Southern California Electric (SCE)/SoCalGas Program Updates
Previously, when black organic matter (BOM) was identified in a household, the program required remediation of the BOM. Contractors were required to submit an abatement letter from a qualified abatement company describing the type of matter that was found, the location, and how it was remediated prior to the project moving forward. After an in-depth consultation with the Building Performance Institute (BPI) the program has determined this process will no longer be required.
The program still strongly recommends in cases where BOM is discovered, that the BOM be inspected and remediated by a qualified abatement company.
When the contractor, auditor or Energy Field Technician identifies BOM, a Notice of Unsatisfactory Conditions (NOUC) must be completed. The comments section of the NOUC should be used to describe the BOM, its location, and a recommendation that it be inspected and remediated. The completed NOUC must be signed by the homeowner or the "Customer refused to sign" box shall be checked. One copy of the form is to be left with the homeowner, one copy is for the contractor or auditor's files and one copy must be submitted to the program. A blank copy of the Notice of Unsatisfactory Condition can be found on the contractor website here.
New Efficiency Rating for Water Heaters
In June 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) instituted new rules that regulate the testing and rating of water heaters. In the past, water heaters were rated by Energy Factor (EF). Until recently, EF was the only rating method used to determine water heating efficiency. New test methods and labeling requirements now in effect utilize Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) as a measure of efficiency.
Effective immediately, the following policy regarding water heater efficiency will replace the current program policy:
- ENERGY STAR® has minimum specifications for water heaters rated in both EF and UEF. Any water heater submitted to the Program rated in UEF which meets the current minimum ENERGY STAR UEF standard shall be approved by the program.
- Any water heater that is rated in EF and meets the current program minimum EF standard shall continue to be approved by the program. UEF criteria will only be used when an EF rating is not available.
- When a water heater is installed in an Advanced Home Upgrade Path project and it is rated in UEF, the auditor shall enter the actual UEF value of the water heater into the energy modeling software program if it meets the current ENERGY STAR minimum UEF value.
- When a water heater is installed in an Advanced Home Upgrade project and it is rated in EF, the auditor shall enter the actual EF value of the water heater into the energy modeling software program if it meets the current program minimum EF value.
- When a water heater is installed in a Home Upgrade project and it is rated in UEF, the homeowner or contractor will be eligible to receive an incentive if it meets the current ENERGY STAR minimum UEF value. The incentive value will be based on the lowest dollar value for water heating equipment (of the same type) paid by the program.
- When a water heater is installed in a Home Upgrade project and it is rated in EF, the homeowner or contractor will be eligible to receive an incentive based on the current incentive value for the type and efficiency rating of the water heater installed.
Energy Modeling and Uniform Energy Factor
For quite some time, the DOE has been working on a change to the way water heaters are tested and rated. Effective June 2017, DOE instituted their new procedures. Since then, software developers and programmers have been hard at work integrating the DOE's new rating system into various energy modeling software programs.
The behind-the-scenes professionals at Snugg Pro and OptiMiser have been making subtle but important changes to their software. Both software programs now accept water heater efficiency with the traditional EF rating or the new UEF rating.
Depending on when a water heater was produced, its efficiency may be rated in either EF or UEF. No matter how the unit is rated, Snugg Pro and OptiMiser can model the equipment appropriately. For instance, if the existing water heater is rated in EF and the new water is rated in UEF either software can convert and still make the correct calculations. Just be sure to accurately record the efficiency of the water heaters (both existing and new) using the proper rating and the software will be able to do the rest.
In the two examples below the existing storage tank water heater has an EF rating of .52, and the new tankless water heater has a UEF of .87:
OptiMiser DHW (water heater) section: