News and Updates

Program News and Updates: May 16

Monday, May 16, 2016

Greetings to all Participating Contractors from the Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program team! Thank you to everyone who attended Project Processing Training on May 5 and our second 2016 Technical Training Workshop on May 10. Please visit the Resources section of the Contractor Website to download past training presentations. Below, we share brief program updates and information on upcoming training opportunities. Additional training will be offered later this year after the busy summer season. If you need any support or training for new staff during this time, please reach out to your account manager for individualized support. Thank you as always for all the hard work you do to bring energy efficiency to your customers!

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

April Hands-On Mechanical Ventilation and BPI BA Training: Thank you to everyone who came out to both the Hands-On Mechanical Ventilation and BPI BA Training! We hope you gained the skills and knowledge of the preferred testing method as well as learned the building science, home performance and diagnostic testing skills needed to become BPI certified. Congratulations to those who have become newly certified as BPI Building Analysts! 

Introducing a New Customer Promotion-Smart Strips: We are pleased to announce a new promotion to benefit your customers - the installation of an Emberstrip AV+ Smart Strip! The RHA team will install the Smart Strip during the inspection appointment. More details to come soon! 


SoCalGas Program Updates

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® for Home Upgrade is hereAs of May 1, 2016 all Home Upgrade projects in the SoCalGas program are now ENERGY STAR. In order to be eligible to participate and market yourself as a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor, you must:

  • Sign the CPA addendum and follow program and branding guidelines. If you did not attend the May technical training workshop and sign your addendum there, please complete the form and return to your account manager.
  • Complete an Assessment at every project. A limited amount of pre-printed copies of the program-developed assessment form are available for Participating Contractor use - contact your account manager for more details. We've also developed a fillable PDF form you can use on your computer or tablet.

Anatomy of a Home Assessment: Now that home assessments are required for SoCalGas Home Upgrade Home Performance with ENERGY STAR projects, what should you include? You can use the program-developed assessment form or make your own! If you are using your own, it will need to include the following:

  • General customer information
  • Customer interview with issues/need assessment
  • Walk through/assessment of the home's current conditions using the whole-house approach
  • Review of the assessment results, recommendations, and benefits 

What does ENERGY STAR mean for your business?

  • Awareness: the National Awareness of ENERGY STAR study performed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) in 2014 shows that 89 percent of households recognize the label
  • Co-brand with Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
    • Materials available from SoCalGas
    • Materials available from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Contact your Account Manager for guidance on adding Home Performance with ENERGY STAR to your materials

Energy Modeling Updates

Cake Modeling Guidance: Are you unable to test Ductwork with a Blower Door or Duct Blaster due to circumstances at the home? Or not able to test Measured Efficiency of the Furnace or Recovery Efficiency of the Domestic Hot Water (DHW) system? Use the updated guidance in the table below:

*Reasons a Furnace cannot be tested may be due to: Furnace(s) may be non-operational, and testing cannot be conducted. There could be other safety concerns that prevent the Furnace from being tested in the pre-retrofit stage such as a cracked heated changer, a disconnected vent pipe, or rodent feces. Manufacturers may also prohibit the system's B-Vent to be drilled, or contractor's testing equipment may not be capable of Measured Efficiency testing.

**Formulas for conversion for Recovery Efficiency (RE) and Efficiency Factor (EF) are as follows:  RE=15.1/(15.1/EF) - SB and EF = EF = 15.1/(15.1/RE + SB) where SB = stand by loss in MMBtu/yr. Cake Systems SB for Gas DHW = 7.0  

Note: When a Default value is used at test-in and the measure is not upgraded as part of the project's scope of work, the Default value must be entered at test-out.   

Quality Control Corner

New Quality Control (QC) Tools are available!

There are five separate powerful QC tools designed to assist with the submittal of accurate values (the only one required to be submitted to the program is the Mechanical Ventilation (MV) calculator when MV is required). The calculators and combustion safety form were developed to ensure Participating Contractors have the same tools as the QC vendor. The intent of utilizing the QC tools is to provide consistency by ensuring the Participating Contractors and QC have the ability to calculate values the exact same way. Though it is not required that the combustion safety form is used, it is strongly encouraged because it will help facilitate the data collection process required by the program due to the BPI 1200 changes. The new QC Tools can be found in the Program Resources Section > Reference Materials.

This new resource allows you to calculate:

  • Dimensions
  • Duct Leakage
  • MV Requirements and the Minimum CFM Capacity (Must be submitted when MV is required)
  • Intermittent MV
  • Combustion Safety results

Spotlight on Building Air Sealing and the MV Calculator

  • Use this tool to calculate Building Air Leakage percentage reduction and determine when MV is required.
  • If MV is required, you must use the MV calculator to determine the minimum CFM capacity for the home.
  • You must upload the completed MV calculator to your project at post-retrofit submission when MV is required or your project will not be processed.
  • Follow these easy steps:
    • Step 1: Determine if MV is required by completing the white cells in the Structure Information and Building Air Sealing Sections.

