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Activity 2.3.

6 Residential Electrical Systems
We often take for granted that a light will illuminate when we flip a switch or that
there will be an electrical outlet in a convenient location when we want to use a hair
dryer. The fact that you do not notice the design of the lighting and electrical system
when you are in a building indicates that the designer has done a good job
anticipating the needs of the occupants. The electrical system must be designed and
constructed according to the applicable building codes and regulations, but it should
also be designed with the end user in mind.

In this activity you will research lighting and electrical design topics and review
residential electrical code requirements. Using the knowledge you gain, you will
layout the electrical system for your Affordable Housing Project.

● Computer with Internet access
● Print of your Affordable Housing Project floor plan(s)
● Common Electrical Symbols handout
● Residential Electrical Code Requirements

1. Visit the following websites:
● U. S. Department of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website at
● Whole Building Design Guide at
2. Review the information on lighting and daylighting and complete the following
● Describe the three general classifications of lighting uses.
- Ambient lighting- background lighting
- Task lighting-specific lighting
- Accent lighting
● What is daylighting?

Daylighting is the ability to maximize the use of natural daylight in your home to further reduce the need for
artificial lighting. Using windows and skylights in your home is a way to reduce artificial lighting.

© 2010 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
Civil Engineering and Architecture Activity 2.3.6 Residential Electrical Systems—Page 1
● What are some advantages to providing daylighting?
- You can reduce the cost of always running lights. You also save energy.

● Describe the best orientation for windows in a building in order to take
advantage of daylighting.
- Depending on where you live the sun shines the most in one direction. If you are above the
equator then having your windows and skylights facing south is the best way.

3. Review your Affordable Home floor plans. Consider how you can better
incorporate daylighting into your design. Mark at least one change on the floor
plan(s) that will improve the energy efficiency of the home by increasing the
daylighting. Make the change on your 3D model.
4. In Activity 2.3.4.A Adding Up to Green you identified passive solar building
orientation practices that can earn LEED credit which included the requirement
that “the south-facing glazing area is at least 50% greater than the sum of the
glazing area on the east- and west-facing walls.” Does your Affordable Home
meet this requirement? Justify your answer with calculation(s).
If your home design does not meet this requirement revise your design. Justify that
the final design meets the glazing area requirement.
5. Locate an electric meter (typically mounted on an exterior wall) and sketch your
proposed location for the main panel on the print of your Affordable Home floor
plan. Choose an accessible interior location for the panel that is hidden from
public view—perhaps a closet or separate space. Include the electric meter and
main panel in your 3D model.
6. Sketch a preliminary electrical plan on your Affordable Home floor plan(s).
● Sketch the location of outlets, lighting, and switches so as to comply with the
Residential Electrical Code Requirements. Think about how each room will be
used, what appliances and equipment are needed, and where extra
convenience outlets should be placed.
● Connect each lighting fixture to at least one switch (or as required by the
Residential Electrical Code Requirements) using a switch leg (dashed line).
Consider the need for three-way switches.
● Locate exterior outlets and lights as required by code.
● Comply with all New Construction Guidelines for Habitat for Humanity.

7. Include an electrical service line on your electronic site plan.
8. (Optional) Revise your Affordable Home Project drawings to include your
electrical design. You must determine the best place to show your electrical plan.
Sometimes it is easiest to place it directly on a floor plan; other times you will
need to prepare a separate electrical plan.

© 2010 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
Civil Engineering and Architecture Activity 2.3.6 Residential Electrical Systems—Page 2
Conclusion Questions
1. How did you incorporate daylighting into your project?
- having more window to have light and use less for energy and the cost will also
be less for them.

2. Why are some electrical plans placed on a floor plan and others on a separate
- if everything was in one sheet every one will get confused and also the builders
and clients. it will seem if it was random information

3. What is important for an architect to know about electrical plans?
- well first of all, it two different things so they need the plans so that they can’t
counter each other and cause a mistake in the building. So the builder can’t get
confused with the electrical plan.

4. How does the design of the structure affect the electrical layout?
- well the issue there will be regulation dn issue later on the future and it could cost

© 2010 Project Lead The Way, Inc.
Civil Engineering and Architecture Activity 2.3.6 Residential Electrical Systems—Page 3