Building the Finished Wall in the Wine Dining

We want to have the ‘Wine Dining’ room to be special.  When Jo-Anne learned that we could buy the wood from the wine tanks at Mirassou Winery on Aborn Road in San Jose, she said ‘Do it.’

Milling the wood and creating the wall has been extremely labor intensive and time consuming.  We think it will be worth it.

Our friend, Kostas Karachristos, recommended that we use RedGard as a waterproofing membrane, which we did.

The wall in the Wine Dining is starting to come together …

The wall in the Wine Dining is coated with RedGard, which is a liquid waterproofing membrane.

 

Dan (left) and Adam (right) are putting the very first column of wood in place. It is important to get the first column correct, as any errors will be amplified as there are more than 140 columns of wood that will become the wall.

 

Starting Our Lighting Control System

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating Our Solar Photovoltaic System!

PG&E inspected our solar photovoltaic system and installed a bi-directional electric meter so we can be a generator of electricity and send power into the grid.

The following web site shows our electricity production through Enphase’s Envoy reporting system:

 http://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/j8aJ30045

Yippee!

Our 'smart meter' that is calibrated accurately in both directions. PG&E installed the meter thi\s afternoon.

Continuing to Work with PG&E

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.

 

 

Thanking the City of Monte Sereno and Preparing for Rain

The first rainstorm of the year is forecasted to arrive tonight.  100% probability …

To prepare for the rain, we moved all of the wood inside the house, including the insulation from the deconstruction, and then we covered the soil in front of the house with the scrap wood from the old roof.  Also, Al and Bryan ensured the roof drains were clear and Al put some temporary downspouts in place from the Upper Flat roof to the Mid Level and Lower Level flat roofs.

We’re ready for some rain.

Thanking the City of Monte Sereno

With only 3,400 men, women and children living in Monte Sereno, it is a small community.  It is nice to be able to attend a City Council meeting and be able to speak for 3 minutes on any topic you wich.

Bryan attended the City Council meeting tonight and spoke for three minutes.  First, he showed two graphs, which he obtained from Acterra, regarding the extremely high consumption of electricity in the City of Monte Sereno.  Then, Bryan thanked three employees of the City of Monte Sereno.

Given the extra work that was done for us to meet all the requirements for our solar photovoltaic system, we wanted to thank the people involved.  Bryan, standing in front of City Council, thanked the Building Official, Howard Bell, the City Attorney, Kirsten Powell, and the City Manager, Brian Loventhal for working together to find a solution so we could have our solar permit signed off and our permanent meter released.

It was nice to be able to say, ‘thank you’.