News and Updates

Program Changes Webinar

Friday, November 4, 2016

Join us for a one-hour webinar covering changes to the Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade program for 2017. We will discuss measure and incentive changes that will go into effect for projects reserved after January 1, 2017.  This will be your first opportunity to learn about program changes and how they might impact your projects. Please share this registration link with anyone on your team/staff who should attend. 

Please contact your Account Manager with any questions!

Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Link to join the webinar provided upon registration

Register Here!

November 1 Program Update

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Important Notice: 2017 Program Changes will be announced soon. Please register now
for the Program Changes Webinar, where you'll have an opportunity to ask the Program team questions about the changes.

Thank you to the Participating Contractors who attended the Hands-On Combustion Safety Testing Training event on October 18 and the Project Processing Training event on October 26. Please visit the Program Resources, Program Documents section of the Contractor Website to find a copy of the presentation slides. 

Incentive Checks Released to the Contractor (Joint Program Only)

For incentive checks issued to Participating Contractors dated on or after October 1, 2016, the contractor will receive a 1099 form for that payment. Please speak with your tax professional regarding possible implications on taxes. 

HERS CF3R Duct Leakage Reports and QC Inspections

Did you know if you are claiming duct sealing on your project and upload the HERS Rater's CF3R MCH 20 Duct Leakage report (for a tested home) that the QC field inspector can use the report's results instead of retesting the ducts?  Though this report is not required to be uploaded to your project at post-retrofit submission, it can reduce the inspection time for your customer if you do include it and is recommended. This does not apply to HERS reports from untested/sample group homes. Please contact your account manager with any questions.  

Energy Modeling Updates (Joint and Gas Only Programs)

Program Values

As a reminder, program policy states that the following occupant behavior settings be used in all models*:

  • Thermostats: Winter Indoor Temp (or heating) set to 70 degrees, Summer Indoor Temp (or cooling) set to 78 degrees
  • Lighting: Do not enter or include a lighting count in your energy model submitted to the program

NOTE: When the Program specifies required values, all models are required to use these values. Always follow Program guidance on values unless the Program notes otherwise. If incorrect values are submitted, then corrected Program Values will be updated in the submitted energy model, which may have an effect on your estimated incentive. If you have any questions or are unsure of the guidance you have received from your modeling software vendor, please consult Program Updates guidance here or check with your Account Management team to ensure you have used the correct values.

*For projects participating in the Custom Path utilizing Snugg Pro's utility bill calibration, please follow Snugg Pro's guidelines on how to enter inputs for existing/base values.

Important Information Regarding Cake Project Submittals

It is essential when constructing energy models that they are filled out accurately and completely. While the majority of entries made to the EPS Input screen, Energy Analysis and Upgrades screen and the Edit Actual Values screen are observed conditions or measured values, special care must be taken for certain items.

Thermostat Setting(s)

The thermostat settings must be set to proper default values. Do not enter the occupants' thermostat values. Default thermostat settings are entered on the Edit Actual Values / Edit Actual Measurements screen (below)

  • Thermostat Heating Setpoint default is 70 degrees
  • Thermostat Cooling Setpoint default is 78 degrees

The blue values to the right of the boxes indicate the values calculated by CAKE. Since the Thermostat Heating Setpoint in blue calls for 68.0°F, the modeler must enter a value of 70 in the box to set the proper Thermostat Heating Setpoint. Since the Thermostat Cooling Setpoint in blue calls for 78°F no value needs to be entered in the box.

Lighting

The lighting section near the bottom of the EPS Input screen should be left blank. Do not enter the number of Incandescent, Fluorescent/LED fixtures. Additionally, only enter zero values for:

  • Other Major Uses of Energy
  • Other Major External Energy Uses
  • PV Solar Performance

Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) Certification Training

Are you or a member of your staff looking to become BPI BA certified? Participating Contractors with a BPI BA on staff are eligible to offer Advanced Home Upgrade projects to their customers for larger incentives and deeper energy savings. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for the classroom instruction days as well as breakfast on the written exam day.

Monday, November 14 - Friday, November 18, possibly November 19 to finish up any field exams

Location: Classroom Venue - TBD in Orange County

                  Field/Test House - address to be provided a week prior to the training

Please ask your Account Manager for the registration coupon code and more information. Register today - class size is limited! 

Coming Soon: Home Upgrade Learning Center Updates

The Home Upgrade Learning Center continues to offer more training courses in a faster and better online environment.  We would like to invite you to visit the newly upgraded Home Upgrade Learning Center!  The Learning Center has several new enhancements that provide Participating Contractors (like you!) with no cost access to even more sales and marketing, technical and in-field best practice courses at your fingertips.

What's changing?

  • More Courses - A growing library offers sales and marketing, technical and business best practices courses, many of which are Continuing Education Unit (CEU) accredited.
  • More ways to connect - The Learning Center is now accessible from all of your mobile devices! The mobile responsive redesign means you can learn anytime, anywhere.
  • Better access to information - Revisit past training courses and download resources anytime, from any device. Once you have taken a training course, easily revisit it from your personal dashboard page.
  • Better access to instructors - our 'Ask an Instructor' feature allows you to ask questions with the click of a button without leaving the course.
  • CEUs - Earn certificates of course completion that will qualify for Building Performance Institute CEUs, with other nationally recognized organizations anticipated to accept CEUs in the near future

What won't change?

