Posts Tagged ‘SIPs’

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).

Back in the U.S.A.

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

After a week in Argentina, we arrived back in the U.S.A. today.

While we had a great time in Argentina, it is good to be back at the job site to see how things are progressing.  And, to manage that progress.

After unpacking, Bryan did a quick tour of the job site and saw the progress that had been made this week.

The floor in the Kitchen is covered with water.  That is ok as we will have a roof very soon.

The floor in the Kitchen is covered with water. That is ok as we will have a roof very soon.

The posts are in place around the Atrium now.  There will be Simpson CCQs and ECCQs on the tops of each of the posts.

The posts are in place around the Atrium now. There will be Simpson CCQs and ECCQs on the tops of each of the posts; one ECCQ is in place over the 6x6 post in the center of the Atrium.

The South side of the North gable SIP roof is in place.  The North side will be completed this week.

The South side of the North gable SIP roof is in place. The North side will be completed this week.

Installing More Gable Roof SIPs

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

We’re in Argentina and the team from Earth Bound Homes have been taking photos to document their progress.

Gable roof, showing I-joist spline covered with mastic, ready for the adjacent SIP to be put into place.

Gable roof, showing I-joist spline covered with mastic, ready for the adjacent SIP to be put into place. Photo credit ? Francisco Espinoz.

Assembling Our First Gable SIP Roof

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

With the lower flat SIP roof and mid-level flat SIP roof completed, the team from Earth Bound Homes started to assemble the first gable roof.

The gable roofs have a 12:12 pitch so the angle at the peak of the roofs is 90 degrees.  We designed the SIP roof so one roof section is 12-1/2 inches longer than the other section, so the SIPs are not mitered, or split, in the center.  Other designs for such roofs use mitered connections.

At the base of each gable roof, we used rimboard with mitered ends.  The rimboard is fastened to the mid-level SIP roof and then the gable SIPs are attached to the mitered RM boards.  The top of the short gables have a 2×12 plate that the longer gables overlap with.  The overlapping gables are attached through to the structural ridge beam.

Structural details showing 2x12 in both the short SIP gable and long SIP gable.

Structural details showing 2x12 in both the short SIP gable and long SIP gable.

 

These two flush beams will be inside the mid-level flat SIP roof very soon.  The Living Room gable roof will be attached to the structrural beam on the left and the posts for the upper-level flat roof will be attached to the structural beam on the right.  Note the flush steel beam inside the SIP, which is supported by the steel post.

These two flush beams will be inside the mid-level flat SIP roof very soon. The Living Room gable roof will be attached to the structrural beam on the left and the posts for the upper-level flat roof will be attached to the structural beam on the right. Note the flush steel beam inside the SIP, which is supported by the steel post.

 

Ridge beam detail.  Note how the post supports the non-structural Douglas Fir beam from the original house, which is under the parastrand structrural beam, and these two beams have a continuous strap from one side of the post over the top to the other side of the post.  As well, there is a wide strap at the back, holding the structural beam and non-structrural beam to the post.  On top, we have a custom-milled triangular piece of wood that will support the two SIP roofs, which will connect at a 90 degree angle.

Ridge beam detail. Note how the post supports the non-structural Douglas Fir beam from the original house, which is under the parastrand structrural beam, and these two beams have a continuous strap from one side of the post over the top to the other side of the post. As well, there is a wide strap at the back, holding the structural beam and non-structrural beam to the post. On top, we have a custom-milled triangular piece of wood that will support the two SIP roofs, which will connect at a 90 degree angle.

 

Rimboard, with the ends cut off.  This rimboard will be connected to the mid-level flat roofs snd support the SIP gable roofs.

Rimboard, with the ends cut off. This rimboard will be connected to the mid-level flat roofs snd support the SIP gable roofs.

 

We used Simpson Column Caps (CCQs) to connect the posts to the structural beams.  The FSC-certified 2x6s formed the base of each of the SIP pony walls. around the Atrum.

We used Simpson Column Caps (CCQs) to connect the posts to the structural beams. The FSC-certified 2x6s formed the base of each of the SIP pony walls. around the Atrum.

 

Lifting the first SIP gable into place over the rimboard and ridge beam.

Lifting the first SIP gable into place over the rimboard and ridge beam.

 

First SIP gable in place over the Foyer.

First SIP gable in place over the Foyer.

 

Opposite end of first SIP gable.  Note the holes in the foam for the electrical chases.  Ultimately, the ends of these SIP gable roofs will have structrural LVL between the OSB and then the rakes will be covered with 2x fascia.  And, that will be covered with zinc.

