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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/9/2010

Pretty danged busy day today. If next week proceeds with the same energy, it'll probably be hard to recognize the house a few days hence!

Some of the crews have been doing more and more work on the weekends, particularly on Saturdays, as time grows shorter and we all know that colder weather will arrive eventually. Nobody really wants to be working outside when the temps drop to 35 degrees and so far we've been blessed with an awesomely mild fall, but it can't last forever--so we've definitely seen an increase in weekend hours as the crews hasten to get the job done.

First up today was Solar LeRoy, bringing a trailer laden with the solar panels we'd ordered. Tanglewood's main power comes from 30 Conergy 230-watt panels, a very good and capable unit that is generally well thought of in the solar industry. The fact that they came out of Denver (so they were local) was a big plus. Solar LeRoy had picked them up a couple of days ago and today brought them up to begin their installation on the solar piers we'd so laboriously installed a while back.

It wasn't quite clear how exactly to get the panels down to the site. The road is still all torn up from the power line trenching, and we couldn't drive the trailer up to near the site itself, so we had to carry each panel one at a time up the road a few hundred feet and then back down the hill to the site. It was exhausting work--a long haul uphill along a trench littered with rocks and loose gravel, carrying a relatively fragile panel that of course couldn't be dropped or even easily set down, lest they be scratched in some fashion. Both the front and the back sides of the panels have to be watched carefully--the front has the glass protective plate, and the back is covered with a protective sealing paint over the silicon cells themselves that works fine to keep weather away, but wouldn't fare so well against rocks and branches. It was exhausting work, and we ended up toting only about 6 of them up to the site (temporarily staging them on the solar-shed platform) before letting Solar LeRoy get to the business of wiring them up. By the end of the day he had four of the panels wired up in a nice, neat row, had changed his mind about how they were going to be linked together electrically, and had gotten enough experience with the whole thing that he felt the rest of them would go much faster.

Meanwhile, back at Tanglewood proper, two  important things were happening.  Well, really there were three--there was one drywall guy beginning to do some of the "fiddly bit" work involving lots of measuring and cutting and such that we didn't get any pictures of, because honestly it was hard to see what had gotten done over the course of the day. He's doing good work, mind you, but since he's doing so many weird little bits it took him a relatively long time to do what amounted to a very small area--very typical at this point in the drywall process, I'm told. I did not envy him his task, that's for sure!

The first "big" thing that happened was the delivery of the front door. The framing crew brought it up with them this morning and set out to install it straightaway--and it looks awesome! It's big and massive and seems to fit the "feel" of the room perfectly, and I think it's going to work out well. The door will eventually have massive squarish clavos (southwestern style nails) hammered in to give it a more "rustic" feel, but already I like the design and how the door carries the arch design from the windows... very nice. Once it's all properly stained (something dark to go with the stone) it should be fantastic. And even better--we can now close up the house! Yes!!!

After installing the door, the framing crew got started on the other big thing--the main-house fireplace. After having that big area open for so long to suddenly see something suddenly spring into existence, there was a bit of a shock, and what a shock! And I had no idea just how big this fireplace was going to be to be honestly, but now that the basic frame is up, it's suddenly apparent to me--this sucker is going to be huge!

I can't wait!  :)

Steven in Colorado Springs


Solar installation begins! Here you can see Solar LeRoy checking out the connections.
Smile for the camera! Nice work here.
The front door from just below the porch...
...and from inside the great room.
The main fireplace begins to take shape. Cool, huh?

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Posted by Mark in APO, AE on 11/13/2010

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Hey, Steve - This is all pretty exciting stuff. I've been following your project for a long time now, and I'm chomping at the bit to get started on my house, but I've still got a few years before that can happen.

I didn't see any mention of how the sheetrockers liked (or disliked) hanging their work on the ICF walls. Was this a challenge for them? Also, have you put up and lightning protection around the solar panels? It might be worth driving a couple of ground rods and raising up a couple aerials (maybe one near the top row and one near the bottom, or at the four corners) above the panels to keep any strikes away.

Posted by Mark in APO, AE on 11/14/2010

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Steve - I've had my mind made up for a long time to use ICF when we build, which is one of the reasons I was interested in your project. Things are moving very quickly now, but it seems like yesterday you were cleaning snow off the site. It would sure be nice if you could get the electrical system up and running before the first snow. Good luck!
Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/14/2010

Steven's Forum Posts: 89
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We should have the electrical up and running by Friday, in fact!  :)

Steven in Colorado Springs

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