  • Your training history - If you've taken a previous training course, your scores and completion reports are updated in your account.
  • Our commitment to quality training courses - as the training library grows, you have access to training courses from industry experts, many with decades of experience in their field.
  • Your VIP access - access to the Learning Center is a benefit of participating in Home Upgrade. Access to the training courses, resources and experts are provided to you at no cost. 

Please contact your Account Manager today to learn more and look for the update in coming weeks!

 

October 17 Program Updates

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thank you to the Participating Contractors who attended the Annual Technical Training event on October 4. Please visit the Program Resources, Program Documents section of the Contractor Website to find a copy of the presentation slides. 

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

End of Year Processing

As the end of the year approaches, to increase the likelihood of your projects' incentive checks being received by the end of the year, please post-retrofit submit your projects as soon as possible. 

2017 Program Changes

As was discussed at the October Technical Training, in order to best ensure the availability of the program throughout the 2017 program year, several changes will be made to the program including a reduction in incentives and a potential addition of measures available for incentives. Thank you to all Participating Contractors who provided input for these potential changes. Please be on the lookout for communications from the program team via the Program Updates emails for the final list of 2017 program changes. 

EnergyPro Sunset Reminder!

New reservations for EnergyPro projects are no longer accepted. All Participating Contractors still using EnergyPro with projects reserved before October 15 must have post-retrofit submission completed by December 30, 2016.

EnergyPro Updates: WebApp and Calculator

As of October 15, the WebApp reservation system has been updated to remove EnergyPro as an option for reserving Advanced Home Upgrade projects. For post-retrofit submissions, updates have been made to the drop-down list to allow for EnergyPro close-outs (until the December 30 deadline mentioned above) and an HPXML or manual-entry option for CakeSystems, Snugg Pro and OptiMiser. Please only use the non-HPXML manual-entry option after speaking with your Account Management team about HPXML upload troubleshooting. They will either help you troubleshoot or let you know if you can use the manual upload option.

Please begin using Advanced Home Upgrade Calculator Version 6.1, some enhancements including EnergyPro sunset reminders, utility provider clarification and an updated pool pump drop-down have been included in this version. Click here to access the calculator. 

Hands-On Training: Combustion Safety

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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

Brush up on your combustion safety and gas leak testing skills in a hands-on learning environment with Program Mentor Judy Rachel! Training will be held at a private home in the Temecula area. The address will be provided upon registration. 

Project Processing Training

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

SoCalGas Energy Resource Center in Downey

Join us for application processing training and receive valuable tips and tricks to improve your processing accuracy and help your projects get approved more quickly! Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) Certification Training

Are you or a member of your staff looking to become BPI BA certified? Participating Contractors with a BPI BA on staff are eligible to offer Advanced Home Upgrade projects to their customers for larger incentives and deeper energy savings. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for the classroom instruction days as well as breakfast on the written exam day.

Monday, November 14 - Friday, November 18, possibly November 19 to finish up any field exams

Location: Classroom Venue - TBD

                  Field/Test House - address to be provided a week prior to the training

Please ask your Account Manager for the registration coupon code and more information. Register today - class size is limited! 

October 3 Program Updates

Monday, October 3, 2016

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow at the 2016 Annual Required Technical Training session. The program implementation and QA/QC teams, Southern California Edison (SCE) SoCalGas® program management, REEL/CHEEF staff and a representative from Evolve Technologies will be on hand to present valuable information and answer your questions. Please register now if you have not already!

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

Post-Retrofit Submission: WebApp Only!

As of October 15, 2016, you will no longer be able to complete any post-retrofit submissions directly in VisionDSM; post-retrofit submission will be available in the WebApp only. This will allow you to take advantage of the HPXML and error preventing logic built into the WebApp system. You will still be able to view all of your jobs and submit information via VisionDSM when a job is in certain statuses (pending contractor action, appeal, or application incomplete). Please talk with your account manager if you have any questions. 

Energy Modeling Software Must Remain Consistent: Clarification

Effective September 15, 2016, Participating Contractors may not change their chosen modeling software for the project after post-retrofit submission to the WebApp, even if the project is cancelled and resubmitted under a new project via the WebApp.

Please keep in mind that a switch of software is still allowed after reservation submittal, but prior to post-retrofit submittal. In this case, the reservation should be cancelled and resubmitted under the corrected modeling software.

EnergyPro Sunset Announcement - Reminder!

Participating Contractors were provided an extension for usage of EnergyPro on Advanced Home Upgrade projects in early 2016. All Participating Contractors still using EnergyPro will need to reserve the remainder of their EnergyPro projects prior to October 15, 2016. All projects reserved before October 15 must have post-retrofit submission completed by December 30, 2016.

Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Path Update: Test-In Manometer Images Requirement Reminder

Effective for Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Value projects reserved on or after October 15, 2016:   images of the test-in blower door and duct test manometers must be submitted to the WebApp during the post-retrofit submittal process. If you have chosen the Custom Values path, but cannot use actual values for building leakage and duct leakage due to a hazardous condition present at test-in, then test-in blower door and duct test manometer photos do not have to be submitted and vintage default values will be used for those results. Vintage default values will also be used in place of the supplied pre-retrofit numbers if Participating Contractors cannot supply images of duct test and blower door test results.

SoCalGas Program Updates

Please note that the updates and reminders listed for the SCE/SoCalGas program above also apply to the SoCalGas-only program. 

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Contractor of the Year!

Did you know that as a Participating Contractor in the SoCalGas Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade/Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program you are eligible to apply for the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor of the year awards? Notify ENERGY STAR of your intent to apply prior to October 17; applications are due by December 7, 2016. Information on how to apply available here.

