Electrical: Plan Now for the Future Use

Example of an electrical service box for a modern custom home.A large expandable electrical main panel is an absolute requirement in modern home. One thing we’ve witnessed over the years in the custom home building industry, is the ever expanding usage of electric power. Get the reserve built in now; a change out of service panels is a huge expense later.

Today’s modern custom home is one built with a high demand on electricity, from lighting to heating to powering entertainment systems and computers. Building a home with a goal of net zero energy and giving back to the grid rather than taking means making decisions about the electrical demands from the beginning of the project, especially in the design stages.

One of my favorite things to do is change the personality of the structure, both in the interior, and the exterior by creative lighting. The variety of fixtures, with their reach, breadth, and intensity, and ability to vary those settings through the spectrum, gives one the ability to completely alter the invitation of the space. The basic lighted pathway through the home, plus the task lighting, plus the art high lighting illustrates the necessity plus the fun factor of lighting. I’ve had great pleasure in grazing the columns of masonry columns with strong beams of light emphasizing the rugged character of the stone.

Example of custom interior lighting around the masonary of a fireplace and an inside garden.I’m envisioning all these power demand sources, and my electrical panel must meet and grow with those demands over time, as the home evolves from the creation to building to living phases.

As I go through my electrical to-do list, I have to consider how to heat the home and its relationship to the demand on the main circuts now and in the future.

The most unique step forward for me is in heating this building with NuHeat subfloor electric powered mats underneath the composite manufactured hardwood floors. This is the main heat source, with its infinite ability to zone the interior space, plus efficiency is really stunning. We know from past experience the wood floor is stable under heat load, and the expansion and contraction is able to handle the on/off characteristic of the mats.

From the aspect of being an older adult, having warm feet is a particular joy for me. In the Pacific Northwest, having the heat elivered low into the room, and evenly, is ideal.

I think about warming my feet, about the lighting, then my thoughts turn towards the experiences of guests in my New Cottage in the Woods. I want their experience to be filled with the beautiful spirit of the place, a sense of warmth, both physically and spiritually.

This also includes helping them power all the portable electronics they bring with them on their visits. The planning stage is the time to ensure there are plenty of outlets readily accessible in all the rooms, especially the guest rooms, to make it easy for them to recharge and continue to be connected to the world outside of my isolated paradise.

Always think ahead, I keep telling myself. Better to put it in now before it is all covered with sheetrock.

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