittance of 87%.  To put these values into context, meeting the EPA’s Energy Star standards requires a solar reflectance of 0.65 and meeting the higher standards of California’s Title 24 requirements for commercial buildings requires solar reflectance of 0.70 and thermal emittance of 75%.

Al recommended TPO Membrane as it is manufactured from thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).  Single ply roof membranes are manufactured using EPDM, PVC or TPO.  Al prefers TPO because it is easier to keep clean, which lowers our maintance requirements and, consequently, maintenance costs.  Dirt will lower the solar reflectance and lower the thermal emittance.

JM TPO is one of the latest single ply, flat roofing materials on the market. The current membrane formulations are reinforced with a polyester fabric and manufactured using an ultraviolet-resistant thermoplastic polyolefin formulation. TPO from JM comes in several thicknesses. It is designed for use in mechanically fastened and adhered roofing applications in new, re-roof and re-cover roof constructions. It is fire and chemical resistant and contains UV inhibitors for added longevity.

Products with a longer useful and functional life contribute to the durability of the building envelope, which can result in a lower overall total cost of ownership for our house.

Regarding the attachment system, Al recommended that we go with mechanical fasteners.  The alternative is a fully adhered roof membrane.  Given his experience, Al recommended that we use Carlisle’s HP-x fasteners with 3 inch plates for the tapered insulation and 2-3/8 inch Piranha plates to mechanically fasten the membrane.

Over the tapered foam insulation and under the single ply membrane, Al recommended FR-10 slip sheet.  The slip sheet serves two purposes – allows the membrane to move as it expands and contracts with heat and cold, and adds protection against flame spread and flame penetration through the roof system.

Roof installation instructions.

Roof installation instructions.

Installing Our Cool Roof

The six-person team from Statewide Roofing brought a portable diesel generator on our site and moved their tools onto the roof.  Then, the roofing materials arrived from Ford Wholesale, and they were placed on our roof with a rear pivot steer Telehandler.

The team got to work quickly, cleaning the debris from the roof and distributing the 4×4 sections of tapered insulation.  Then, they attached the insulation with screws to the SIPs and put down the slip sheets.  The membrane went down next, fastened with the screws and Piranha plates.

Then, the detail work started, which is welding the seams of the membrane.  it was a sunny, hot day, and the new white membrane reflected the solar heat, making it even hotter for the team working on the roof.

All of the tapered foam insulation that was secured to the roof was covered before the team left for the day.

Way cool …

Ready for the materails to arrive and be lifted onto the roof.

Ready for the materials to arrive and be lifted onto the roof.

The Telehandler unloads the roofing materials on Via Sereno.

The Telehandler unloads our roofing materials on Via Sereno.

Placing the materials on the roof.

Placing the materials on the roof.

Our neighbor from Vista Avenue, Robin Wedel, was walking her dog around the block and stopped in for a visit.  Justin Barlett, on the left, was working on pressurizing our geothermal ground loop.

Our neighbor from Vista Avenue, Robin Wedell, was walking her dog around the block and stopped in for a visit. Justin Barlett, on the left, was working on pressurizing our geothermal ground loop.

Roofing the lower flat roof on the West side of the house.  Note the FR-10 slip sheet and the fasteners holding down the white single ply membrane.

Roofing the lower flat roof on the West side of the house. Note the FR-10 slip sheet and the fasteners holding down the white single ply membrane.

Completing the detailed work on the upper flat roof.  The seams are welded with a special hand held hot air welding tool.

Completing the detailed work on the upper flat roof. The seams are welded with a special hand held hot air welding tool.

4x4 sheets of Enrgy3 Tapered Foam Insulation from Johns Manville.

4x4 sheets of ENRGY 3 tapered foam insulation from Johns Manville.

A bucket of 2-3/8 inch Pirahna plates.

A bucket of 2-3/8 inch Pirahna plates.

Roll of FR-10 slip sheet material, which allows the membrane to expand and contract, and provides protection from the spread of fire through our roof assembly.

Roll of FR-10 slip sheet material, which allows the membrane to expand and contract, and provides protection from the spread of fire through our roof assembly.

Fasteners for the insulation and roof membrane.

Fasteners for the insulation and roof membrane.

Getting into the Pool

Friday, September 10th, 2010

We want to dump ‘waste heat’ into our swimming pool so the cooling system needs to be connected with our swimming pool.  In order to do so, we need to know where to locate the water supply and return.

As well, Bryan obtained the necessary connections to mount a satellite dish on the upper flat roof.  Way cool.

Dumping Waste Heat into the Swimming Pool

When we have excess heat in the house, we want to move that heat into the swimming pool.  In order to do so, we need to have a supply of water from the pool and be able to discharge that water into the pool.  Michael Benision, of MWB Pools & Spas, has been working on reshaping our pool.