Annual Required Program Technical Training

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

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

Join the program team for an important and exciting announcement, program technical updates, a presentation by an industry vendor and information about financing options available to you from REEL! 

Hands-On Training: Combustion Safety and Gas Leak Testing 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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

Brush up on your combustion safety and gas leak testing skills in a hands-on learning environment with Program Mentor Judy Rachel!

Project Processing Training

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Join us for an application processing training and receive tips and tricks to improve your processing accuracy.

September 15 Program Updates

Friday, September 16, 2016

There are still a few spots left in the upcoming Building Performance Institute Building Analyst (BPI BA) certification training session September 26-30 - see the Upcoming Training Opportunities section below for more information to register!

Reminder: Program changes impacting incentives went into effect on August 1, 2016. Make sure you are now using Version 9.5 of the Incentive Application Forms for the Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® program as well as the SoCalGas only program for projects reserved on or after August 1. Projects reserved on or after September 1 may not use the v9 incentive application. Contact your Account Manager if you have any questions about the program changes or how they impact your projects. Keep reading below for additional program updates and upcoming training opportunities! 

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

Energy Pro Sunset Announcement 

Participating Contractors were provided an extension for usage of EnergyPro on Advanced Home Upgrade projects in early 2016. All Participating Contractors still using EnergyPro will need to reserve the remainder of their EnergyPro projects prior to October 15, 2016. All projects reserved before October 15 must have post-retrofit submission completed by December 30, 2016. 

Detecting and Confirming Gas Leaks on Pressurized Natural Gas and Propane Systems

According to the QA/QC Inspection Guidelines Version 6, Chapter 2, Section B: Leaks will be detected using an electronic leak detector at 1" per one second. If a potential leak is identified, it will be confirmed with micro leak detection solution.

Exactly what is micro leak detection solution and how does it differ from a soapy bubble solution? Micro leak detection solution is a product specially designed to detect the presence of leaks in pressurized systems and is available from a variety of manufacturers. While they all differ somewhat, they all share the ability to adhere to the material they are applied to and have the proper viscosity to easily detect even the smallest leaks.

Important factors:

Application: Depending on the product you use, you will have a choice of methods to apply it. Manufacturers may offer their products in spray bottles, squirt-on bottles, one-gallon containers and daubers (brush-on).

Strength: The strength of the solution is another important factor. Depending on the manufacturer, solutions are offered as full-strength or as a concentrate.

Methods: It is important that you follow the manufacturer's directions, as adding water to a full-strength solution will change its characteristics and viscosity, resulting in incorrect test results.

Micro Leak Detection Solution in Sheep's Clothing: Many people substitute a soap and water mixture for a leak detection solution. There are two main disadvantages to this:  1) soap solutions do not have the proper viscosity to remain on a metal surface while facilitating the formulation of bubbles, and 2) many household detergents contain compounds that promote pitting and corrosion of various metals, while micro leak detection solutions are specifically designed to be non-corrosive.

Confirming the Leak: Once you have been alerted to a possible leak by your electronic leak detector, break out your micro leak detection solution and apply it per the manufacturer's instructions. In many instances you will have to wait a few minutes to observe the formation of bubbles depending on the severity of the leak. A few extra minutes and a little bit of patience may well prevent a call-back to fix a leak you may have missed the first time around.

Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Path Update: Test-In Manometer Images Requirement

Effective for Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Value projects reserved on or after October 15, 2016:   images of the test-in blower door and duct test manometers must be submitted to the WebApp during the post-retrofit submittal process. If you have chosen the Custom Values path, but cannot use actual values for building leakage and duct leakage due to a hazardous condition present at test-in, then test-in blower door and duct test manometer photos do not have to be submitted and vintage default values will be used for those results. Vintage default values will also be used in place of the contractor supplied pre-retrofit numbers if contractors cannot supply images of duct test and blower door test results.

Reminder: Always be prepared to back up your work!

Images of post-retrofit diagnostic test results, equipment to be replaced and building elements that have an effect on the energy model should always be available upon request for all projects and should be kept on file with the Participating Contractor. In particular, please be sure to photograph and file images from the audit including, but not limited to: AC systems, furnaces, ductwork, water heaters, insulation, attics, walls, crawlspaces, windows and doors. Having these photos on file can help eliminate delays with processing should the need for verification arise.

Reserve Projects Prior to Construction to Ensure Availability of Incentive Funds

It is important to reserve projects in the WebApp prior to construction in order to:

  • Ensure that funding remains available for the project incentive.
  • Verify utility accounts and determine any previous participation to ensure the customer is eligible for the incentive. To assist with the utility account verification process, it is highly recommended to upload copies of the customer's recent electric and gas utility bills when submitting the reservation.
  • Lock in the project under existing program rules at the time the reservation is made.

Participating Contractors who submit pre-retrofit reservations after construction has been completed run the risk of the project being ineligible for any of these issues. 

Energy Modeling Software Must Remain Consistent Throughout Entire Project

Effective September 15, 2016, Participating Contractors may not change their chosen modeling software for the project after post-retrofit submission to the WebApp, even if the project is cancelled and resubmitted under a new project via the WebApp. A switch of software is still allowed after reservation submittal but prior to post-retrofit submittal. In this case, the reservation should be cancelled and resubmitted under the corrected modeling software.

