News and Updates

Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade Project Processing Workshop

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade Project Processing Workshop

Please join us for an in-person workshop on Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade project processing and enjoy breakfast and lunch on us! Participating and Conditional Contractors can attend this session to:

    • Learn about our new release of submitting Post-Retrofit Project Information into the WebApp!
    • Brush up on processing for Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade projects!
    • Learn how to avoid common processing errors that create delays in payment
    • Troubleshoot specific issues

Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Location: Ferguson - Amphitheater, 2750 South Towne Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766

Please register online to reserve your spot today!

Register Here!

 

Register Now for the Consultative Selling Skills Workshop!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Register Now for the Consultative Selling Skills Workshop!

The Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade Program team invites you to an all-day 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 us for this special event targeted toward energy efficiency and home performance contractors, led by industry expert Jay Gentry.

Specific topics include:

    • Consultative selling process
    • Pre-call preparation
    • Getting off on the right foot
    • Strategic questioning
    • Need-based presentations
    • Handling questions and objections
    • Gaining agreement
    • Building rapport and credibility 

 

Date: Monday, April 20, 2015

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location: Ferguson, 2750 South Towne Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766

Space is limited--Register now to reserve your spot!

Register Here!

 

Special Announcement: New Post-Retrofit Submission Feature Coming to the WebApp!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company are proud to announce the new post-retrofit submission feature on the Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade WebApp!

Launching April 22, 2015, the WebApp will allow Participating Contractors to submit post-retrofit project information! The program team listened to all of the comments and suggestions, and we are excited that this program improvement will help speed up post-retrofit project submissions.

 

Come join us for a closer look at the Post-Retrofit submission process during any of the offered webinars, or in person at the Project Processing Training on April 28. Training on using the new feature will also be provided during these sessions.

 

Register Here!

 

Hands-On Training Series: Combustion Safety

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hands-On Training Series: Combustion Safety Testing

Meet with a small group and program staff for a refresher on:

    • Worst Case Pressurization
    • Spillage and Draft Testing
    • Natural Gas Line Leakage Detection

The class will take place in a home in the Long Beach Area. Class size is limited to ten individuals to allow participants the opportunity to ask questions and engage with program mentors. Please note, this course is only open to current Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analysts (BA). Participants will receive BPI CEUs for attending.

Date: April 7, 2015
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Long Beach Area. Specifics to be sent after registering.

Please register online to reserve your spot today!

Click here to register for the 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. session

Click here to register for the 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. session

Gear Up for a Special Event in April

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What more can you do to win business?

 

A special event is in the works.

Watch your inbox for more information.

 

April 20, 2015

Please attend a webinar to discuss plans for the Home Upgrade market transformation!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dear Participating Contractors,

Please attend a webinar with your local utilities to discuss the current plans for the Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade market transformation initiative. This webinar is in preparation for a statewide meeting planned for April 13 to discuss this same topic with statewide stakeholders.

Register Now

April Special Event Details are Here!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Contractors don't go out of business because they can't do the work...but often because they can't find and win contracts at acceptable margins."

Save the Date: April 20, 2015

Consultative Selling Skills Workshop

 

Gain knowledge, skills, and tools that will help you sell more jobs, increase project margins and win in competitive situations.

 

Stay tuned for registration information!

Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Newsletter - Southern California

Friday, March 6, 2015

Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) would like to share some important updates to Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade in the SCE and SoCalGas service territories. We have changes coming to program requirements and the WebApp, and would also like to make sure all Participating Contractors are aware of numerous upcoming training opportunities (see sidebar for training details).

Please read the information below, and contact your account manager with any questions. We appreciate all that you do, and continue to strive to make the program better for all Participating Contractors and customers!

Program Participation Updates and Reminders

Upgrades Coming to the WebApp

Based on feedback from you (our Participating Contractor base), we have made upgrades to the project submittal screens in the WebApp. The upgrades further simplify the data entry process by eliminating unnecessary fields and modifying some measure specifications that have been impacted by changes to Title 24. A summary of the upgrades is listed below. All items will go into effect March 10, 2015. Please contact your account manager if you would like more information or training.

