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As part of my Karma Buying Process :) I'm also doing a home remodel. Actually, the remodel came first—in fact, I had intended to do some of this when I bought the house 9.5 years ago—but the garage changes in particular became necessary to hold a third, larger car. (I have one relatively small car, and my girlfriend has one very small car, though we can't put both in the garage at the moment due to it being cluttered-up with Other Stuff, but she still Wants Her Independence and has an apartment of her own anyway, so I have not had to clean it out yet. :D)

Anyway, now that I've had the architect and contractor and a structural engineer come look at the place, it turns out I have to basically knock down and completely rebuild the garage and den / extra-bedroom / office space (which I use as an office, but it's flexible, the problem is that it was just kind of shoddily slapped together probably 20 or 30 years ago over top of what used to be a carport, and the reason it gets so hot and cold in the summer and winter is that it's basically uninsulated, poorly constructed, and so on).

The remodel estimate is coming in at a bit more than 3x the price of the car ... and that was before today's discovery, that the whole back section needs to be demolished, new footings poured, and so on. So now I'm wondering if anyone has particular suggestions regarding garage space. The only particular thing I've suggested is a storage closet area for winter tires+wheels.

(Edit to add: the previous design was constrained by "expand in place", but if we are doing knock-down-rebuild there, we lose the constraints. Hence the question...)
 

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If the garage has a small footprint and you are into cars you may want to consider a high ceiling so you could add a lift later that would allow you to store twice as many cars.

BillyO
 

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Maybe one of these (the turntable, not the car) to make it easier to get out of the garage safely:



-- Fab.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Fabulist said:
Maybe one of these (the turntable, not the car) to make it easier to get out of the garage safely ...
That's actually fairly impressive! :D I wonder what something like that costs... It looks like it takes way too much space though.

(I was thinking more along the lines of sumps or undercarriage access systems or some such though.)
 

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ct-fiskerbuzz said:
Fabulist said:
Maybe one of these (the turntable, not the car) to make it easier to get out of the garage safely ...
That's actually fairly impressive! :D I wonder what something like that costs... It looks like it takes way too much space though.

(I was thinking more along the lines of sumps or undercarriage access systems or some such though.)
If you are thinking about those things then you would probably want to figure a built in air compressor and possibly a vacuum.

BillyO
 

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ct-fiskerbuzz said:
Fabulist said:
Maybe one of these (the turntable, not the car) to make it easier to get out of the garage safely ...
That's actually fairly impressive! :D I wonder what something like that costs.
If you click on the picture in my post, it will take you to the website I found. They claim:

Car, automobile and truck turntables start at $27,950 and include all drawings and schematics for contractor installation.
These things are popular among the very affluent San Francisco residents who have large homes sitting on steep hills (to capture the view) but who do not want to back their cars into steep narrow and busy side streets when they want to leave their house.

But on a serious note, one thing that is often lacking in garages is good lighting. If you plan to work on your cars, I would suggest getting a lighting designer involved and put up sufficient directed lighting (maybe get an old-school operating room lights from a place like this) to both highlight your cars and to light up the engines compartment when you have the hood open.

-- Fab.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fabulist said:
These things are popular among the very affluent San Francisco residents who have large homes sitting on steep hills (to capture the view) but who do not want to back their cars into steep narrow and busy side streets when they want to leave their house.
Not a problem here; the Salt Lake Valley is the bottom of what used to be Lake Bonneville 10,000 years ago, and hence relatively flat. :) (There are canyons with steep slopes and nice views, but I prefer the mountain view from the valley, plus the geology of those slopes is, shall we say, "not good", and if developers were not overriding geology reports via local government capture, nobody would be building on them.)
But on a serious note, one thing that is often lacking in garages is good lighting. If you plan to work on your cars, I would suggest getting a lighting designer involved and put up sufficient directed lighting (maybe get an old-school operating room lights from a place like this) to both highlight your cars and to light up the engines compartment when you have the hood open.
Hm. Probably not going to do an OR light (I already have a stand/hang style halogen for that sort of thing instead), but yes, it definitely needs good lighting.