Bryan consulted with Michael regarding how to integrate the house cooling system with the swimming pool.  Michael explained that the water supply should be a dedicated suction from the main pool and the discharge should go to the pool equipment pad, where he can connect it (with a check valve) to the spa supply line.  Thus, the cold water will come from the main pool and the heated water will go to the spa.  The spa and main pool are connected.

Putting a dedicated suction into the pool will be relatively easy – the critical issue is to identify the location of that dedicated suction.  On the south wall of the pool, where the suction will be ‘hidden’ from view (we want a simple, clean look to everything), there are two lights and two discharges.  We need to identify exactly where these items are so the new suction will not conflict with the lights or the discharges.

Time for Bryan to Get into the Pool

We designed the temporary pool cover so it could be opened in sections for purposes exactly like this.  The temporary pool cover is in six sections.  Four of the sections are 8 ft wide, and two of the sections are 4 ft wide (the temporary pool cover is made with 4×8 sheets of plywood).  Paul Marcaccio and Bryan built the temporary pool cover on December 7, 2008.

Bryan worked with Izzy to jack up one of the 4 ft wide sections, which was over where the steps go into the main pool.  Within 20 minutes, the section was open and Bryan got into the pool.  He could see where the high water mark was and, in general, the pool was quite clean.  There was over 20 inches of water in the bottom on the pool.

Izzy marked where the suction line will go on the South side of the pool so he could excavate a small trench to that location.

Preparing for a Satellite Dish

Although we have cable, we want to plan for placing a satellite dish on the upper flat roof.  We talked through the requirements with our home automation consultant, Brandon Smith of Brandon Smith Audio Design in Santa Cruz, and our home automation advisor, Paul Fulton.  Both Brandon and Paul believe that the best time to put in the cable and mounting system is when the house is being built.

We are going to mount a 1-5/8 inch pipe inside of a 2 inch pipe that is connected to the top layer of OSB in our upper flat SIP roof, and that pipe will extend through the SIP to another connection in the bottom layer of OSB.  The pipe will be capped until we need it and the white membrane roof will go around this penetration.

Paul Fulton recommended that we run six (6) RG-6 cables from the home automation closet in the lower level to the pipe in the upper flat roof.  Also, we will run a grounding wire so the system can be grounded safely.

Bryan needs to get the assembly mounted and the RG-6 wires run.

The pipe assembly that will support the mast for a satellite TV antenna.  Note the smaller pipe socket to the left as this will go under the SIP so the mast will be supported at the top and bottom of the SIP.

The pipe assembly that will support the mast for a satellite TV antenna. Note the smaller pipe socket to the left as this will go under the SIP so the mast will be supported at the top and bottom of the SIP.

The trench at the front of the house includes the 4-inch black ABS pipe that will carry our rainwater to the underground cistern.  The white PVC pipe in this photo connects to the 4-inch drain so any backwash water from a potassium water softener and/or an activated charcoal filter can be collected in our underground cistern as well.

The trench at the front of the house includes the 4-inch black ABS pipe that will carry our rainwater to the underground cistern. The white PVC pipe in this photo connects to the 4-inch drain so any backwash water from a potassium water softener and/or an activated charcoal filter can be collected in our underground cistern as well.

Bryan is inside the pool, under the temporary pool deck.  Izzy helped Bryan to lift one of the 4 ft wide sections of the  temporary plywood deck.

Bryan is inside the pool, under the temporary pool deck. Izzy helped Bryan to lift one of the 4 ft wide sections of the temporary plywood deck.

The new suction that will take water from the main part of the pool will be located midway between the two lights on the South side of the pool.

The new suction that will take water from the main part of the pool will be located midway between the two lights on the South side of the pool.

View under the temporary plywood deck over the pool.  Note the spa on the right, by the steps.

View under the temporary plywood deck over the pool. Note the spa on the right, by the steps.

Verifying Our Insulation Performance and Value

Friday, August 20th, 2010

We are getting closer to putting the tapered insulation down on our flat roofs so we can put the membrane on and get water tight.  Before doing so, we verified that the SIP roof has no ‘voids’ in the insulation where the individual pieces come together. 

In anticipation of the next step, becoming weather tight, Bryan picked up the first of 72 boxes of windows so we could confirm the window preparation requirements.  Since we will be seeing Carole Murray tomorrow, it is important to show that we’re progressing and getting the windows out of her warehouse!  Also today, Bryan continued working with Izzy on ensuring the HDPE coming out of each concrete pier can be joined to create our ground loop.

At the end of the day, Gino Attanasio from White Cap dropped off two more 10-lb containers of expanding foam for us to use in tightening up our building envelope.

Picking Up Our First Window

We have 72 boxes of sliding glass doors and windows at Murray Window and Door.  We can’t install the sliding doors and windows until we are weather tight.  Well, we probably could install them but we are choosing not to.

In anticipation of the first clerestory window installation, we picked up one of the 16 windows.  This will allow us to identify exactly how the windows will ‘fit’ and how we will need to attach the windows.  While we have shop drawings, it is always good to have the actual item on hand to avoid potential problems.

