Practice English Speaking&Listening with: This Old House | Energy Saving Installations (S40 E12) | FULL EPISODE

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Kevin: Today on "This Old House"...

Richard: Our solar panels start generating electricity today.

Jenn: It's a mad scramble to get this entire landscape installed.

Kevin: And our homeowners get an introduction to induction.

Kevin: What happened to all this plumbing here?

Richard: I've never seen anything like this before.

Roger: There's already rot going on in that trunk.

Kevin: So what have you found up here?

Tom: Well, a bit of a surprise.

Richard: It's really the classic plumber's lament.

Kevin: Nice!

Don: See this main roof form?

We're just gonna pull that forward

till it's even where this existing deck is.

Kevin: Definitely says "mid-century modern."

Tom: The money's in the detail.

Richard: That is beautiful.

Kevin: Hey. Good morning, men.

Man: Hey, Kevin. Kevin: Hi, there.

I'm Kevin O'Connor, and welcome back to "This Old House"

here in Jamestown, Rhode Island,

in what was once our little run-down bungalow

from the 1920s.

Well, today, it is a beehive of activity

as we try to get it wrapped up by next week.

You can see the painters are on-site.

We have got some slate

going around our gas fireplace right there.

We've got the beautiful accent wall over here.

Chris, how are you? Chris: I'm good.

Kevin: We've got the railing going in

to match the white oak detail right here,

and if you just pop into this room,

this is sort of a little private space.

It's going to be a television sitting room,

sort of a sanctuary away from the main house,

dark colors to kind of bring you down a little bit.

And then as you come out of the living space,

it's up a couple of stairs into a beautiful kitchen.

And you can see that it's pretty far along.

Dana: Wow.

Kevin: We've got countertops and cabinets in.

Dana, how are you? Dana: I'm great.

How are you, Kevin? Kevin: I'm very well.

And in addition to

the countertops and counters, cabinets,

we've got the appliances coming in today.

Dana: That's right, and we're so lucky to have Will,

a chef from Puritan & Company in Cambridge...

Kevin: Will, nice to meet you. Will: Nice to meet you.

Kevin: Terrific. Dana: ...down to teach us

how to use this beautiful induction stove.

Kevin: All right, well, I'm looking forward to that.

But first, how did you end up

with the decision to go with induction?

Dana: Well, we're making electricity right here

on the roof of the barn. Kevin: Yes.

Dana: So we want to use electricity

for all of our appliances.

And as part of a net-zero house,

this is the most energy-efficient option.

Kevin: Cool. All right.

I thought maybe you'd bought it because it came with a chef.

Dana: We wish that it did.

Kevin: So, Will, tell us about induction.

Just give us the basics, sort of,

as how this thing is working

because it's kind of magic, right?

I don't see a flame,

and oftentimes I don't even feel the heat.

Will: Yeah, so, I mean, induction in itself,

you know, starts off with magnets.

I mean, that's kind of the base science of it.

And when you're choosing your cookware

to be able to go on top of it, you have to choose something

where, you know, a magnet will actually stick to it.

So you look at this pan right here,

magnet is not really doing anything.

But you look at this guy right here,

and boom.

Kevin: So pots that are, say,

like, aluminum or copper... Will: Yeah.

Kevin: Those aren't going to work?

Will: They're not going to work.

So you got to choose, you know, the right pots.

And, you know, nowadays this is a little bit more prevalent

in home kitchens, so, you know...

you know, manufacturers of different pots and pans

are actually making induction lines...

Kevin: Right.

Will: that you can be ready for it.

But the really kind of -- my favorite part

of cooking on induction is the magnets,

the way that they heat this.

This pot of water, we can boil in less than 5 minutes.

Kevin: Let's turn this thing on and get it going while we talk.

Will: So let's get it cranking.

So this guy right here,

we're going to do the crank all the way,

and if we hold it,

take it to the absolute top setting

that we have right there...