Home Upgrade Pre-Retrofit Screens

  • The WebApp will now display the incentive amount based on a value of $10/point
  • Fields for attic insulation, wall insulation, floor insulation, and windows square foot measurements will be removed
  • The 14 SEER measure will be removed (15 SEER will be the new minimum)
  • The Gas Storage Water Heater- 0.62-0.66 measure will be removed (.67 will be the new minimum)
  • The Electric Storage Water Heater measure will now reflect the minimum EF of 2.00.
  • The requirement to enter in measure level cost data will be removed
  • The Proposed Scope of Work screen will be modified to display summary information
  • A File Upload button will be added to the Proposed Scope of Work screen. This will allow information to be uploaded from any screen.
  • "Pop-Up Help" icons will be added throughout the pre-retrofit screens to provide relevant information for each measure

Advanced Home Upgrade Pre-Retrofit Screens

  • Existing House Information Screen will be removed
  • The question "What modeling software did you use?" will be added to the Pre-Retrofit Energy Simulation Results screen
  • The requirement to enter measure level cost data will be removed
  • The Proposed Scope of Work screen will be modified to display summary information
  • A File Upload button will be added to the Proposed Scope of Work screen same as above
  • "Pop-Up Help" icons will be added throughout the pre-retrofit screens to provide relevant information for each measure

Program Measure Changes Effective March 1!

Upcoming changes to Title 24 will impact the program. As required by the Public Utility Commission, Home Upgrade is an "above code" program, meaning that all measure specifications must exceed current code requirements.

Because Title 24 requirements are being modified, the program must also modify its requirements to maintain above code status. Specifications that will change are noted below:

  • The minimum Energy Factor (EF) for Gas Storage Hot Water Heaters is being increased to .67. DHWs with EFs of 0.62 - 0.66 will no longer qualify for incentives.
  • The minimum Energy Factor (EF) for Electric Storage Hot Water Heaters is being increased to 2.00.The minimum HVAC Cooling System efficiency is being raised to 15 SEER; 14 SEER HVAC units will no longer qualify for incentives.

The changes noted above will go into effect March 1, 2015. If you need additional time to implement these changes, please contact your account manager.

Shell Measure Changes

As of February 15, 2015: Home Upgrade projects that include the installation of an HVAC system NO LONGER REQUIRE the installation of an additional shell measure! This means that a project consisting of the following components will now qualify for an incentive of up to $3,000 through Home Upgrade!

  • A new furnace
  • A new AC
  • New ducts (sealed and insulated in accordance with Home Upgrade Specifications)

This change applies to both SCE/SoCalGas and SoCalGas/Muni projects!

Resource Page Updated 

The documents on the resource page of the website now contain the most recent and updated versions ready for your use! Check them out here!

Upcoming Events and Training Opportunities

March 2015 Technical Training

BPI CEUs will be provided for attending this training course.

Tuesday, March 10

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

SoCalGas ERC

9240 Firestone Blvd.

Downey, CA 90241

Register Now

Energy Modeling 101-EnergyPro v5

Join us for an informative energy modeling workshop where we will demonstrate how to start a new EnergyPro v5 model from field inspection details. This interactive, online class will provide participants with BPI CEUs! Please register below to let us know you will be attending and to provide some information on your background experience with EnergyPro v5. BPI CEUs will be provided for attending this training course.

Friday, March 13, 2015

10:00-11:30 a.m.

Online-webinar link will be provided upon registration

Register Now

 

BPI BA Re-Certification Written and Field Exams

Written Exam

ICF International (ICF) is conducting a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst re-certification written exam, available to all Participating Contractors who are Building Analyst (BA) Certified Professionals. SCE and SoCalGas are covering location and proctor costs for the exam; Participating Contractors only need to pay the $199.00 exam fee via a money order or cashier's check payable to ICF International. Please register below to let us know you will be attending.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Progressive Insulation & Windows Learning Center

9750 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Chatsworth, CA 91311

Register Now

 

Field Exam

In addition, ICF will offer a BPI BA re-certification field exam, available to all Participating Contractors who are BA Certified Professionals. SCE and SoCalGas are sponsoring a portion of the costs associated with the field exam; Participating Contractors only need to pay the $650.00 exam fee via a money order or cashier's check payable to ICF International. Please register below to let us know you will be attending.