After hoisting the window up and onto the roof, we were able to see exactly how the clerestory windows will fit.  This was important as we may have a conflict with the nail fins and edge trim in each of the four corners where the two clerestory windows come together.

Using Thermal Imaging to Verify Our Insulation Value

In our house, the SIP panels are connected on the roof with either wooden I beams or 6×12 splines.  In either case, there is a possibility of leaving ‘voids’ in the EPS foam at these locations.  If a void is left then the insulation value of the roof is compromised.  Voids will reduce the insulation value much more than thermal bridges, which is another problem that we want to avoid.

Today, we took the opportunity to engage Lorna Fear, with Visual Cue Thermal Imaging, to spend a couple hours going through our project to verify that we didn’t have any voids between our SIPs.  Bryan and Lorna worked together, with Bryan explaining how the SIP construction worked and Lorna reviewing the thermal images and identifying where potential problems could be.  Lorna is an expert at interpreting the thermal images and ‘seeing’ where there are inconsistencies in the building envelope.

The thermal imaging identifies different surface temperatures and displays those differences with different colors.  Since heat goes from hot to cold, a surface temperature that is colder than surrounding surfaces may indicate that the energy is being drawn into the building, through a less-insulated condition than the surrounding area.  However, surfaces may also reflect thermal energy, thus showing very ‘hot’ surfaces that may hide other problems.

Given her experience, Lorna can identify where potential problems may occur with our insulation.  Bryan asked Lorna to identify all potential problems locations as we can deal with ‘false positives’ at this stage.  If we miss a problem, it could be there for the life of the building.

Removing Concrete for Our Ground Loop

Bryan spent the afternoon with Izzy chipping away at the top of 6 of the 12 concrete piers on the West side of the house.  Ken Martin, from Silicon Valley Mechanical, fine-tuned the design of the geothermal ground loop so there are two ground loops on the West side that include six concrete piers in each ground loop.

Connecting the individual loops in each pier requires two 90 degree fittings and a short length of HDPE.  Then, the piers need to be connected to each other in a daisy chain manner, with a supply and return for each pier.  For the physical connection, Matt Jung (88HVAC) identified that we need a one-inch space for the cold ring and then another 4 inches to weld the fittings on.  Thus, there must be at least five inches of clear space on the top of each concrete pier where the connections will be located.

All of the piers need to be checked for sufficient space and, where additional space is required, the concrete must be removed.  Removing concrete is noisy, difficult and time-consuming (just ask Bryan). 

Picking up the first of 72 boxes from Murray Window and Door.  Bryan was smiling as he picked up the first box, especially since we will be seeing Carole Murray on Saturday afternoon at Black Ridge Vineyards.

Picking up the first of 72 boxes from Murray Window and Door. Bryan was smiling as he picked up the first box, especially since we will be seeing Carole Murray on Saturday afternoon at Black Ridge Vineyards.

We have the window on the roof, and unpackaged it so we could see exactly how it fit and what the potential issues would be when installing it (and its 15 other clerestory windows).

We have the window on the roof, and unpackaged it so we could see exactly how it fit and what the potential issues would be when installing it (and the other 15 clerestory windows).

 

Lorna, using her Fluke infrared thermal imaging camera, reviewing the South side of the South Gable over the Master Suite.

Lorna, using her Fluke infrared thermal imaging camera, reviewing the South side of the South Gable over the Master Suite.

Lorna uses her Fluke infrared thermal iimaging camera to review the upper flat SIP roof for voids.

Lorna uses her Fluke infrared thermal imaging camera to review the upper flat SIP roof for voids.

This is the thermal image with the surrounding image around it.  You can see the surface temperatures with the scale on the right hand side.

This is the thermal image with the surrounding image around it. You can see the surface temperatures with the scale on the right hand side.

Lorna using her Fluke infrared thermal iimaging camera, identified potenital locations where voids may be on the upper flat roof that need to be investigated.

Lorna using her Fluke infrared thermal imaging camera, identified potential locations where voids may be on the upper flat roof that need to be investigated.

On this thermal image you can see where the warm and cool locations are.  This therma image shows that there may be voids in the SIPs that need to be filled with expanding foam.

On this thermal image you can see where the warm and cool locations are. This thermal image shows that there may be voids between the SIPs that need to be filled with expanding foam.

Izzy and Bryan spent several hours removing concrete from the top of the concrete piers so the ground loops can be connected by 88HVAC.  Matt Jung of 88HVAC will be coming by the job site tomorrow (Sunday) to verify if additonal concrete needs to be removed.

Izzy and Bryan spent several hours removing concrete from the top of the concrete piers so the ground loops can be connected by 88HVAC. Matt Jung of 88HVAC will be coming by the job site on Sunday to verify if additional concrete needs to be removed.

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).

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.