BPI Certification Reimbursement - Update

Reminder! Program-sponsored BPI training is being offered September 26-30. The price of the training has been drastically reduced from a cost of $3,200 to $1,895. Effective immediately, Participating Contractors and Raters that have or will register for and complete the BPI BA certification through the program offered certification courses are now eligible for a $950 reimbursement. The reimbursement has been adjusted to approximately 50% of the certification cost. See the Upcoming Training Opportunities section of the newsletter for upcoming courses and registration information.

In order to be eligible for reimbursement, the Participating Contractor or Rater must have reserved and completed five jobs within 12 months after the date of certification. Once these jobs are completed, the following information should be provided to the Account Management team:

  • The list of project numbers of completed jobs
  • The name of the BPI BA, certification date and BPI number
  • Company name and confirmation of the company mailing address on file

SoCalGas Program Updates

Energy Pro Sunset Announcement 

Please note that the deadlines regarding EnergyPro described above also apply to the SoCalGas Program. The remainder of EnergyPro projects must be submitted prior to October 15, 2016 with post-retrofit submission completed by December 30, 2016. 

Energy Modeling Software Must Remain Consistent Throughout Entire Project

Effective September 15, 2016, SoCalGas program Participating Contractors may not change their chosen modeling software for the project after post-retrofit submission to the WebApp, even if the project is cancelled and resubmitted under a new project via the WebApp. A switch of software is still allowed after reservation submittal but prior to post-retrofit submittal. In this case the reservation should be cancelled and resubmitted under the corrected modeling software.

Test-In Manometer Images Requirement

This change also applies to SoCalGas Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Value projects reserved on or after October 15, 2016. Images of the test-in blower door and duct test manometers must be submitted to the WebApp during the post-retrofit submittal process. Please see the SCE/SoCalGas section above for information on how to handle situations where you cannot use actual values or images of duct test and blower door results. 

Quality Control Corner: RHA's Testing and Inspection Tools

Quite often, we field questions from Participating Contractors regarding the test equipment our Energy Field Technicians (EFTs) use as they perform inspections. We thought we would share with you a few of the tools all of our EFTs utilize on a daily basis.

Note: RHA/the program are in no way endorsing any of the products described here. We are simply presenting certain pieces of equipment that RHA uses to conduct inspections. There are numerous manufacturers that make similar products. The equipment is available from the OEMs and/or their distributors.

The Energy Conservatory DG-700 Pressure and Flow Gauge: The DG-700 is a versatile instrument (manometer) that measures pressure differentials and can be connected to The Energy Conservatory's (as well as other manufacturers) blower doors and duct testing equipment to measure airflow values. The manometer's two independent pressure sensors come in handy when performing building depressurization and combustion safety testing. By connecting tubing to the various pressure sensors, while locating the manometermand tubing in different areas of the home, combustion appliance zones (CAZs) and/or outside of the home, many different tests can be performed. The DG-700 has the ability to auto zero and baseline, and can be used with cruise control and a blower door to help maintain a constant building pressure without the use of a computer. DG-700s have a manufacturer-prescribed calibration cycle of two years; however, they should also be calibrated after being dropped, damaged or when they do not provide consistent results. RHA has their DG-700s professionally calibrated once a year, as well as if and when they are damaged or dropped. All of RHA's DG-700s are field-calibrated per TEC procedures every 90 days.

Bacharach Leakator® Jr Combustible Gas Leak Detector: Gas leakage testing is an important portion of the combustion appliance safety (CAS) testing procedures. The ability to quickly and accurately detect hydrocarbons/combustible gases aids in a complete and thorough inspection of the home. Bacharach's Leakator® Jr is an easy to use, compact, and lightweight combustible gas leak detector. The unit detects all combustible gases, requires no calibration and generates both an audio tone and a flashing visual indication when a combustible gas is identified. The Leakator® Jr performs a self-test each time it is powered on in fresh air and works in temperatures between 32° F and 104° F. The 12-inch flexible probe makes it easy to get around the back-side of piping and valves. Bacharach utilizes a long-life (five-year typical) sensor. The sensor itself is located at the end of the probe making sensor replacement easy, if necessary. The unit is designed to detect gas levels at both 20 ppm and 50 ppm, switching between the two is accomplished by double-tapping the power button with the unit running. As a precaution, RHA uses this piece of equipment at the most sensitive level.

Sensit® CO Carbon Monoxide Analyzer: CAS testing calls for measurements of carbon monoxide (CO) from various sources including: furnaces, water heaters, ovens, broilers, cooktops, natural gas fireplaces, as well as ambient measurements. The Sensit® CO carbon monoxide analyzer offers quick and easy testing of carbon monoxide for various applications. The unit's stainless steel probe is well-suited for insertion into appliance vents and flues, as well as oven vents terminating at the top of a range. Standard configuration is an "as measured CO value" with a resolution of 1 ppm and a range of 0-2000 ppm, with an accuracy of +/-5 ppm or 5% (whichever is greater). The unit is powered by three "C" batteries. By adding the optional oxygen (O2) sensor the Sensit® CO is able to take air-free CO measurements (with a range of 0-5000 ppm) in addition to displaying oxygen concentrations. Sensit outfits the instrument with a water/dirt filter, along with an infrared communications interface for use with an optional printer. Sensit® CO carbon monoxide analyzer requires calibration every 30 days. Calibration gases can be purchased for field calibration, although all calibration gas must be NIST traceable.

