Monday, February 13, 2012

Week 6, Winter 2012

I wanted to give an update as to what is happening with the Zero Energy House. We are now six weeks into winter quarter and it has taken all that time to get the parts and pieces together in order to move forward.

We are limited by a 60 amp electrical service to the house so all the big loads (heat, hot water, and kitchen range), have been switched to natural gas. This took a little coordination and cooperation from sponsors but Weirs appliance and Best Choice Heating were happy to help.The electrical conduit is in the ground and covered, allowing us to run the wire from building 5 to 5a (the Zero Energy House). The roof mount for the solar PV system has been started and we should have the solar modules on the roof sometime in week seven. Brad Burkhartzmeyer of Sun’s Eye Power has been instrumental in guiding us through the solar system process and helping with permits. 

The furnace and ducting was installed this week by Best Choice Heating. This deserves special mention because the install was done at no charge. The owner of the company, Rhoan Hursh, believes so highly in the concept of green building that he has donated the install to the project. In fact the install is being done by a former student, Erik Mulholland, of the HVAC program here on campus.

If you have seen the house this week you have noticed that it has changed colors, it is no longer yellow. It is now light brown on the body and dark brown on the gable and the clearstory. The colors were chosen by the students in the Interior Design program and make the house blend with the rest of campus. Sunny Houser and her students have done a great job. The trim will be painted white as soon as we get another weather window.

The low-voltage wiring in the house is being headed-up by a student in the Electrical/Fire Security program, Fred Kincaid. He is doing a great job, we are planning for security, cameras, internet, sound, projection, television, and light controls that adjust as the sunlight from outside changes.

If this wasn’t enough, I have had the assistance of one very outstanding student that has redrawn the plan to obtain a plumbing permit, assisted with the solar hot water design, and gone way out of his way to help with the acquisition of all the plumbing for the radiant heat floors and the plumbing supply and drain in the house. This student is in Dean Lamb’s Architectural Engineering program and his name is Dan Woodard. Dan Woodard’s input has been instrumental in keeping the project on track to meeting the construction goals this quarter.  

Well, this has ended up being quite long but I thought people should know what is happening with the project. It has been a lot of work but it is giving students a chance to show off their skills and it will be something to be proud of in the future.

Good bye and good building,
Dan Smith

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