Kevin: So this is the indicator right here

that that one is on?

Will: Yep. Kevin: Okay.

Will: And so you can see already in the bottom of that pot

there's these little bubbles starting right there,

which is usually, you know,

on a normal gas or electric stove,

that's going to take you, you know, 7 minutes

just to get to that part of it.

Kevin: So what's going on underneath that pot right there?

What is actually being created that causes the heat?

Will: So it's really basically the connectivity

of the electricity and the magnets

which is going to kind of hyperboil and hyperheat

the molecules in here.

And actually what I think is the best part --

and, you know, we're not at a full boil here yet

but you can actually slide this right off...

Kevin: That's ridiculous. Will: Put your hands.

Dana: Wow. Will: So you got kids at home,

you know, worried about somebody reaching up here,

they want to get involved in the cooking,

you can put your hand pretty much right on top of that...

Kevin: I can feel some heat.

Will: You can feel some residual heat that's coming from that

but nothing, like -- I mean, look at it.

It's on... Kevin: Right.

Will: ...but you can put your hand right on top and nothing.

Kevin: And not source heat. Wow, that is very cool.

Will: When you put it right back on,

you can see that change right up.

Tells you that it's back on the highest setting

and good to go. Dana: Oh, that's...

Kevin: So you like it, Dana, because we're talking...

It's going to help us with net-zero,

the efficiency. Dana: Right.

Kevin: You love the speed. Will: Yeah.

Kevin: Do we have any sort of health issues to worry about,

anything you're concerned with? Will: No.

I mean, I think the, you know, for me as a chef, you know,

speed is going to be the number-one factor

of being able to get things, you know, really, really hot.

But secondly --

I mean, one of the things we're going to do today

is poach some eggs --

is controlling heat.

So it's not just about flicking it on,

taking it all the way to the top,

you know, full max all the time.

It's about being able to keep, you know,

whatever water you have here

for more delicate things like poaching eggs

at just the right temperature.

And with these settings right here,

you can dial it right in and you're good to go.

Kevin: So speed and position, and I am good to go.

What are you cooking for us because we got a meal

coming our way, right? Will: Yeah.

We're going to actually do, like, a little brunch pasta.

So we've got some -- basically carbonara with asparagus.

So we'll have some bacon, some eggs,

a little bit of Parmesan cheese, asparagus,

and I think this will be a nice little thing

to top off with some poached eggs.

Kevin: You had me at bacon. Let's go.

Will: Got our boiling water ready to go.

We're going to add our pasta in here.

You know, I like to leave it whole,

and then as soon as this starts cooking,

you're just going to push this down.

You can already see the noodles starting to go down

just like that.

I like a nice, long noodle when I'm eating a pasta dish,

so, you know, none of these little short, stubby guys.

Will: Yeah. Who doesn't like a long noodle?

Will: Exactly.

So, you know, you can see that, like, you know,

any time you add anything to boiling water,

it usually takes a really long time

for there to be recovery. Dana: Okay.

Will: So in this case what we're doing is, you know,

on top of the induction, the recovery is so much faster.

So this is already back up and boiling again.

So while we're waiting on that,

it's going to be about 10 minutes in there.

Now really, if you think about

how fast the induction is bringing the water to a boil,

it's not actually going to cook the food in there any faster.

So it's not like a microwave technology,

it's just actually for how it heats everything on there.

So this isn't going to change any cooking times.

If you're reading on, like, the back of a label

or anything like that or a recipe and it says that,

whether it's the, you know, inside or it's the top,

cooking time is going to be just the same.

The amount of time it takes

to get your pan hot or your food hot,

that's different.

Dana: Okay.

Will: Take our bacon right here.

We're not going to add any oil, butter,

anything like that in there

because bacon is going to render out.

So really what we want to do is make sure that the bacon

starts the release the fat that's inside of it.

We've got our cut asparagus,

and you can sub this in for any vegetable you like.

Then you just take your egg, lower it down in there.