Big Blue Micro Leak Detection Solution: Once a natural gas or LPG leak has been identified by an electronic gas leak detector, it needs to be verified by the application of a micro leak detection solution. This task is easily accomplished by an application of Big Blue. The process is quite simple depending on the application method chosen. The solution is available in spray bottles or dauber (lid-mounted brush) equipped bottles. Liberally coat the area of the suspected leak with Big Blue, wait a few moments and inspect the area for bubbles forming from the leak. Larger leaks will becomeapparent more quickly than smaller ones will. When applying the solution small bubbles may sometimes appear, do not confuse these application bubbles with bubbles caused by a gas leak. The solution is non-toxic, non-corrosive, and biodegradable. Depending on how much you will be using you can choose from 1-quart spray bottles, gallon jugs, or 55-gallon drums.

Mechanical Ventilation Clarification: It is the responsibility of the Participating Contractor to follow local, state and federal code requirements regarding mechanical ventilation. For clarification, if mechanical ventilation (MV) is required, making up the deficit for bathroom and/or kitchen fans only applies to existing equipment. When MV is required, the Participating Contractor may choose to replace an existing bathroom fan to meet the minimum MV requirements of the home. To do this, the fan must meet all applicable code requirements, be activated by a motion detector when the bathroom is occupied and be able to supply enough CFM to meet the minimum 50 CFM bathroom requirement, plus make up the whole house CFM deficit indicated on the Mechanical Ventilation Calculator. If the Participating Contractor chooses to install an additional MV fan as opposed to replacing an existing bathroom fan, the installed fan must meet all applicable code requirements, be activated by a motion detector (if installed in a bathroom) and be able to make up the whole house CFM deficit indicated on the Mechanical Ventilation Calculator. Kitchen fans are required to have a minimum 100 CFM capacity. Bathroom fans in full bathrooms are required to have a minimum 50 CFM capacity.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

Fall Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) Certification Training

Are you or a member of your staff looking to become BPI BA certified? Participating Contractors with a BPI BA on staff are eligible to offer Advanced Home Upgrade projects to their customers for larger incentives and deeper energy savings. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for the classroom instruction days as well as breakfast on the written exam day.

Date: September 26 - 30, possibly October 1 to finish up any field exams if needed

Location: Classroom Venue - Hampton Inn, 10900 Yamaha Way, Cypress, California, 90630

                  Field/Test House - Mission Viejo, address to be provided a week prior to the training

Please ask your Account Manager for the registration coupon code and more information. Please also let your Account Manager know if you are interested in staying at the Hampton Inn during this training course. Register today - class size is limited!

Fall 2016 Required Technical Training

Save the date! Annual required Technical Training will be held Tuesday, October 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the SoCalGas Energy Resource Center in Downey. Please make sure at least one person from your company is in attendance. Breakfast will be provided and BPI CEUs are available. Agenda items will include how to utilize the 10/200 Home Upgrade rule in your business model, industry guest speakers, program and energy modeling updates and more! Further details to come!

Ongoing training is available from the Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) Assistance Program. After completing training and becoming a REEL participating contractor, you can offer financing options to help your customers complete bigger projects for deeper energy savings! Learn more about REEL

September 1 Program Updates

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 1 Program Updates

Reminder: Program changes impacting incentives went into effect on August 1, 2016. Make sure you are now using Version 9.5 of the Incentive Application Forms for the Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® program as well as the SoCalGas only program for projects reserved on or after August 1. Projects reserved on or after September 1 may not use the v9 incentive application. Contact your Account Manager if you have any questions about the program changes or how they impact your projects. Keep reading below for additional program updates and upcoming training opportunities! 

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

Scope of Work Changes

As of September 15, the scope of work submitted at post-retrofit is the final scope of work eligible for incentive. Measures may not be added on at any point after post-retrofit submission through the WebApp.  No exceptions will be granted, so please ensure that you have selected every measure you wish to claim credit for before submitting the project post-retrofit.

Energy Modeling Updates

Cake Systems Version 1 and Version 2

CakeSystems Version 2 will not be available for use by Participating Contractors in the near future. CakeSystems Version 1 will continue to be permitted for Custom Path projects only. The incentive estimator in CakeSystems Version 1 will not be updated to reflect the recently updated program requirements. Obtain the therm, kWh and kW outputs from CakeSystems, and then input the required information into the Advanced Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator to calculate the estimated incentive according to updated program requirements. 

What's in a Value? Update 

If you use the utility bill calibration feature in your Custom Path energy model, please note the following update to the "Program Values for Custom Path" section of the "What's in a Value?" guidance from the August 15 Program Update to distinguish between Custom Path projects with or without utility bill calibration.

Program Values for Custom Path without Utility Bill Calibration*

Program values are the same for all Custom Path projects. These values are specific to the modeling software and Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Path projects; they will be set the same for all projects.

Example: Snugg Pro Program Values for Custom Path Projects

  • Dishwasher Efficiency (if present)
  • Refrigerator Efficiency
  • Thermostat Set-Points
  • Wind Zone
  • U-Value and SHGC for Windows
  • Lighting Type Present
  • Shielding
  • DHW Temperature Set-Point
  • Clothes Washer Efficiency (if present)

*For projects participating in the Custom Path utilizing Snugg Pro's utility bill calibration, please follow Snugg Pro's guidelines on how to enter inputs for existing/base values. 

Interested in learning more about the values to use in your model? Visit the Energy Modeling Resources Section of the Contractor Website for more information specific to your software vendor.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

Fall Building Performance Institute Building Analyst Certification Training

Are you or a member of your staff looking to become BPI Building Analyst (BA) certified? Participating Contractors with a BPI BA on staff are eligible to offer Advanced Home Upgrade projects to their customers for larger incentives and deeper energy savings.

