Posts Tagged ‘CUDO System’

Being Ambushed by Wido Menhardt

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Bryan was at the job site this morning and opened the gate at 7:50 am.  Kel Marchbank was completing a mountain bike ride and dropped by for a minute.  Then, promptly at 8:00 am, Manny and Izzy arrived to work on the underground elements at the front of the property.

After working all morning, Izzy and Manny left at 12:00 noon.  Exhausted from helping with the shovelling, Bryan returned the compactor (‘jumping jack’) to A1 Rentals then went to Safeway and bought seven cases of sodas.  Back to the project site.

As Bryan was recovering and was reviewing the progress to date, he heard a vehicle drive up outside the gate.  The car door closed and Bryan was going up to the gate.

Bryan looked at Wido Menhardt, wondering, ‘who is this?’ (Wido and Trixi now live in Bangalore, India).  Wido smiled broadly and said, ‘It looks good’.

Ambushed.

The inlet box for the underground CUDO cistern has two 4-inch pipes, with a 6-inch pipe into the cistern (left side) and a six-inch overflow bypass (top).  The 1-inch conduit was just glued in place (over the concrete box).  The irrigation supply water going to the manifold at the front of our property is stubbed and needs to be completed.

The inlet box for the underground CUDO cistern has two 4-inch pipes, with a 6-inch pipe into the cistern (left side) and a six-inch overflow bypass (top). The 1-inch conduit was just glued in place (over the concrete box). The irrigation supply water going to the manifold at the front of our property is stubbed and needs to be completed.

Outlet from underground CUDO cistern, with concrete riser on top.  The irrigation water supply and 1-inch conduit are stubbed to the manifold location at the top of the photo.  Note the compactor in the bottom left.

Outlet from underground CUDO cistern, with concrete riser on top. The irrigation water supply and 1-inch conduit are stubbed to the manifold location at the top of the photo. Note the compactor in the bottom left.

Backfilled and compacted areas at the front of the house.  Manny, Izzy and Bryan shovelled, and compacted in 6-inch lifts, over six cubic yards of soil this morning.

Backfilled and compacted areas at the front of the house. Manny, Izzy and Bryan shovelled, and compacted in 6-inch lifts, over six cubic yards of soil this morning.

Wido Menhardt, just arrived from Bangalore, India, tours the project site reviewing progress to date.

Wido Menhardt, just arrived from Bangalore, India, tours the project site reviewing progress to date.

View of backfilled and compacted trenches from South East corner of roof.

View of backfilled and compacted trenches from South East corner of roof.

Enjoying a beautiful, blue-sky California day, Wido leaves for Santa Cruz to get some surfing in.

Enjoying a beautiful, blue-sky California day, Wido leaves for Santa Cruz to get some surfing in.

Installing Our CUDO Cistern – Day 2

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

We completed installing our CUDO cistern by 2:30 pm today.  The pile of dirt is covered and we’re ready to celebrate the arrival of 2010!

Completing the System

We needed the material to complete wrapping the exterior of the CUDO frames and that was being shipped from Los Angeles via UPS.  Gary Jones was on site first thing in the morning, preparing the folds in the material so the last piece would fit on perfectly when delivered.

After the material arrived, Doug Allard wrapped the three CUDO frames that sit on top of the cistern (for the inlet, irrigation pump, and outlet).  These three frames, once wrapped, will sit on the other 64 frames making up the cistern.

Once Gary and Doug were finished, the system then was put together.  We sealed the joints with the prescribed tape and our Graniterock mix arrived.

We ordered a one-sack mix of controlled density fill (CDF) with a four-inch slump.  This mix goes around the perimeter of the CUDO system – between the membrane material and the earth.  Using the CDF allowed us to avoid compacting the earth with a jumping jack and reduced the amount of soil we had to remove.  We ordered 4.0 cubic yards of CDF and used the remainder on top of the CUDO cistern.

As we put the CDF in, we went around the perimeter several times, filling the void partially on each pass.  This was so the pressure would be even and not push the CUDO frames to one side without it being anchored in place.