I have an interior designer doing the kitchen layout (including lighting), I'll probably ask them to look at the garage lighting too.

Chris
(still waiting for news on my Laguna / Black Sand ES; the $5k deposit check cleared over the weekend)
 

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As far as the garage door goes I chose a fiberglass garage door that has the appearance of wood on the outside and is insulated. It's 2 years old now and looks as good as the day it was installed. I'd also recommend a lift with battery backup. I'm in an older neighborhood with overhead power lines and mature trees that make us prone to power outages and this has come in handy. If you are changing out the electric panel it's a good time to consider a backup generator too (or solar panels).

BillyO
 

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Discussion Starter #10
BillyO said:
As far as the garage door goes I chose a fiberglass garage door that has the appearance of wood on the outside and is insulated.
The architect and builder are looking for doors that go with the house architecture. This sort of limits the selection, unfortunately.

If you are changing out the electric panel it's a good time to consider a backup generator too (or solar panels).
I'd like to do solar PV but the cost is pretty badly overrunning my initial budget now. I may have to leave out the fancy home automation system, for instance. ;)
 

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BillyO said:
If you are changing out the electric panel it's a good time to consider a backup generator too (or solar panels).
I am not sure this is what @BillyO meant, but grid-tied solar panels cannot be used for backup power. Grid-tied inverters disconnect the panels if you lose grid power to prevent injury to power company personnel who may be working on the lines. Transformers work both ways, as the saying goes.

For backup power, you may want to consider a large battery+inverter setup rather than a generator. This avoids the need for storing fuel at home. Here is the one I am considering (I put in the transfer switch and the emergency power subpanel during a major remodel four years ago):



Best part is that you can buy it on Amazon.


-- Fab.[hr]
ct-fiskerbuzz said:
I'd like to do solar PV but the cost is pretty badly overrunning my initial budget now. I may have to leave out the fancy home automation system, for instance. ;)
Even if you are not putting in the solar panels right away, while the walls are open make sure you have a conduit installed to get the wires from the roof to the where the inverter is going to be installed. Otherwise, they will have to run the conduit on the outside of the house which is not very pretty.

-- Fab.
 

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Fabulist said:
BillyO said:
If you are changing out the electric panel it's a good time to consider a backup generator too (or solar panels).
I am not sure this is what @BillyO meant, but grid-tied solar panels cannot be used for backup power. Grid-tied inverters disconnect the panels if you lose grid power to prevent injury to power company personnel who may be working on the lines. Transformers work both ways, as the saying goes.

For backup power, you may want to consider a large battery+inverter setup rather than a generator. This avoids the need for storing fuel at home. Here is the one I am considering (I put in the transfer switch and the emergency power subpanel during a major remodel four years ago):



Best part is that you can buy it on Amazon.


-- Fab.[hr]
ct-fiskerbuzz said:
I'd like to do solar PV but the cost is pretty badly overrunning my initial budget now. I may have to leave out the fancy home automation system, for instance. ;)
Even if you are not putting in the solar panels right away, while the walls are open make sure you have a conduit installed to get the wires from the roof to the where the inverter is going to be installed. Otherwise, they will have to run the conduit on the outside of the house which is not very pretty.

-- Fab.
Fabulist, just wondering if the battery/inverter backup power you are talking about. Can the 21KWh Karma battery be used for such an emergency backup power for the house? v2h (vehicle to house) like v2g (vehicle to grid). All Karma needs is a DC output :)
 

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Sparky168 said:
Fabulist, just wondering if the battery/inverter backup power you are talking about. Can the 21KWh Karma battery be used for such an emergency backup power for the house? v2h (vehicle to house) like v2g (vehicle to grid). All Karma needs is a DC output :)
This may be of interest:

Nissan Leaf ‘can power your home’
 

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Wimbledon said:
Sparky168 said:
Fabulist, just wondering if the battery/inverter backup power you are talking about. Can the 21KWh Karma battery be used for such an emergency backup power for the house? v2h (vehicle to house) like v2g (vehicle to grid). All Karma needs is a DC output :)
This may be of interest:

Nissan Leaf ‘can power your home’
Exactly. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Interesting to see those numbers. At 10 kWh/day a Japanese home would use about 300 kWh in a month. (And of course 12 => 360.) In Calif, I got by with a "mere" 700 kWh/mo, now it's over 1000. :D (And I have gas heat and hot-water.)