The next Program-sponsored BPI BA training session will be September 26 - 30 in Cypress (classroom) and Mission Viejo (test house).  Please ask your Account Manager for the registration coupon code and more information. Register soon - class size is limited!

Fall 2016 Required Technical Training

Save the date! The annual required Technical Training will be Tuesday, October 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the SoCalGas Energy Resource Center in Downey. Please make sure at least one person from your company is in attendance. Breakfast will be provided and BPI CEUs are available. More details to come!

Ongoing training is available from the Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) Assistance Program. After completing training and becoming a REEL participating contractor, you can offer financing options to help your customers complete bigger projects for deeper energy savings! Learn more about REEL

August 15 Program Updates

Monday, August 15, 2016

Don't forget that program changes went into effect on August 1, 2016. Make sure you are now using Version 9.5 of the Incentive Application Forms for the Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® program as well as the SoCalGas only program. Contact your account manager if you have any questions about the program changes.

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

What's in a Value?

When performing energy modeling, you will use different categories of values when building a model of the existing home. These values allow you to model correctly and consistently when submitting your project to the program. So what values are we talking about and what do we mean?

Types of Base Values

These are the values you will use to map out the existing home before you make improvements. There are different types of base values:

  • Vintage Default Value - Vintage default values must be used for all Default path projects and can be used for one or two values for Custom path projects. These values are based on the vintage of the home, and can be found in the Vintage Default Table. For example, in a home built in 1940s the vintage default value for attic insulation would be R-11.
  • Actual Values - These are measured or observed values collected at the on-site visit-they are the inputs you will use for what is actually existing in the home (for values not listed in the Vintage Default Table when modeling a Default path project). These can be values such as the square footage of the home or the square footage of windows present. You will also use actual values instead of default values when modeling Custom path projects. For example, you would use whatever existing R-value is present in the attic.
  • Program Values for Default Path -Program values are the same for all Default projects. These values are specific to the modeling software and Advanced Home Upgrade Default path projects; they will be set the same for all projects.
    •  Example: Snugg Pro Program Values for Default Path Projects
      • Dishwasher Efficiency (if present)
      • Refrigerator Efficiency
      • Thermostat Set-Points
      • Wind Zone
      • U-Value and SHGC for Windows
      • Lighting Type Present
      • Shielding
      • DHW Temperature Set-Point
      • Clothes Washer Efficiency (if present)
  • Program Values for Custom Path - Program values are the same for all Custom projects. These values are specific to the modeling software and Advanced Home Upgrade Custom path projects, they will be set the same for all projects.
    •  Example: Snugg Pro Program Values for Custom Path Projects
      • Dishwasher Efficiency (if present)
      • Refrigerator Efficiency
      • Thermostat Set-Points
      • Wind Zone
      • U-Value and SHGC for Windows
      • Lighting Type Present
      • Shielding
      • DHW Temperature Set-Point
      • Clothes Washer Efficiency (if present)

Improved Values

When modeling the upgrades in your scope of work you should always use actual values. You will only include the actual value of the measures you are upgrading. For example, you would input R-44 to gain credit for the R-44 attic insulation improvement you made in the home.

You may not change the default values when that value is not a part of the scope of work. For example, if you were not upgrading the attic insulation for a default value project in a 1940s home, no improvement would be indicated in the improvement section of the modeling software; it would remain at R-11 in the energy model.

Interested in learning more about the values to use in your model? Visit the Energy Modeling Resources Section of the Contractor Website for more information specific to your software vendor.

Length and Width Inputs in Snugg Pro

House Length and Width should always be measured and completed in the House Information of your Snugg Pro model. It is a very important field in calculating wall square footage, window square footage and energy savings. For more information please review Snugg Pro's guidance on this subject.

August Training Opportunities

Getting Started with Contractor Co-Op Webinar

August 22, 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Are you looking for resources to help support your efforts with Home Upgrade? Contractor Co-Op could be a great fit for your business. This program supports Home Upgrade Participating Contractors by reimbursing 50% of qualifying business costs up to $10,000. This webinar will cover:

  • Who is eligible and how to get started with Co-Op.
  • Eligible purchases and example projects.
  • How to submit projects and utilize funds. 

Ongoing training is available from the Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) Assistance Program. After completing training and becoming a REEL participating contractor, you can offer financing options to help your customers complete bigger projects for deeper energy savings! Learn more about REEL

August 1 Program Updates

Monday, August 1, 2016

Thank you to the Participating Contractors who attended the Snugg Pro training event on July 26. And a special thank you to the Statewide Workforce Education and Training (WE&T) for funding the workshop! For those using CakeSystems, a training date for CakeSystems Version 2 will be coming soon.

 

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

Credit for Buried Ducts:

Buried ducts are an acceptable measure to meet the minimum of R-8 duct insulation requirement in the Program for both Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade. Advanced Home Upgrade Participating Contractors also have the ability to claim any additional savings associated with going above and beyond R-8 duct insulation by burying ductwork. However, to claim credit you must bury the ductwork, provide a buried duct diagram, and model the buried ducts according to the energy modeling software's requirements.

Below you will find an outline of how additional credit for buried ducts can be claimed in each software:

Snugg Pro

  • Snugg Pro recommends that contractors use the manual R-value setting for duct insulation and include the effective R-Value.
  • Click here to learn more about modeling buried ducts in Snugg Pro. 