Once the CDF was around the entire perimeter, the remainder went on the top.  Then, Jose, in the excavator, started sprinkling some soil on the top until we had a layer of approximately 6 inches.  Then, we used shovels and a vibra-plate compactor to spread the soil and compact the dirt evenly over the CUDO cistern.  Then, Jose spread more soil in six inch lifts and we continued compacting.

When we reached the top of the three CUDO frames on top of the cistern, we removed the circular covers and used caulking to put the vertical pipes that will go to the surface.  Jose spread more dirt in six-inch lifts and we continued compacting with the vibra-plate compactor.

Done!  Our underground cistern is in place.

Cleaning Up

The Kristar team left and Jose continued to clean up the site with the excavator.  The moved the remaining dirt into a neat pile so it can be used to backfill the remaining voids at the front of the house and will be easily accessible with a Bobcat.  Also, he moved the stump to the front of the yard so it can be removed.

We’re ready to celebrate the arrival of 2010 – cheers!

Gary completing the wrapping of the top of the CUDO system.  These are the two layers of 4x8 CUDO frames that will hold the water that we will irrigate our landscaping with.

Gary completing the wrapping of the top of the CUDO system. These are the two layers of 4x8 CUDO frames that will hold the water that we will irrigate our landscaping with.

Gary is taping one of the three wrapped CUDO frames that sits on top of the main CUDO cistern.  This frame is for the pump that will provide the water to irrigate our landscaping.

Gary is taping one of the three wrapped CUDO frames that sits on top of the main CUDO cistern. This frame is for the pump that will provide the water to irrigate our landscaping.

A completed CUDO frame - taped and ready to be covered.

A completed CUDO frame - taped and ready to be covered.

The inlet (right) and pump (left) CUDO frames are on top of the CUDO cistern.  We're ready for the controlled density fill (CDF).  The CDF will fill the void between the CUDO frame and the earth.

The inlet (right) and pump (left) CUDO frames are on top of the CUDO cistern. We're ready for the controlled density fill (CDF). The CDF will fill the void between the CUDO frame and the earth.

 

Our 4 yards of CDF (Controlled Density Fill) arrived and Jose stopped the excavator to supevise the pour.

Our 4 yards of CDF (Controlled Density Fill) arrived and Jose (right) stopped the excavator to supevise the pour.

Starting to pour the CDF around the perimeter of the wrapped CUDO frames.

Starting to pour the CDF around the perimeter of the wrapped CUDO frames.

Carlos Torres directed the pour while Bryan (left) and Manuel (right) ensured the CDF dropped down into the void between the CUDO and the soil.

Carlos Torres directed the pour while Bryan (left) and Manuel (right) ensured the CDF dropped down into the void between the CUDO and the soil.

The CDF was a one-sack mix of cement and sand, with a four-inch slump.  There was no aggregate (rocks) in the CDF.

The CDF was a one-sack mix of cement and sand, with a four-inch slump. There was no aggregate (rocks) in the CDF.

Bryan is using a piece of rebar to ensure there are no air pockets in the CDF.

Bryan is using a piece of rebar to ensure there are no air pockets in the CDF.

We ordered enough material to cover the entire CUDO system with three inches of CDF.

We ordered enough material to cover the entire CUDO system with three inches of CDF.

CDF covers the CUDO system - now we use the original soil as backfill over the excavation to bring it to grade.

CDF covers the CUDO system - now we use the original soil as backfill over the excavation to bring it to grade.

We used six-inch lifts of soil and then a vibra-plate to compact the soil.

We used six-inch lifts of soil and then a vibra-plate to compact the soil.

Jose, operating the excavator, deftly distributed soil over the excavation in six-inch lifts.  With a 1-3/4 yard bucket and Jose's expertise, this went fast.

Jose, operating the excavator, deftly distributed soil over the excavation in six-inch lifts. With a 1-3/4 yard bucket and Jose's expertise, this went quickly.

 

Jose had sufficient reach to distribute soil over the entire CUDO system.

Jose had sufficient reach to distribute soil over the entire CUDO system.

