News and Updates

January 4 Program Update

Thursday, January 4, 2018

January 4 Program Update

Happy New Year! Thank you to all of our Participating Contractors for making last year so successful by providing homeowners with energy efficiency improvements and more comfortable homes. Your active participation has made for the great success of the Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade program in the Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® service territories. We can't wait to see what we can all accomplish in 2018. Below are program updates to get things started!  

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

Program Changes Reminder: Thank you to everyone who joined our Program Changes webinar on December 13 to learn about and discuss the new program requirements. Please refer to the Program Changes Quick Reference Guide for a detailed description of the new program requirements.

Updated 2018 Documentation

The SCE/SoCalGas program is currently updating all program documentation for 2018. Further information about new documentation will be shared at the Mandatory Program Kick-Off Event on January 16 (more information below).

Accurate Account Holder Info

If the SCE or SoCalGas account holder is deceased, please have the current homeowner request to have the service account name changed prior to the post-retrofit submission of the project. If an account holder name is found to be fraudulent in any way, the program will not pay the incentive. Please provide the following numbers to your customers if the account holder information needs to be changed: 

  • SCE Call Center number: (800) 736-4777
  • SoCalGas Call Center number: (909) 307-7070

Efficiency First and BPI Benefits

The Efficiency First (EF) program with Home Depot has been significantly enhanced with the addition of benefits from the Building Performance Institute (BPI). BPI is now offering a credit for all BPI products and services for EF members who register for the program and spend at least $10,000 at Home Depot during the year. Register now and get credit for all the purchases on the associated account dating back to January 1, 2017.

Here are the benefits that you can earn through the program:

1. All EF members who purchased at least $10,000 at Home Depot during 2017 using the associated account will earn a credit for all BPI products and services worth 1% of their purchases. 

2. All EF members with at least $30,000 in qualifying Home Depot purchases during 2017 will earn free EF membership for a year AND a credit for BPI products worth 1% of their purchases, so at least $300. 

3. All EF members with at least $100,000 in qualifying Home Depot purchases during 2017 will earn free Efficiency First membership for a year, free registration at the HPC National or Regional conference of their choice, AND a credit for BPI products worth one percent of their purchases, so at least $1,000. 

After registering, Home Depot will track purchases for the year using the credit card that associated with the EF code. At the end of the year, Home Depot will compile all purchases using the EF code and provide the association with rebate funds. Register now and get credit for all purchases on the associated card dating back to January 1, 2017. Please register today Here!

SoCalGas Program Updates

Please note that the updates listed for the SCE/SoCalGas program above also apply to the SoCalGas-only program. If you have any questions, please contact your Account Management team.

QC Corner

Chimney-Top Dampers

When performing diagnostic testing on homes with fireplaces, it is important to visually inspect the chimney damper. Over the years, there have been many different types of chimney dampers used. One thing that most of these dampers had in common was that they were in the top of the fire box and closed off the chimney from the bottom. These typical dampers are normally just a flat piece of steel attached to a pair of pivots that allow the damper to open and close.

As simple as they are, dampers are still prone to damage. Depending on the fire, flue temperatures in the vicinity of the damper can be more than 500°F. Over time, intense heat can take its toll on the damper, rendering it useless to the point where it may be damaged or stuck in a particular position.

Recently, QC inspectors have seen a handful of chimney-top dampers. These new-style dampers differ greatly from traditional dampers in the fact that they mount to the top exterior of the chimney. Most of these dampers were installed when the original damper was damaged, stuck in the open position, or removed. Chimney-top dampers have the advantage of ease of installation since mounting them on a variety of chimney configurations is quick and simple.

Program guidelines dictate a gas fireplace must have a minimum ½-inch opening between the damper and the fireplace when the damper is in the closed position. This requirement is applicable in the case of a chimney-top damper and there are various ways to achieve this. Depending on the configuration of the unit, a clamp or a bolt may be used at the chimney-top to keep the chimney-top damper from closing completely. Another method to keep the damper open would be to adjust the cables (that open and close the chimney-top damper) hanging in the firebox so they leave the chimney-top damper open at least ½-inch.

Next time you run across a gas fireplace with a damaged or missing damper, be sure to check the top of the chimney to see if a chimney-top damper has been installed. If a chimney-top damper has been installed, verify that it can be blocked open at least ½-inch. If it is not in the required fixed position when it is shut, modifications must be made to meet the Program requirement. 

Proper Measurements for Home Upgrade Projects

When it comes to energy-savings calculations and health and safety matters, precise measurements are key. Without taking the time to verify proper measurements, it's hard to know if your results are accurate.

Two measurements that have a direct bearing on mechanical ventilation (MV) requirements are conditioned floor area (CFA) and average ceiling height. When either of these two measurements are incorrect, the need for a MV recommendation or requirement may not be called out in a situation where it should be. For this reason, the Program has instituted a change regarding CFA and ceiling height measurements for Home Upgrade projects (Advanced Home Upgrade projects are not affected by this change).

In the past, when a Home Upgrade project was chosen for on-site post-verification, the Energy Field Technician would use the contractor's measurements for CFA and average ceiling height. After inspecting numerous projects, it has become apparent that either CFA or average ceiling height have been measured incorrectly in a portion of the projects. For that reason, a new policy has been instituted that requires the measurement of CFA and average ceiling height when the contractor's measurements are questionable during the post-verification.

To assure the most accurate measurements possible, make sure you are measuring the home based on Chapter 12 of the Inspection Guidelines v7.0, measure wall linear dimensions and ceiling heights for each ceiling configuration. Do not rely on websites such as Zillow or Redfin for conditioned floor area and use the dimensions tab of the QC Tools Calculator located on the Program website to determine average ceiling height.

Marketing Updates

Marketing materials are now being handled by the statewide Energy Upgrade California® brand team. Currently, no new program marketing materials are available. Please continue to use existing program materials, as well as the materials provided by Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® when selling the program to your customers. We will update you with additional information on this topic as it becomes available. 

SCG Energy Resource Center  

9240 Firestone Blvd. Downey, CA 90241

2018 Mandatory Program Year Kick-off Event

Tuesday, January 16, 2017
8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Please register for our upcoming mandatory kick-off event at the Energy Resource Center. The kick-off event will cover the future of the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program for 2018 and celebrate contractor achievements and accomplishments from 2017! We appreciate and recognize all of your hard work and look forward to celebrating your success with you.

Register Here!