CakeSystems

  • Modeling buried ducts is not available in CakeSystems Version 1, so additional credit for buried ducts is not available with this software at this time.

OptiMiser

  • When modeling duct insulation as a retrofit, model the effective R-value in the duct insulation improvement section for additional savings associated with burying the replacement ductwork.

Energy Pro

  • Model the effective R value of each of the duct runs in the HVAC distribution menu to gain additional credit for buried ducts.

Interested in learning more about how to calculate the effective R-Value of buried ductwork? Click here and scroll to Page 37 of the California Energy Commission's 2013 Residential Alternative Calculation Method Reference Manual for more information.

Updated Snugg Pro Documents Now Available! 

The following guidance documents have been updated to reflect the Snugg Pro Version 5 changes, and are available for download from Contractor Website's Program Resources page:

  • Guide to Snugg Pro Modeling for Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade: A guide to using the program-required settings and values for Advanced Home Upgrade Default Values and Custom Values projects
  • Snugg Pro HPXML Guide: Directions for downloading the HPXML file from Snugg Pro and uploading it to the WebApp
  • Snugg Pro Test Home Worksheet: Sample project data you can model to verify that your modeling method achieves the same results as the program
  • Snugg Pro Test Home Worksheet Guide: A guide to help you model the sample projects in the Snugg Pro Test Home Worksheet

New Program Requirements and Software Vendors

The energy modeling software vendors will be incorporating the new program changes into their models' internal incentive calculators. Please use the  Advanced Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator  to verify the incentive amount while they make these updates, and for any projects claiming pool pumps, using EnergyPro, or with propane or natural gas service not provided by SoCalGas or Long Beach Gas & Oil.

Calculators FYI!

The Home Upgrade Energy Savings and Incentive Calculator and Advanced Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator should only be used in Microsoft Excel as software other than Excel (such as Google Docs) will not yield accurate results. 

WebApp Changes Launching August 1 for Projects Reserved after August 1

As a reminder, all Home Upgrade projects reserved on or after August 1 will need to meet a minimum of 200 points or at least 10% energy savings as determined by the Home Upgrade Energy Savings and Incentive Calculator.

In the WebApp, these projects will have a checkbox to be marked if the project is less than 200 points, but still achieved at least 10% energy savings. The energy savings from the calculator should then be entered in the field below it:

These fields will appear in the pre-retrofit reservation and post-retrofit submission WebApp in the sections where the project cost is entered.

Both Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade incentives will be capped at a maximum of 50% of the project cost.

New Incentive Applications and Marketing Materials

To reflect the new program changes, new incentive applications and information sheets have been released and are available for download from the Contractor Website and through the links below: 

Incentive Application: Please be sure to use the new version of the incentive application for projects reserved on or after August 1. Projects reserved on or after September 1 will not accept the v9 incentive application.

Home Upgrade Information Sheet: This updated form gives an overview the new program requirements as well as the measure specifications and points for your team members and customers.

Advanced Home Upgrade Information Sheet: This new form gives an overview of the requirements and measure specifications for Advanced Home Upgrade projects for your team members and customers.

Getting Started with Contractor Co-Op Webinar

August 22, 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. 

Are you looking for resources to help support your efforts with Home Upgrade? Contractor Co-op could be a great fit for your business. This program supports Home Upgrade Participating Contractors by reimbursing 50% of qualifying business costs up to $10,000.

This webinar will cover:

  • Who is eligible and how to get started with Co-op.
  • Eligible purchases and example projects.
  • How to submit projects and utilize funds.

SoCalGas Program

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® - Home Performance Assessment Requirement: 

As of June 1, all SoCalGas Program Home Upgrade projects need a home assessment completed and a report uploaded at post-retrofit project submission. The assessment must include all of these tasks:

  • Customer interview
  • Review of energy bills, if available
  • Visual inspection of the home, interior and exterior
  • Minimum diagnostic tests
  • Data collection of building assemblies and mechanical systems

For your convenience, the program has created a form you can use for this:  the Home Energy Efficiency Assessment, available here. You are welcome to create your own report, if it includes at least all of the following items:

  • General information
  • Existing conditions
  • Prioritized list of recommended improvements (the proposed improvement measures)
  • Notice of health and safety related issues
  • Savings projections (estimated, modeled, or calculated)

If you would like to create your own report, you must have it reviewed by your Account Management team to ensure it meets the above requirements before submitting it in projects.

Program Changes Reminder: As noted previously, these changes will go into effect for projects reserved on or after August 1 and/or post-retrofit submitted on or after December 31:

SoCalGas-only Home Upgrade:

SoCalGas-only Advanced Home Upgrade: No changes to existing requirements

 

July 15: Program Updates

Friday, July 15, 2016

Greetings to all Participating Contractors from the Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade program team! Below, we share reminders about the upcoming program changes and important information to remember regarding Combustion Ventilation Air. 

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

Updated CAZ Forms in the WebApp: The CAZ Forms have been updated in the WebApp to align with the current program requirements and BPI Building Analyst Forms/Combustion Appliance Ambient Form.