Opposite end of first SIP gable. Note the holes in the foam for the electrical chases. Ultimately, the ends of these SIP gable roofs will have structrural LVL between the OSB and then the rakes will be covered with 2x fascia. And, that will be covered with zinc.

 

View from Via Sereno of first SIP gable in place.

View from Via Sereno of first SIP gable in place.

 

First SIP gable roof, showing open ridge detail  Note the holes for the chases that run vertically through the SIP roof.

First SIP gable roof, showing open ridge detail Note the holes for the chases that run vertically through the SIP roof.

 

First gable on opposite side.  This SIP gable is longer than the other SIP gable.  Note the 2x12 that is inside the first (shorter) SIP gable.

First gable on opposite side. This SIP gable is longer than the other SIP gable. Note the 2x12 that is inside the first (shorter) SIP gable.

 

Posts over Dining Room and Kitchen.  We need to put the Douglas Fir beams and structural beams in place over these posts next.

Posts over Dining Room and Kitchen. We need to put the Douglas Fir beams and structural beams in place over these posts next.

Staying on Track

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Our project is complex and we’re doing our best to stay on track. 

However, our non-maleable building materials (i.e., concrete, glass and steel) make it difficult to correct mistakes or make other changes and, consequently, we’re taking more time and money than we had planned for this project.  That said, a LEED-H Platinum project, by definition, requires more thoughtful planning, material sourcing and handling, and documentation than otherwise.  Especially in an earthquake prone location with increasing seismic conditions.

So, comparing our budget, timeline and other elements to traditional projects, which are generally energy- and resource-intensive, is not appropriate.  But, no surprise, that comparison, and evaluation of our project management, is done by others every day. 

If we were using traditional building materials with traditional construction methods (i.e., stick framing, wooden floor joists and roof rafters, baseboards and door trim) then we should be on a much faster timeline and a lower budget.

We just need to get over it.

Assembling the Lower-Level Flat Roof

Around the entire perimeter of the house is the ‘lower-level flat roof’.  The ceiling height of this roof is identical to the existing house at 96 inches (8 ft).  The only exception to this is the roof at the back of the house, which sits above the lower-flat roof, which we call the ‘mid-level flat roof’.  Yesterday, the entire perimeter roof was completed as the mid-level flat roof connecting the Dining Room and Kate’s Bedroom was assembled.

Way cool.

Steel Flush Beam in SIP Roof

There is only one steel beam in our SIP roof and it is a flush beam that is hidden inside a SIP.  This is a critical beam that supports the upper-level flat roof over the Atrium and allows us to have only one post in the Kitchen area.  And, of course, have an extremely strong structure that meets the new code requirements for seismic conditions.

This steel flush beam sits on top of a lower-level roof SIP over the Garage and goes over the steel post in the Kitchen and is connected to a 7.00 x 11.25 inch Paralam beam that sits on the 8×12 Douglas Fir drop beam.  This steel beam will carry lateral forces into the concrete wall in the Garage so it must be connected robustly to that concrete wall.

The fabrication of the steel beam must include:

  • 5/8 inch Nelson studs to attach 2×6 nailers on the top and bottom;
  • a hole in the top and bottom flange to connect the beam to a 5/8-inch anchor bolt that is embedded in the concrete wall;
  • a Simpson GLT welded to the north end of the steel beam to connect it to the 7.00 x 11.25 Paralam flush beam;
  • two sets of 5/16 inch stiffeners welded in the locations where there are vertical loads (i.e., over the concrete wall and over the steel column);
  • four sets of plates welded to the flanges of the steel beam to connect to the 4×6 and 6×6 posts that support the upper-level flat roof; and
  • four bolts connecting the steel beam to the HSS 4×4 steel column in the Kitchen.

The steel beam must be the correct length and each of the components noted above must be in the correct locations.  Yeah, there is a lot going on with this steel beam.

Hosting Thien Doan’s Site Visit

Duquette Engineering designed the concrete foundation for the structure and Thien Doan did most of the work under Steve Duquette’s supervision.  Thien was at our project site numerous times observing the drilling of the holes for our concrete piers as well as the placement of the reinforcing steel (rebar) in the concrete slabs. 

When Steve Duquette attended our integrated project planning meeting on March 9, 2010, he said that he would like Thien to come by at this interim point in the project and take some pictures.

Thien came to the site today and walked the property with Bryan.  Thien was most interested in the SIPs and how the SIP wall and roof assembly was designed to transfer the shear forces to the concrete foundation walls.  Thien appeared impressed with the design and the construction, noting that there would probably be limited cracking of the sheet rock in the house during an 8.8 earthquake.