See all that starts coming off the bottom?

That's what's going to give you a lot of flavor in here.

It's been about, you know, 10 minutes on our pasta here.

Kevin: All right, guys.

Will: Some cheese in there in the middle, guys.

Kevin: Moment of truth.

Everybody dig in.

Get that egg mixed up here into the whole equation.

Dana: I'm going to take some cheese.

Boy #1: It was actually really good.

Dana: What do you think?

Kevin: What do you think, guys? Good?

Boy #1: Yeah.

Kevin: Very delicious.

First meal in the Powers' new house, huh?

How does that feel, Dana? All right?

Get you excited for next week?

Dana: Setting the bar high.

This is great, really great.

Will: So I come with the house now, right?

Is that how this works? Dana: Yes, yes. Mm-hmm.

I hope you're okay with that.

[ Laughter ]

Will: I'll check with my wife.

Enjoy the kitchen.

Richard: For months, we've been talking about

our solar electric system,

the photovoltaic here at our net-zero house in Jamestown.

Well, today is installation day.

Dan Garrity is heading up our crew

that's been very busy installing solar.

Watch out, Dan. Good morning.

Dan: Hey, Richard. How are you?

Richard: You ready to go today?

Dan: We're here. Today is install day.

Richard: All right. Awesome.

So take us through, what have you done so far?

Dan: All right. So far we've put the skirt down.

We've put the mounts up, and we ran some conduits,

and now we're getting the panels prepped,

ready to lay them down on the roof.

Richard: So this is one of the mounts here?

Dan: Yes. Richard: So we're sitting here,

what, a mile from the ocean.

The wind can get pretty strong.

This will hold them onto the roof?

Dan: That's right.

This right here is going to torque down onto the panels,

and this right here is going to...

This is a lag that's going to go into the rafters

to make sure it doesn't pull off.

Richard: And really get a good bind.

Dan: So we put this through here,

and once we put everything in, it's a watertight finish.

Richard: So this flash is going to sit

underneath the shingles we see right here?

Dan: We're going to lift up the shingles and slide it in.

Richard: All right. Good. So that won't leak.

Now I noticed that the wood shingles

don't go the whole way.

Dan: Right.

So this racking systems,

it's meant for asphalt shingles.

The home has cedar shingles.

They want to continue that theme,

so everywhere that you're not going to see solar panels,

they put some cedar singles around it.

Richard: And why pay for the cedar shingles

if you never see them ever in its life?

Dan: Exactly. Richard: Great idea.

All right, so you're up there on the roof

with a safety harness.

I'm glad to see that.

Dan: We've got our mounts in right now.

Let's run through an example of how a mount is installed.

Richard: Okay. Dan: All righty.

So on the CAD, we know where each mount has to be.

We're going to find a rafter right now.

We'll do a little sound test, send her through,

put a pilot hole in.

We're going to pull up this shingle right here,

slide this through.

We've got some sealant on it.

Richard: You do some caulking or something here?

Dan: Yeah, underneath.

And now here's our lag.

We're going to impact that down...

Richard: Right down, right down into the rafter.


Dan: So this is the panel prep process.

Richard: All right.

Dan: This is the back of a panel here.

This is an optimizer. Richard: What's that do?

Dan: Optimizer is basically the brain of the panel,

so that communicates with the inverter.

Back before we had optimizers,

say if the shade went over a panel,

the panel wasn't producing,

the entire string would not produce.

Richard: Like knocking out one light

in a string of Christmas lights.

Dan: Exactly. Richard: Okay.

Dan: So now it's the brain.

It's just going to balance all of the panel production.

Richard: That's an important part.

Dan: so now we're ready to put these up on the roof.

Richard: Good.

So are these panels all going to be connected one to another?

Dan: Yeah.

So you see we've prepped all the leads right now.

You connect one end to the other,

and it's just one big, long string.

Richard: One big series.

What we're seeing on the roof, we've seen before.

This is a solar cell used in the RV industry, a simple cell.

And the little silica chips right in here

when the sun's rays come down onto it,

it excites electrons,

and that's sent out as direct current here,

and that's the kind you'd use with a battery.

So when the sun is out, we can make electricity.

It's a pretty cool miracle.

All right.

So all of our panels are connected.

Is this the moment of truth?

Dan: Everything is on right now. Switch is on.

Solar is happening. Richard: Okay.

Dan: So we have -- This is an inverter,

and this is going to invert DC power into AC power.

So you have the DC power coming in.

Coming out is AC power,

and any excess power that the house is going to be using

is going to be dispersed back into the grid.

Richard: All right.

Dan: So what are we making on a day like today?

Richard: It is a sunny day right now, cranking.

We're about 4,000 watts.

Richard: So about 4,000 watts

would more than carry all of our air conditioning load

and much of the house.

I can't wait to actually cool the house for free

and make that meter spin backwards.

Dan: Exactly. Richard: Great job.

Dan: Yep. Thank you.

Kevin: Our homeowner put a lot of thought

into the details on his porches,

from these rafter tails that are just decorative

to the flared columns here that he designed himself.

And today, we have one more detail

that needs to be addressed.

Hey, Jeff.

Jeff: Kevin! How are you?

Kevin: All right.

So we've got three porches on this house,

and they all need lattice. Jeff: Yep.

Kevin: And you and Don are of like mind.

You do not like what's out there traditionally available.

Jeff: Right.

Yeah, I mean, this is kind of the standard order here.

You can really go square or diagonal

in the world of lattice,

and we like to do something a little different

with every house.

So I encouraged Don to come up with a pattern

that was sort of indicative of the theme of the house.

Kevin: Yep. Jeff: So he did a hand sketch,

a little conceptual design with some vine-y type of thing.

And we took that to our friends that have a CNC table,

and we converted that schematic into an AutoCAD drawing,

and that in turn talks to the CNC machine

to cut out our pattern.

Kevin: And what's that cut-out process like?

Jeff: So the CNC machine

picks up a series of drill bits, basically,

and brings it over.

And it starts with a larger bit

and takes out the bulk of the material,

goes through the whole process.

Then it comes back to the next size bit,

cleans up a little bit more,

and then gets a fine bit to get all of the finishing touches.

It's really amazing to watch.

Kevin: And so what was the material

that you cut the pattern out of?

Jeff: So we chose a 1/2-inch MDO plywood which is waterproof,

and that way we could paint it black

to match the rest of the trim.

Kevin: Well, I mean, it is not hard to improve

on the basic choices that are on the shelves these days.

But I'm dying to see what your improvements ended up as.

Jeff: Yeah.

So this is what we came up with.

Kevin: Oh, yeah. Jeff: Is that awesome or what?

Kevin: That is great.

So there's that vine theme you're talking about.

Jeff: Yep. Kevin: And speaking of detail,

I mean, look at that.

A little bit of a V-groove there

to give the illusion of the end of the vine,

chamfered edges,

nice and smooth and crisp throughout.

Jeff: Yep. Kevin: That's really sweet.

Jeff: Yeah. It's cool, huh?

Kevin: And this is the MDO? Jeff: This is the MDO.

Half-inch MDO, so it's a waterproof material,

and then 1-by-4 primed radiata pine on top,

and that gets painted black.

Kevin: And you just make as many panels as you need

to fill in underneath all of the porches.

Jeff: Exactly.

Kevin: You've got a little PT frame.

So what's the idea there?

We're just going to put it right up here?

Jeff: Yeah, so that goes right up against that one.

Kevin: How classy does that look, huh?

Can we get this in right now?

Jeff: We can put it right in.

All right, so, we're going to put this in

with stainless steel screws

with finishing washers.

That way if you have to take it off,

you can get access to it.

Kevin: That's pretty smart.

