Structural Engineering and design consulting for existing home and for solar thermal
To create better daylighting in the home, a small door opening in a large bearing wall needed to be enlarged. Structural details were prepared indicating how to enlarge the opening and what size header would be required.
The client desired a living roof to encompass as much of the roof as was structurally possible
The loading of the new materials (saturated soils and plants) was determined, and the roof structure and the supporting walls were analyzed. Details were prepared to indicate how much of the roof could support the living roof without reinforcing the rafters or wall lintels.
It was discussed with client that installing a living roof on a single-family residential house adds a high percentage of loading to the building than what already exists. What this entails, is that the foundations for the building may not be able to handle such a change in loading. Reinforcement of the rafters, and wall lintels may be feasible, but to reinforce the building’s foundations would not be cost effective. If she were to not reinforce the foundations, the building could experience large or uneven settlements, which could create future damage to her home. She decided that the living roof was not worth the large investment and having a smaller number of potted plants would suffice.
As an alternative to a living roof, a solar thermal hot water system was designed to be placed on the roof. Since it was a flat roof the system entailed a ballast mounting. This solar thermal system generates all of the clients domestic hot water needs during the spring, summer and fall. In the winter, the system preheats a high efficiency gas boiler running hot water through radiant floor heating.
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