Friday, March 27, 2015

(Additional days will be added as needed)

Time and location TBD based on registrants (max three per day)

Register Now

 

FPSIE Courses-Sign Up Now!

Upcoming Foundation for Pool and Spa Industry Education (FPSIE) Certified Aquatic Equipment Installer (CAEI) training dates for 2015 have been announced. Classes are selling out quickly - make sure to register for your preferred date as soon as possible.

FPSIE Course Listing

 

Upcoming Seminars at the SoCalGas Energy Resources Center (ERC)

Courses are updated frequently - be sure to visit the ERC page often.

SCE's Energy Education Centers - Resources and Seminars

Courses are available in Irwindale and Tulare. In addition, the SCE Tool Lending Library is available at the Tulare Location.

Building Performance Institute CEUs - Search for courses in your area

Make sure to visit our news and events sections at SoCalEnergyUpgradeContractors.com for the latest information.

Register Now for Technical Training

Monday, February 23, 2015

Join Us For An Informative and Interactive Technical Training Session!

The Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade Program team invites you to a technical training session. This is an excellent opportunity to refresh your skills, or to provide new employees with the technical knowledge they need to support Home Upgrade projects. Breakfast will be provided.

This session will focus on the New Advanced Home Upgrade Software options available, and stream the live Statewide webinar. You will have the opportunity to discuss these new options as a group and ask questions with program administrators in the room.

Other topics that will be discussed during this training session include: Program Measure Updates, Heat Producing Devices (HPD) issues, Thermostatic Control Valves (TCV's) installation, and ASHRAE 62.2-2013 airflow standard.

You will receive 1.75 Building Performance Institute (BPI) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for attending the session in person!

 

When: Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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

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

Register now to reserve your spot!

Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Newsletter - Southern California

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Participating Contractor,

Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) welcome all Participating Contractors to a new year with Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade! Among many developments in the works for 2015 is one item we're very excited to share with Participating Contractors: discounts on home performance tools and products. Our distributor partners are strong supporters of the program and Participating Contractors, and many have provided exclusive discounts on products you use every day when completing home assessments, safety testing and installation of qualifying measures. Visit our Product Distributor Discounts page to learn more. Make sure you are logged in to the contractor website - these discounts are for Participating Contractors only! Your account manager can provide additional information or answer questions about the discounts and how you can take advantage of them!

A new feature starting this issue is Quick Tips from the QC team. Also, the co-op marketing program available through The Energy Network has some important changes for 2015; please read below.

SCE, SoCalGas and the entire program team look forward to working with you during 2015 to help your company grow and succeed with Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade!

Program Participation Updates and Reminders

No More Automatic Cancellations

As a reminder: we have eliminated all "on hold" and "cancelled" statuses along with their respective automatic emails and actions effective February 9, 2015.

The updated workflow proceeds as follows:

  • Once the project enters "under construction" status, the Participating Contractor has 90 calendar days to complete the energy efficiency upgrades and submit the application information (current requirement).
  • If the application is not submitted within 90 calendar days, the project will automatically be reclassified as "pending action" (no emails will be sent out when this happens).
  • The project will stay in "pending action" status until that action is completed, and then the project will resume normal processing.
  • Participating Contractors whose projects stay in "pending action" for an extended amount of time will be contacted by their Account Management Team to help resolve the issue.
  • Projects will only be cancelled after an in-depth conversation between the Participating Contractor and the Account Management Team has occurred and the Participating Contractor indicates that the project will not be completed.

As always, keep in mind that customer satisfaction is our number one priority - completing projects in a timely manner is crucial to maintain high customer satisfaction. Happy customers lead to more referrals and business for you!

Additional $500 max on every project!

SCE and Southern SoCalGas want to remind all Participating Contractors that the maximum incentive for SCE/SoCalGas and SoCalGas-only projects has been raised from $2,500 to $3,000. In addition, we are no longer using the tiered incentive approach, and have moved to the dollars per point method to calculate incentives. This new method will result in an overall increase in average rebates and will allow you to avoid that sinking feeling when you just miss the reaching that next tier.