[ Drill whirs ]

Before you set that second one, Jeff,

if you'll just tap it to me a little bit...

Jeff: The bottom? Kevin: I'm flush.

Bottom to me. Yep.

[ Hammer tapping ]

A touch more.

Nice. That's it.

[ Whirring ]

Jeff: Okay.

Kevin: Let me get that for a second.

Thank you.

[ Whirring ]

[ Whirring ]

All right, Nothing to it, huh?

Jeff: Yeah.

Kevin: And so we've got enough panels

for all three porches, obviously.

Jeff: Yep.

They're going to go all the way around.

Kevin: Love the black, love the little shadow lines

that are created,

a huge improvement over just a stock lattice.

Boy, Don's going to be happy with that.

Jeff: Yeah.

Richard: This is about the time in the project

where I always want to remind people

about the importance of ventilation.

You can't insulate if you don't ventilate.

How are you going to replace all the air in this building

that you've spent so much money to heat and cool

without wasting energy?

Remember what we went through to insulate this house

to meet its net-zero energy goal.

We have layer upon layer of insulation and air barriers,

making the house incredibly tight.

But when you turn on a bathroom fan

or a kitchen-range hood,

where is that air going to come from?

This is an energy recovery ventilator,

also called an ERV.

Now this unit would mount in the attic or in the basement,

and what happens inside is pretty interesting.

It has an important piece right here called the core.

If you look at it, close-up,

it's got air passageways that can go this way

or in this way, in the opposing direction,

and it'll actually transfer both temperature and humidity.

This surface is actually permeable to water.

So in this house, we're going to take air

from the bathrooms, the kitchens,

or places where there might be smells or contaminated air

and pull it through this heat exchanger right here

sending it to outside.

But at the very same time,

there's another fan bringing fresh air

in the opposite direction across the core

to inside the building.

Now this transfer is pretty interesting.

Let's take a winter day.

You got 75-degree air leaving the building,

but you've got 32-degree air coming into the building.

Well, it'll actually pick up some of that temperature

that you would have sent to outside,

and you can get the fresh air coming in

up to about 59 or 60 degrees.

You're not going to get it all, but you're going to get

most of that heat you paid for.

The other thing that happens is humidity can be transferred.

High humidity goes to low.

You wouldn't want to have the humid air

that you have inside the building in the winter

that you've tried to get humid

and have really dry air from outside come in.

You want to keep that humidity in the building,

and that does that.

So what I've done to help understand

how this passes through

is do a sort of a fun test

to show you how the air might pass through the core

in opposing directions.

So what I've got is a couple of smoke sticks.

What you'll see is that the air passes by each other

but doesn't mix.

Here's red.

Here's blue.

The red's leaving over here.

The blue's right here.

They don't mix,

but they do transfer temperature and humidity,

and it's critically important

to have both of those things right

in any supertight house like this, a net-zero.

Jenn: So Jeff has finally released the yard

to the landscaper,

and he has a lot to do

before the homeowners move in.

Hey, Jon. Jon: Hey, Jenn.

How's it going? Jenn: Good.

How are you doing? Jon: Pretty good, thanks.

Jenn: So what's going on over here?

Jon: Over here, we're laying some black river limestone.

It's a new product that we haven't worked with before.

So we're following the manufacturer's recommendation

for the installation method

which is a little different than what we're accustomed to.

Jenn: Because typically we go dry-laid bed, right?

Jon: Right.

Normally we'd have gravel and sand,

and then we would lay these dry which means without the mortar.

But in this case, we have this fabric here

underneath the entire hole,

and what this does is it sort of wraps everything together,

helps it to move with the freeze/thaw cycle

here in New England.

And then we have some crushed stone as a base

which is a little muddy today because we've had some rain.

And after the crushed stone, we have a mortar-setting bed

which is 3-to-1 sand to type-2 cement mortar.

And the process over here right behind you

is to then paint the bottom of the stone

with this ARDEX product

which is a sealer and a bonding agent,

and that would just get applied right to the stone.