A lot of this is for the computers of course. Most normal homes don't have to power a bunch of servers....
 

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Fabulist said:
BillyO said:
If you are changing out the electric panel it's a good time to consider a backup generator too (or solar panels).
I am not sure this is what @BillyO meant, but grid-tied solar panels cannot be used for backup power. Grid-tied inverters disconnect the panels if you lose grid power to prevent injury to power company personnel who may be working on the lines. Transformers work both ways, as the saying goes.

For backup power, you may want to consider a large battery+inverter setup rather than a generator. This avoids the need for storing fuel at home. Here is the one I am considering (I put in the transfer switch and the emergency power subpanel during a major remodel four years ago):



Best part is that you can buy it on Amazon.


-- Fab.[hr]
ct-fiskerbuzz said:
I'd like to do solar PV but the cost is pretty badly overrunning my initial budget now. I may have to leave out the fancy home automation system, for instance. ;)
Even if you are not putting in the solar panels right away, while the walls are open make sure you have a conduit installed to get the wires from the roof to the where the inverter is going to be installed. Otherwise, they will have to run the conduit on the outside of the house which is not very pretty.

-- Fab.
I have a 17 KW backup generator powered by natural gas so no need to store fuel. It's enough for the kitchen, master bedroom and one 4 ton AC.

BillyO
 

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You guys all are truly hard core. For backup power I have a few flashlights and all my wife's candles. Ok, ok, maybe a little natural gas too.
 

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Fabulist said:
BillyO said:
If you are changing out the electric panel it's a good time to consider a backup generator too (or solar panels).
I am not sure this is what @BillyO meant, but grid-tied solar panels cannot be used for backup power. Grid-tied inverters disconnect the panels if you lose grid power to prevent injury to power company personnel who may be working on the lines.
While this was true when I installed my PV array and backup generator in 2006, you can now get inverter systems that can connect to both the grid and to backup batteries. The inverter is smart enough to disconnect fully from the grid when it switches to battery power.

One supplier is SMA, which makes the Sunny Island inverters for systems that include (or are exclusively used with) batteries. See "Grid-interactive operation" on page 5 of this brochure for a description.

I also found this handy system sizer for grid-tie battery backup systems, although I am not familiar with this company or its products.

- Dennis
 

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Discussion Starter #19
dennis said:
While this was true when I installed my PV array and backup generator in 2006, you can now get inverter systems that can connect to both the grid and to backup batteries. The inverter is smart enough to disconnect fully from the grid when it switches to battery power.
Nice! Used to be you had to go with Trace/Xantrex for a dual-mode system.
 

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Sparky168 said:
Fabulist, just wondering if the battery/inverter backup power you are talking about. Can the 21KWh Karma battery be used for such an emergency backup power for the house? v2h (vehicle to house) like v2g (vehicle to grid). All Karma needs is a DC output :)
@Sparky: of course it can be but at 20KWH, it is not storing enough power. Some of these units can put out 3000W for up to 72 hours using relatively inexpensive truck batteries for storage. At that rate, the Fisker battery would last just under 7 hours. Unlike a mobile application, the emergency power system is a fixed installation and not as constrained by size or cooling issues as the power unit for a car, so you can scale up a lot easier using inexpensive Lead Acid batteries and don't need to spend the money on exotic chemistry or thermal control systems.

-- Fab.[hr]
dennis said:
While this was true when I installed my PV array and backup generator in 2006, you can now get inverter systems that can connect to both the grid and to backup batteries. The inverter is smart enough to disconnect fully from the grid when it switches to battery power.
@Dennis: I asked my PV contractor for a battery backup system and they basically refused to even consider it for a grid-tied system. That's why I had to find a solution that is agnostic about the power source. This actually turned out to be a blessing because I had more flexibility in where I could put the battery enclosure since I did not have extra space in my garage where the inverter is located.

-- Fab.
 
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