  • Step 2: Interpret the results. Have you hit your Air Sealing target if you are claiming the measure? Is MV required?
  • Step 3: Calculate the Minimum MV Air Requirement (CFM). Input your CFM50 test results into the white cells in the MV CFM calculation section. Next, determine the Weather Station Factor (WSF) by checking the table below the calculator and choosing the weather station geographically closest to the dwelling's location. Input the WSF in the correct cell.

Sales and Marketing Training

May 19, 2016

8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The SCE and SoCalGas Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program team invites you to a workshop designed to help you gain the knowledge, skills and tools that will help you sell more projects, increase profit margins, and win in competitive situations. Join instructor Judy Rachel to discuss and refine selling skills based on the home performance model!

Access to Training is available 24/7

Is your schedule full during business hours with no time to fit training and continuing education into your busy schedule? The Home Upgrade Learning Center is available for you to gather knowledge and further your skills as a home performance professional 24 hours a day via computer, smart phone or tablet. Questions on how to navigate the Home Upgrade Learning Center? Reference the Learning Center User Guide  for help!




Program News and Updates: April 29, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Greetings to all Participating Contractors from your Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade team! Below are a few updates and upcoming training opportunities for Participating Contractors!

Get CEUs From Your Phone:

We are excited to announce that the Energy Efficiency Learning Center is now available as an app! You can now complete your Onboarding training anywhere, anytime! To download the app, simply search for 'LearnUpon' in the app store and use your email and password for the online Learning Center to access your account. For a preview of the look, feel, and features of the app,click here!

Duct Testing Reminder for Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade: 

  • For Home Upgrade projects, Participating Contractors have the option to use either Total Leakage or Leakage to the Outside testing methods to meet duct leakage program requirements.
  • For Advanced Home Upgrade projects, Participating Contractors will use the duct test method required by the modeling software selected for project energy modeling:
    • CakeSystems: Leakage to Outside
    • EnergyPro: Leakage to Outside
    • Optimiser: Leakage to Outside
    • SnuggPro: Leakage to Outside

Mechanical Ventilation Policy Change:

The QA/QC Inspection Guidelines V6 went into effect on April 1, 2016. Within those guidelines an update was made to the Mechanical Ventilation (MV) policy. The trigger for when MV is required has stayed the same: if the Building Airflow Standard (BAS) is < 70%, MV must be installed. For projects submitted in the Reservation stage after April 1, please note that the new MV policy will be enforced. The Program has developed a calculator to assist Participating Contractors with the calculation for the minimum CFM capacity needed when MV is required. The calculator can be accessed on the Contractor Website in the Reference Materials section. When Mechanical Ventilation is required, please upload a copy of the completed Mechanical Ventilation Calculator with your contractor post-retrofit submission.

Simultaneous Project Submission Requirements:

In September 2015 guidance was provided on submitting multiple projects per home. Namely that Advanced Home Upgrade Default Path projects could only be submitted as the first project at a home, which still holds true. However, as of May 15, 2016 any new reservations received will be limited to a maximum of two total Home Upgrade projects. Additional Home Upgrade projects beyond the maximum of two will not be accepted. After the second project, future projects are required to be an Advanced Home Upgrade Custom project. Advanced Home Upgrade Custom projects do not have a submission maximum.

As a reminder, all projects submitted to the program must meet all requirements independently to be eligible for incentives. 

Updated Combustion Appliance Safety Form:

An updated Combustion Appliance Safety (CAS) testing form is available here for your use. The CAS form is up to date with the newly released QA/QC Inspection Guidelines and is meant as a collection form and reference for your use. This form is not required in your project submissions, however you will need to provide the data on this form if requested by the program during the submission process.

SoCalGas Program Updates

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® (HPwES) for Home Upgrade is Here: 

HPwES for Home Upgrade is now available for the SoCalGas only program! Previously, HPwES was only available for Advanced Home Upgrade. Make sure to join us at the May 10 Technical Training for more information and details about this exciting program!

Project Processing Training

Thursday, May 5, 2016

8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Location: SoCalGas Energy Resource Center, 9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey, CA 90241

Join us for an in-person workshop on Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade Project Processing! Space is limited, register today!

TechnicalTrainingHome Upgrade Technical Training

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Location: SoCalGas Energy Resource Center, 9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey, CA 90241

Topics Include:

  • Overview of exciting program enhancements
  • Modeling Guidance and Updates
  • Power Strip Promotion information
  • Documentation updates and streamlining
  • California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing
  • QA/QC Updates

In addition, meet with Mechanical Ventilation manufacturers to learn more about the equipment and benefits of the installation of Mechanical Ventilation in your customers' homes! Come and speak to Panasonic, Broan/NuTone, Tamarack  and more to learn about their products! 

Sales and Marketing Training

Thursday, May 19, 2016

8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Location: SoCalGas Energy Resource Center, 9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey, CA 90241

The Home Upgrade Program team invites you to a workshop designed to help you gain the knowledge, skills, and tools that will help you sell more projects, increase profit margins, and win in competitive situations. Join instructor Judy Rachel to discuss and refine selling skills based on the home performance model!