And after this is all done and all coated,

the guys would take it, flip it over, set it in place.

They would tap it, make sure it's level,

make sure the pitch is correct.

Jenn: It looks beautiful.

I mean, I really love the color of the stone, too.

Jon: Yeah. It's a little dirty today.

But when it's clean, it should be great.

Jenn, here we have more hardscape going on.

Jenn: I really love how the black plays off

all the other black.

I like the arbor coming in with the picket fence

and all these perennials.

Jon: Yeah. There's Annabelle hydrangea.

Jenn: Which are awesome for snow cover

because it'll go dormant during the winter.

Jon: Right, and some ornamental grasses here,

a nice styrax tree. Jenn: Mm-hmm.

Jon: And here we have the crew finishing up

with one privet left to install.

Jenn: To finalize a hedge. Jon: Yeah.

This is a hedge we moved earlier.

It lived where this fence was...

Jenn: Mm-hmm.

Jon: ...but changed the landscape.

We transplanted the hedge down the road,

and now we're putting this last privet in

to complete the hedgerow. Jenn: Okay.

So we're going to take off the burlap.

Jon: Then we backfill. Jenn: Okay.

Jon: And they're careful to make sure

that the top of the plant

is even with the grade around it.

Jenn: Right, so it's perfectly planted and level.

Jon: Yeah.

And then you want to water it deeply.

You want to let the water drain out

so the air can get to the roots.

It's actually easier to kill a plant by overwatering it...

Jenn: Overwatering. Exactly. Jon: Exactly...

than underwatering, and that's a common fallacy.

Over here, Jenn, we have tucked in this bed

the irrigation well that was installed last week.

This is going to service the whole site's irrigation system.

Jenn: Right.

In late August, in this part of the country,

you really are going --

It's going to helpful to keep the vegetation alive.

Jon: Absolutely.

It'll keep all the grass lush and the plants healthy.

Jenn: It's beautiful.

Jon: Jenn, here we are at the end of the job.

We're laying the sod now. Jenn: Yep.

This is the same sod that we saw cut,

the microclover, last week. Jon: Yes, it is.

And all we have to do to prepare for it is spread the topsoil,

rake it out smooth, roll out the green carpet,

pull the seams tight, and give it a little water.

Jenn: It really finishes the project.

Jon: It is. It's just a...

Jenn: It makes everything pop. Jon: ...nice, nice touch.

Kevin: So, Jenn, fresh cut, installed the same day,

this sod looks as good on our property

as it did on the farm.

Don't you think? Jenn: Absolutely, 100 percent.

Kevin: All right, so, Jon, about a week to go,

you going to get it done for us? Jon: Absolutely, 100 percent.

Kevin: I love to hear that.

And, Mr. Sweenor, your punch list is bigger than anybody's.

What do you think?

The house going to be done by next week?

Jeff: A couple of long nights, but we'll get it done.

Kevin: All right. That's the quiet confidence

of a guy who is going to get it done,

and it will be done in one week, so come back and join us.

So until next time here in Jamestown, Rhode Island,

I'm Kevin O'Connor... Jeff: And I'm Jeff Sweenor.

Jenn: I'm Jenn Nawada. Jon: I'm Jon Zeyl.

Kevin: ...for "This Old House."

Jenn: Let's get on it. Jeff: Yeah.

Kevin: Next time on "This Old House"...

Tom: Boy, oh, boy. You must be excited.

The house is beautiful. Dana: So excited.

Thank you. We couldn't be happier.

Kevin: For 8 months, our goal was to turn this 1920s bungalow

into a modern family home

that creates as much energy as it consumes.

Richard: And if we've done our job,

this net-zero house means that the meter will be back at zero

at the end of one year.

Kevin: We turned the house over to its architect owner

and his family,

and we can begin to see if we met our goals.

The Description of This Old House | Energy Saving Installations (S40 E12) | FULL EPISODE