After bringing the soil to the top of the three CUDO frames, we removed the covers so we could attach extensions to bring the soil to grade.

After bringing the soil to the top of the three CUDO frames, we removed the covers so we could attach extensions to bring the soil to grade.

Gary used caulking to seal the joint to the CUDO frame.

Gary uses caulking to seal the joint to the CUDO frame.

We're done!  The extension on the left is where the inlet (supply) pipes will be located; the extension on the right is for the irrigation pump.

We're done! The extension on the left is where the inlet (supply) pipes will be located; the extension on the right is for the irrigation pump.

Looking South (towards Via Sereno) - the third extension is where the overflow outlets will be located that will take water in a six-inch pipe under the sidewalk to the back of the storm drain on Winchester Boulevard.

Looking South (towards Via Sereno) - the third extension is where the overflow outlets will be located that will take water in a six-inch pipe under the sidewalk to the back of the storm drain on Winchester Boulevard.

Installing Our CUDO Cistern – Day 1

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

With the excavator in place yesterday, Bryan met the operator, Jose, on site at 8:00 am to dig the hole for our CUDO underground cistern.  We had a small window of time between storms so we wanted to get the CUDO cistern in place before the New Year.

Importance of Retaining Water on Site

As our population grows, the demand for fresh water continues to increase.  One of the key areas that needs to be addressed is reducing the demand for water.  This can be done through low-flow fixtures and toilets, landscaping that requires less watering, recycling water through greywater capture, and harvesting rainwater from the roof and non-permeable hardscape.

We worked with Casey Carlson, with Bowman & Williams, to design a system that would harvest 100% of the rainwater from our roof and the water from our hardscape.  In addition, we are on a ‘seasonal perched water table’ and must pump water from under our foundation for part of the year.

A key element of the system is our underground CUDO cistern.  It is 512 cubic feet and will hold 3,677 gallons of water.  A pump inside the cistern will connect to our irrigation system to use the water we collect for our landscaping.  If the cistern is full, the excess water will then go to the storm drain.

While there are other types of underground cisterns available, Casey recommended the CUDO cistern as it was compact and efficient in terms of underground space, modular so it would be easy to design, and flexible so it could address any unexpected issues during installation.  Importantly, it would be easy and fast to install.

The CUDO system is comprised on various modular components, which is designed on a 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft cube.  Our system was 2 units deep, by 4 units wide and 8 units long (4 ft deep, 8 ft wide and 16 ft long).  The system was placed three feet below grade.

We confirmed the location of our underground utilities on December 22, 2009 so we are good to go.  Also, we will receive nine LEED points under various aspects of the LEED-H program.

Removing the Stump

As part of our project, we removed a large Canary Island Pine tree.  This tree was at the southeast coner of our property and was planted in 1969 by the developer, Eichler and Associates.  This fast-growing tree had served its purpose and was now blocking sunshine in the winter, when we require solar heat gain, and didn’t provide any shadown during the summer, when we have too much solar heat gain.  Cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

We removed the tree on December 13, 2008 but did not remove the stump since we planned to do so when installing our CUDO cistern.  Since the CUDO was going in, the stump had to go.

Jose assessed the situation and dug down on each side of the stump, removing the roots.  Then, he deftly pulled the front, and then the back, of the stump.  Within 18 minutes, the stump was sitting on the driveway.

Excavating for the Cistern

Having cleared the area, Jose then excavated the hole to width and depth, as we had staked it earlier.  We used 16 ft studs to meaure the length, and 8 ft studs to measure the depth and width as we excavated.  Jose distributed the soil around the machine, placing it so he could backfill the hole quickly after the CUDO cistern was in place.

Assembling the CUDO Sytem

As Jose was excavating the hole, our friends from Kristar arrived with the CUDO system.  Don Allard, the CEO arrived with Gary Jones, VP Field Operations (Sue Lillo, our sales representative for Northern California was enjoying a vacation and couldn’t be on site).

Don and Gary were here to ensure the system was installed as planned and to document the installation procedures for this new product.