Reviewing the Shop Drawings for the Steel Beam with Larson Steel

Bryan drove to Larson Steel’s fabrication shop in Gilroy and met with William Zapeda to go over the measurements they took on Friday, March 19, prior to fabrication of the W8x18 steel beam.  They went over each of the measurements, noting one key area where Bryan needs to confirm with the lead framer from Earth Bound Homes, Francisco Espinoz.

William and Bryan went in the yard and reviewed the actual W8x18 steel beam and measured it.  The beam was a beautiful blue color, which is exactly what we would like the exposed steel beams and two steel columns to look like.

Finding Curb Damage in Los Gatos

The City of Monte Sereno requested that we have three 1-1/2 inch pipes carrying our excess water from our underground cistern to the curb on Winchester Boulevard, where it would then flow into the storm drain.  The engineers from the Town of Los Gatos did not like this design and requested that we connect our underground cistern with an 8-inch pipe connecting directly to the back of the storm drain.

They cited potential damage and maintenance issues as the reasons for requesting this change.  Today, Bryan saw a location where the 1-1/2 inch drain went though a concrete curb and had subsequent cracking and damage. 

Now, we can appreciate the request for a direct connection.

ArchiCAD rendering showing the W8x18 steel beam and the lower-level SIP roof.

ArchiCAD rendering showing the W8x18 steel beam and the lower-level SIP roof.

ArchiCAD rendering showing steel beam and posts supporting the upper-level flat roof structure.

ArchiCAD rendering showing steel beam and posts supporting the upper-level flat roof structure.

Mid-level flat roof at the back of the house.  This is where the three sliding glass panel doors will be located, which will go into a pocket behind the exposed concrete feature wall at the left of this photo (the Dining Room wall).

Mid-level flat roof at the back of the house. This is where the three sliding glass panel doors will be located, which will go into a pocket behind the exposed concrete feature wall at the left of this photo (the Dining Room wall).

View from the middle of swimming pool to the front door, showing the mid-level SIP roof that was assembled yesterday.

View from the middle of swimming pool to the front door, showing the mid-level SIP roof that was assembled yesterday.

Thien Doan, from Duquette Engineering, on the lower-flat roof over the Garage.

Thien Doan, from Duquette Engineering, on the lower-flat roof over the Garage.

View of Master Study and Master Bedroom showing completed 2x4 wall under 6x10 beam in Foyer and pony walls ready to receive the posts and ridge beams to support the SIP gable roof.

View of Master Study and Master Bedroom showing completed 2x4 wall under 6x10 beam in Foyer and pony walls ready to receive the posts and ridge beams to support the SIP gable roof.

Thien taking photos of the SIP roof structure.

Thien taking photos of the SIP roof structure.

Simpson Strong Tie HTT22 connecting the 6x6 post to the hollow core concrete panels.  Solid.

Simpson Strong Tie HTT22 connecting the 6x6 post to the hollow core concrete panels. Solid.

LPT4s in the Master Bedroom, reinforcing the SIP walls to the 6x10 flush beams in the SIP roof structure.

LPT4s in the Master Bedroom, reinforcing the SIP walls to the 6x10 flush beams in the SIP roof structure.

Exposed feature concrete wall at the back of the house, showing the space for the pocket that will hold the three sliding glass panels.  Note that we will be adding a drop beam under the mid-level flat roof.

Exposed feature concrete wall at the back of the house, showing the space for the pocket that will hold the three sliding glass panels. Note that we will be adding a drop beam under the mid-level flat roof.

Measuring the profile of the W8x18 steel beam in Larson Steel's yard in Gilroy.

Measuring the profile of the W8x18 steel beam in Larson Steel's yard in Gilroy

The W8x18 beam is 5-1/4 inches wide.

The W8x18 beam is 5-1/4 inches wide.

We like the blue color of the steel and are considering having all of the exposed structural steel in the house finished in gun-metal steel blue.

We like the blue color of the steel and are considering having all of the exposed structural steel in the house finished in gun-metal steel blue.

Concrete curb in Los Gatos, showing damage caused by the 1-1/2 inch pipe going through the curb.

Concrete curb in Los Gatos, showing damage caused by the 1-1/2 inch pipe going through the curb.

At the end of each day, Jo-Anne does her best to drop by and review our progress.  With the longer days and the time change, it is easier for her to do so.  And, it is always good to see her smiling!

At the end of each day, Jo-Anne does her best to drop by and review our progress. With the longer days and the time change, it is easier for her to do so. And, it is always good to see her smiling!