With the ground rules for the electrical layout in place, I can now begin to scrutinize room by room, looking at how we will use the space, making decisions on the number and locations for switches and outlets, and putting them into a graphic format.
Above is the electrical plan for the 1st floor, which was included in our permit plan set. The layout depicted here satisfies the Chicago building code requirements. It is, however, only partially tailored to how we would use the rooms and doesn’t reflect the depth of energy conservation we would like to add.
I began to walk around the 1st floor equipped with blue masking tape and a pen, marking and labeling where we should place what fixture. It took at least three edits before I felt that I was meeting our objectives. And it got somewhat complex, so much so that I needed to draft a symbol list that I could use to keep track of things.
Along the process, I constantly consulted with Percy Harrison, our electrician, to make sure that the tailored layout was not only feasible, but reasonable and did in fact make sense.
Yes, it got more intricate, but also more user friendly and less energy consuming. Switches are placed along the path, accessible and easy to find. We have a whole lot more outlets that shown in the original plan, but with it we have increased user friendliness. We integrated the kill switches and occupancy sensors wherever they would help us to conserve energy.