Each point in Home Upgrade is now worth $10. So, for example, if your measure mix results in a total of 135 points, your customer's incentive will be $1,350, where previously this scenario would only provide a $1,000 incentive. 

Co-Op Matching Funds from The Energy Network

Through the Contractor Co-Op program, Participating Contractors can receive up to $5,000 in matching funds! New and existing Co-Op Contractors must read through the Guidelines, sign the updated Participation Agreement, and email the agreement to The Energy Network. Marketing projects must continue to meet guidelines as set forth in the Home Upgrade Graphic Standards, and must use current approved logos. Training and equipment purchases are also eligible for Co-Op Matching Funds. See pages 6-7 in the Guidelines for a sample list of options. For assistance, please contact The Energy Network by email or by phone at (877) 785-2237.

Invoices and Tax Credits

Make sure when your scope of work includes both Home Upgrade measures and measures that are eligible for tax credits (solar thermal and PV) that your customer invoice clearly distinguishes between the cost of the items that are eligible for tax credits and the cost of the Home Upgrade measures. Tax credits are calculated based on the cost of the solar measures only. Bundling of Home Upgrade and Solar costs can result in incorrect calculation of the tax credit and serious issues for both the homeowner and the Participating Contractor. Keep this important requirement in mind as we approach the upcoming tax season. 

Pool Pumps Update 

Starting March 1, 2015, the SCE/SoCalGas Energy Upgrade California Advanced Home Upgrade program will require manual kWh entry of the variable speed pool pumps deemed kWh savings into EnergyPro v5 under the Alternatives Tab as a "Custom" alternative kWh measure. The variable speed pool pump deemed kWh savings amount is based on the SCE Work Paper SCE13WP001, which indicates that the deemed energy savings per installed variable speed pool pump replacing a single speed pool pump is 1686 kWh/year (for existing heating only homes) or 4,215 kWh/year (for existing heating/cooling homes).

SoCalGas Program Reminders

Don't forget! SoCalGas is offering the FULL incentive amount all year! This additional funding can help boost your sales and help keep your customers smiling with bigger incentives. During this promotion, incentive levels in areas where SoCalGas provides gas service and electrical service is provided by a municipal utility (e.g., Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Lompoc, Anaheim, etc.) will continue to be funded at 100 percent of the statewide levels all year in 2015! Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to sell projects in areas with mature homes that stand to benefit greatly from our program.

Also: remember that as of December 1, 2014, Duct Insulation qualifies as a shell measure for your SoCalGas/municipal utility projects. This change means that a project consisting of a new furnace, new AC, and new ducts (sealed and insulated in accordance with Title 24 and program requirements) now qualifies for an incentive through Home Upgrade!

Quick Tips from the QC Team

We are happy to welcome the QC team as contributors to the program newsletter. QC is vital to documenting energy savings and securing the future of home performance - but it can also be challenging and time consuming. The recent change to allow collaboration during QC inspections has received rave reviews from Participating Contractors, and we are already seeing reductions in processing times. Below are three quick tips from your Home Upgrade QC team. As always, the team is here to provide support and guidance as you complete Home Upgrade projects.

Electronic Gas Leak Detectors: Electronic Gas Leak Detectors (sniffers) are great tools for inspectors, but how do you know if they are working properly? Use this simple procedure each time you're ready to check for a gas leak and you can be sure your sniffer will identify a gas leak if one is present.

Turn on the unit and let it run through its start-up cycle. Once the unit is ready for testing, hold it close to an area with known Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The easiest way to do this would be to hold the sensor near the gas cap of your vehicle, crack the cap open slightly (if it's an unvented cap), or hold an open Sharpie by the sensor. If the detector sounds, you can rest assured that it will sound in the presence of a natural gas leak.

Sealing Supply Registers: Running around a house with a ladder or step stool takes time when you are prepping for a duct test. At times, you might encounter a large piece of furniture prohibiting you from getting close enough to the register to tape seal it. There is a simple, quick, safe, and inexpensive way to get around these issues.