While Bryan was working with Jose on the excavation, Don and Gary unloaded the 67 individual 2 ft x 2 ft CUDO cubes and snapped them together.  The CUDO system was staged on the street so it would be ready to position in the hole when Jose completed the excavation.

Installing the CUDO System

After the excavation was completed, we put down sand to form a level base for the CUDO cubes.  After marking the centerlines with washable paint on the soil and waterproof membrane, we placed the membrane in the excavation and folded it so the bottom level of 32 CUDO cubes could be installed.  With the foundation level in place, we put the second level of CUDO cubes on and then wrapped the waterproof membrane over the top of the CUDO system, just like wrapping a present. 

Given the forecasted rain for tomorrow, we decided to take a break and complete the installation on Thursday, December 31, 2009 (and finish early!).

The location of the underground CUDO cistern was staked and marked, and double cheded for accuracy.

The location of the underground CUDO cistern was staked and marked, and double cheded for accuracy. Note the stump under the 2x4 in the center of the photo.

To make the measuring easier and faster while we excavated, we used 16 ft studs and 8 ft studs to identify where we needed addtional excavating.

To make the measuring easier and faster while we excavated, we used 16 ft studs and 8 ft studs to identify where we needed addtional excavating.

This is the first dig at the stump, which must be removed so we can excavate for the CUDO underground cistern.

This is the first 'bite' at the stump, which must be removed so we can excavate for the CUDO underground cistern.

Jose is taking the second 'bite' at the stump, severing the root system on either side of the stump so he can remove it.

Jose is taking the second 'bite' at the stump, severing the root system on either side of the stump so he can remove it.

With the roots severed on each side, Jose was able to lift the stump and shake the dirt from the root system.

With the roots severed on each side, Jose was able to lift the stump and shake the dirt from the root system.

After starting 18 minutes ago, the stump is now sitting on the driveway.

After starting 18 minutes ago, the stump is now sitting on the driveway.

The frames for the modular CUDO system arrived so they could be unloaded and assembled on the Jose is taking the second 'bite' at the stump, severing the root system on either side of the stump so he can remove it.

The frames for the modular CUDO system arrived so they could be unloaded and assembled on the Jose is taking the second

With the stump gone, Jose started digging on each side of the hole, to the limits of where we needed to excavate.

With the stump gone, Jose started digging on each side of the hole, to the limits of where we needed to excavate.

Jose, operating the excavator, makes it look easy.  He was the operator that excavated the lower level in December 2008.

Jose, operating the excavator, makes it look easy. He was the operator that excavated the lower level in December 2008.

We measured the dimensions of the excavation periodically.

We measured the dimensions of the excavation periodically.

Doug Allard (left), Carlos Torres (center) and Gary Jones (right) with the assembled CUDO system on the street.

Doug Allard (left), Carlos Torres (center) and Gary Jones (right) with the assembled CUDO system on the street.

After the excavation was to the correct depth and dimensions, we put a layer of sand at the bottom to make a flat and level base for the CUDO frames.

After the excavation was to the correct depth and dimensions, we put a layer of sand at the bottom to make a flat and level base for the CUDO frames.

A surprise inspection!

A surprise inspection!

After the waterproof membrane was in place, we installed the two layers of 16 CUDO frames in each layer and then wrapped the waterproof fabric over the top.  This photo is looking South, towards Via Sereno.

After the waterproof membrane was in place, we installed the two layers of 16 CUDO frames in each layer and then wrapped the waterproof fabric over the top. This photo is looking South, towards Via Sereno.

This is the view looking North, towards the house.  The supply lines will go in the CUDO frame on the left and the pump will go in the CUDO frame on the right (so we can irrigate our landscaping with the water in our cistern).

This is the view looking North, towards the house. The supply lines will go in the CUDO frame on the left and the pump will go in the CUDO frame on the right (so we can irrigate our landscaping with the water in our cistern).

Ready to Excavate …

Monday, December 28th, 2009

We’re going to take advantage of a window of clear weather and do our best to get our underground CUDO cistern in place this week.  This is a major component of our site infrastructure that will require excavating over 45 cubic yards of material while it is being installed.

Engaging Toubar Equipment Company Inc.

We need to do the excavation quickly, accurately and safely.  When assessing which contractor could do this, we immediately thought of Toubar Equipment Company Inc.  Their operator, Jose, worked on our site for a week in December 2008 and excavated the lower level for us.  He was fantastic.

Bryan spoke with Charlie and they had the equipment available with Jose to operate it.

They mobilized the equipment this afternoon.

Even with the gate closed, everyone driving North on Winchester could see the excavator over the top of the fence.  We're going to do some digging!

Even with the gate closed, everyone driving North on Winchester could see the excavator over the top of the fence. We're going to do some digging!

Looking inside the fence, the excavator is certainly large enough to remove the stump and complete the project.  We believe it is always good to have a bit more machine than the minimum required (size matters).

Looking inside the fence, the excavator is certainly large enough to remove the stump and complete the project. We believe it is always good to have a bit more machine than the minimum required (size matters).

Confirming the Location of Our Underground Utilities

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

We’re trying to get our CUDO cistern installed next week so that item is completed and stroked off ‘the list’ (an achievement for 2009).  This will require excavating so we need to confirm where the underground utilities are located.  Call before you dig …

Harvesting Rainwater at 17509 Via Sereno for Irrigation

Our plan is to harvest 100% of the rainwater from our roof and just under 100% of the rainwater from our hardscape for irrigation (the water from the driveway will flow into a small swale).  The water will be stored in an underground CUDO cistern (with capacity of 3,677 gallons).  We will have a pump in the cistern that will be connected to our irrigation system so we will avoid using potable water for irrigation.

LEED Points

Our design will provide LEED points in a number of areas.  Under WE 1.1 Water Reuse, we will get 3 (of 4) points for harvesting rainwater for external use.  We cannot use water inside the house so we are giving up one point here.  Since our system is designed to harvest rainwater from 100% of the roof area, we are eligible for an additional point for Exemplary Performance.

Also, we will receive points under SS 4 Surface Water Management under Sustainable Sites.  Specifically, we will receive 3 of 4 points for having over 90% of the hardscape surface water going to a cistern (SS 4.1 Permeable Lot), 2 of 2 points for Management of Runoff from Roof (SS 4.4) since we installed permanent stormwater controls to manage runoff from the home and we had a professional engineer design our lot to manage runoff from our home on site.  

Consequently, our complete underground CUDO cistern system will result in 9 LEED points (of 136 possible points).

Underground Requirements

Once the underground CUDO cistern is full, any additional water will flow to the back of the storm drain in an underground 6-inch pipe.  This design was approved by the Town of Los Gatos (they own the storm drain) and the City of Monte Sereno.  Yes, we will require easements fro  m each municipality.

The 6-inch underground pipe needs clear access to the back of the storm drain and it will go under the sidewalk.  This is where we need clear access from other utilities.  All of the services on Via Sereno are underground so we need to ensure the cable TV (Comcast), telephone (Verizon), water and sewer (San Jose Water Company), electricity and natural gas (PG&E) and street lighting and not located where we will be digging.

So … we marked our excavation locations with white paint and called USA (Underground Service Alert) so they could visit the site and identify where all of the underground services are located.

White paint showing where we plan to excavate from the underground CUDO cistern, under the sidewalk, to the back of the storm drain.

White paint showing where we plan to excavate from the underground CUDO cistern, under the sidewalk, to the back of the storm drain.

We’re Clear to Dig!

We received notification that all of the service providers (Verizon, PG&E, etc.) had been to our site and marked the location of their underground services.  There are no underground services in the path from our underground CUDO cistern to the back of the storm drain – we’re clear to dig!

Our biggest concern was that there could be some underground utilities in the dirt strip between the curb and sidewalk, which would increase the depth of the excavation for the drain and require us to dig by hand.

The markings are on Winchester Boulevard so there is nothing in the dirt strip at the left.  We're good.

The markings are on Winchester Boulevard so there is nothing in the dirt strip at the left. We're good!

Markings on the curb and sidewalk.  Note the very faint marking by the light standard showing the power source is going toward the sidewalk and not into the path of where we need to dig.

Markings on the curb and sidewalk. Note the very faint marking by the light standard showing the power source is going toward the sidewalk and not into the path of where we need to dig.

Planning for the CUDO System

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

We believe strongly that water conservation is much more critical than most people recognize and water conservation will become equally as important as energy conservation.

To help reduce our water demands, we will use low volume plumbing fixtures and drought tolerant, native California species in our landscaping.  Importantly, we will have an underground cistern that will capture 100% of the rainwater that falls on our roof.

Rainwater Harvesting

Under the LEED-H guidelines, Water Efficient (WE) has three components:  Water Reuse (WE 1); Irrigation System (WE 2); and Indoor Water Use (WE 3).  At this point in our project, we need to ensure that the physical properties of our site will support our design (i.e., not constrain the elements in the design) so a cistern is critical.  The use of a cistern is covered under Water Reuse.

Water Reuse includes WE 1.1 Rainwater Harvesting System; and/or WE 1.2 Graywater Reuse System; or WE 1.3 Use of Municipal Recycled Water System.  There is a maximum of 5 points available in Water Reuse and up to 4 of those 5 points can be in WE 1.1 Rainwater Harvesting System.

We do not have a Municipal Recycled Water System and will not be utilizing a Graywater Reuse System; consequently, we need to focus on a Rainwater Harvesting System.

The design of our Rainwater Harvesting System will include 100% of our roof area and the cistern must be sized to hold all of the water from a 1-inch rainfall event.  Given our roof is 63’4″ by 63’3″ (almost a perfect squate), we have 4,006 sq ft of roof area.  For a 1-inch rainfall event, our roof will capture approximately 2,484 gallons of rainwater.

Cistern Requirements

Our property cannot support an above-ground cistern so we need to have a location for an underground cistern.  The swimming pool and existing trees at the back of the house limit our location to the front yard.  It would be great to have a cistern under our driveway but that would come at a significant cost.

Alternatively, we have some space at the East side of our front yard where we removed a Canary Island Pine tree.  Removing the stump will require an excavation, so it will make a feasible location for an underground cistern.  We will use the excavated soil to fill the remaining voids at the front of our house.

Our civil engineering team, from Bowman & Williams, were reviewing our alternatives and Casey Carlson recommended that we consider the CUDO System.  He was familiar with the CUDO System and though it could be integrated with our site easily.  We liked Casey’s design and recommendations.

CUDO System

The CUDO System is an innovative product that include 2×2 ft plastic cubes, which can be configured in a number of ways.  A bladder goes around the internal plastic cubes, creating the cistern.  The CUDO System could include a pump that can be connected to our irrigation system, thus reducing our water demands.

Given our space availability, Bownman & Williams recommended that we put in a CUDO System that is 4 cubes wide (8 ft) by 8 cubes long (16 ft) and 2 cubes deep, that is just over 24 inches below grade.  The underground cistern will have a capacity of 492 cubic ft, or 3,677 gallons.  This will allow our cistern to hold approximately 1.5 inches of rain.  Once the cistern is full, it will have three pipes to carry the overflow, via gravity, to our storm sewer.

The team from CUDO Stormwater Products, Inc. included Doug Allard, Ron Powers, Jon McDonald and Sue Lillo.  They tailored the design from Bowman & Williams and helped to establish the detailed specifications.

Site Visit by Sue Lillo

The sales representative for Northern California, Sue Lillo, was going to be in the area so we invited her to visit our site.  Bryan hosted her site visit and showed Sue the various features of the house.

Sue confirmed that the location would work and that she would ensure the product was available and delivered when we need it.

Sue Lilo, sales representative for Northern California, arrived at our job site and reviewed the features of our renovation project.

Sue Lilo, sales representative for Northern California, arrived at our job site and reviewed the features of our renovation project.

Sue standing on the stump, showing where the CUDO System will be located (below grade).

Sue standing on the stump, showing where the CUDO System will be located (below grade).