Get yourself a painter's pole, or screw on push broom handle and a couple of paint rollers. If you are working in a home with high ceilings, try using an extension pole. Tear off a piece of duct mask and lay it over the roller. Hold it against the register and simply roll the duct mask across the register to make the seal. To remove the duct mask, slide the roller cover off the roller frame and stick it to the duct mask, then gently work the material off the register and move on to the next one.

CAS/CAZ Testing Time-Saver: When performing combustion testing, try this. Begin at the furnace and check your ambient CO, spillage, draft pressure, CO measurements in the stack, and CO measurement in the nearest supply register. A CO measurement in the supply register above the ambient CO measurement would indicate a cracked heat exchanger and/or communication if the system were back-drafting. If you started by testing the other gas appliances and they were creating CO, that CO could have circulated through the home and entered the duct system. If this happened and you tested the furnace, you could get a false CO measurement in the supply register. This would lead you to believe a cracked heat exchanger and/or communication when that is not the case. If this happens, you need to thoroughly ventilate the home and retest the furnace to get an additional CO reading in the supply register. Open all windows and turn on all the exhaust fans and furnace fan to pull fresh air into the home and reduce the ambient co levels.

Ask the QC Team!

Have a tricky question you can't answer or a problem that keeps coming up on your projects? Ask our QC Team! Email us with any questions you would like to see addressed in future newsletters. 

Current Promotions

SCE/SoCalGas Joint Program 15-point bonus: Promo code = points

Free Lighting Products: Up to $300 in select lighting products are available for Home Upgrade jobs of 150 points or more. Just enter American Lighting or WaltersLighting in the promo code area. Review the side-by-side comparison of the products by American and Walters along with directions on how to participate, and contact your account manager with any questions.

Distributor Discounts: Visit the Distributor Discounts Page for more information on the numerous discounts available from our distributor partners. Please note: you must be logged in to the contractor website to view this page. 

Upcoming Events and Training Opportunities

Upcoming Seminars at the SoCalGas Energy Resources Center ( ERC)

Courses are updated frequently - be sure to visit the ERC page often.

SCE's Energy Education Centers - Resources and Seminars

Courses are available in Irwindale and Tulare. In addition, the SCE Tool Lending Library is available at the Tulare Location.

Building Performance Institute CEUs - Search for courses in your area

 

Make sure to visit our news and events sections for the latest information.  

Marketing Updates

Participating Contractor Marketing Materials

Your account manager has a limited number of branded marketing materials available for Participating Contractors. Contact us to request your copies of the trifold brochure and infographic rack card featuring program details and participation benefits for customers. Both pieces are co-branded with Home Upgrade and SCE/SoCalGas logos - helping you to make the connection between the program and the utilities with your customers, and are available for download on the contractor resources page.

Statewide Program Marketing

All marketing materials that feature the Home Upgrade logo must be updated to use the current approved logo at this time. The current approved logo is available in .jpg format on the contractor resources page. If you need a higher resolution logo, the statewide branding guidelines or other information, visit the statewide resources page. Also, please remember that all materials that have the Home Upgrade logo on then must be reviewed by the statewide branding team. Contact us if you need assistance or guidance with Home Upgrade co-branding. Please watch your inbox for additional details coming from the statewide branding team soon.

Marketing Tip: Strong Calls to Action in Customer E-Newsletters

The biggest mistake that marketers make is using weak, passive language in their Call to Action (CTA). A classic example is the infamous "click here." While "click here" may seem like a great CTA (in that it tells a subscriber exactly what to do), it really doesn't give a reader any incentive for taking action. It doesn't describe the value or what will happen if, in fact, they do click the link. Instead, you should use language that describes why a user should follow a link. Use verbs to describe what they will do by interacting with the CTA and, if possible, create a sense of urgency or timeliness. Source: Litmus.com. Read the entire article.

Congrats and Kudos

Congratulations to all Participating Contractors who received awards at our Fourth Annual Contractor Appreciation Night, held in December. Make sure your company wins an award this year! Talk to your Account Manager to find out how.

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