Snugg Pro Version 5 Updates: Snugg Pro Version 5 has now arrived with new interface changes!  Please view Snugg Pro's full list of changes on their website here. The following Version 5 changes apply to the Energy Upgrade California Advanced Home Upgrade program:

  • New HVAC Interface:  The new interface gives you more options to specify the HVAC system, allowing for more complex system changes like heat pumps or the addition of duct systems. PLEASE NOTE: Although the interface allows for fuel switching, it is NOT allowed in the program.
  • Job Stages:  To help you sort your projects, jobs can now be labelled with different stages. To download the correct HPXML file for the program, the stage must be marked "Retrofit Complete."
  • Better User Interface:  The sub-navigation for the Input Screen and the Refine Screen is now on the left and clearly shows what section is being modified. The details section (base and improved values, notes and photos) of each input has moved to the right in the section header and no longer has the label "details."
  • New CAZ Input:  Detailed Combustion Appliance Zone (CAZ) inputs are now accessible, yet these inputs are not needed in the HPXML file required for the program and should be left blank.
  • Default Thermostat Set Points:  All new jobs created will have a default range of set points already given. However, as listed in Sections 2 and 3 in the program's Guide to Snugg Pro Modeling, these defaults must be overridden to 70 High/70 Low for the heating set point and 78 High/78 Low for the cooling set point.

The following guidance documents will be updated to reflect the Snugg Pro Version 5 changes:

  • Guide to Snugg Pro Modeling for Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade ("Snugg Pro Guide")
  • Snugg Pro HPXML Guide
  • Snugg Pro Test Home Worksheet
  • Snugg Pro Test Home Worksheet Guide

Look for them on the Program Resources page of the contractor website soon!

Please join us for a hands-on Snugg Pro training event to help you become more proficient in using Snugg Pro in the Advanced Home Upgrade program. You'll learn to create models with the proper program settings, as well as tips and tricks for faster and easier energy modeling!

Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Location: SoCalGas Energy Resource Center

                  9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey, CA 90241

We will be offering a separate training workshop for energy modeling with CakeSystems Version 2 - details coming soon!

Program Changes Reminder: Thank you to everyone who joined our Program Changes webinars on June 29 and July 12 to learn about and discuss the new program requirements. As a reminder, these changes will go into effect for projects reserved on or after August 1 and/or post-retrofit submitted on or after December 31:

 SCE/SoCalGas Home Upgrade:

  • Projects must meet a minimum of 10% energy savings or 200 points
  • Incentives cannot exceed $3,000 or 50% of project costs (whichever is lower)

Joint SCE/SoCalGas Advanced Home Upgrade:

  • Project incentives cannot be more than 50% of project costs

Refer to the Program Change Overview for a detailed description of the new program requirements. 

New Calculators for Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade: 

The new calculators for the program changes are now available! We have also created User Guides to help you become more familiar with the calculators. Please note you will need to be logged in to the contractor website to access the following documents:

Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator

Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator User Guide

Advanced Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator

Advanced Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator User Guide

Please review them now and use them when selling any projects that you anticipate may be reserved on or after August 1 and/or post-retrofit submitted on or after December 31 to offer correct incentive estimates to your customers.

SoCalGas Program

Program Changes Reminder: As noted above, these changes will go into effect for projects reserved on or after August 1 and/or post-retrofit submitted on or after December 31:

SoCalGas-only Home Upgrade:

  • Projects must meet a minimum of 10% energy savings or 200 points
  • Incentives cannot exceed $3,000 or 50% of project costs (whichever is lower)

SoCalGas-only Advanced Home Upgrade:

  • No changes to existing requirements

Media Campaign: To increase awareness of the Home Upgrade program throughout its service territory, SoCalGas is pleased to announce the deployment of a five-month media campaign exclusively promoting Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade! The campaign comprises digital advertising (banner ads, keyword search in English and Spanish, contextual ads and Facebook advertising) and 17 billboards in locations throughout the SoCalGas service territory including Hidden Hills, Pasadena, Culver City, Anaheim and San Pedro. Customers are directed to visit socalgas.com/upgrade, where they can then easily reach the Find a Contractor tool to find a Participating Contractor in their area.

We have developed two alternate versions of the program trifold brochure (view version Aview version B) that complements the campaign. Please contact your Account Manager if you would like to request copies of the brochure for use with your customers. 

 Quality Control Corner

Combustion Ventilation Air (CVA) is air for combustion, ventilation and dilution of flue gases for appliances installed in buildings. CVA is a common term used in association with fuel-burning appliances. With few exceptions, most fuel-burning appliances require sufficient CVA to assure proper combustion and safe operation. Without sufficient CVA, it is possible for the appliance to backdraft or create excessive amounts of carbon monoxide.

Many homes have combustion appliances located within conditioned space or adjacent to conditioned space. For this reason, it is important to follow CVA requirements. Doing so helps reduce the chances of putting the homeowner or occupants at risk from a health or safety issue.

A major issue QC Inspectors discover during their inspections is insufficient CVA. While this situation is easily fixed in most scenarios, one must first understand the basics of CVA. There are five main aspects of CVA. Depending on the home, appliance/s and their locations, one or more of the following items may apply:

  • Indoor CVA deals with how much room volume is available to supply an appliance(s) with the proper amount of CVA for the combined Btuh rating of all the appliances located in the Combustion Appliance Zone (CAZ).
  • The standard method of calculating CVA is 50 cu.ft./1000 Btuh. A confined space is a location where combustion appliances do not have enough room volume to provide sufficient CVA. Insufficient CVA may cause the appliance to backdraft or produce excessive amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Outdoor CVA deals with vent and or duct design and location as well as sizing to ensure sufficient CVA is available to the appliance(s) located in the CAZ in a confined space. This is also an important factor that allows heat and combustion gasses to be able to vent from the CAZ.
  • Reduction Factors for Net Free Vent Area (NFVA) calculations when the combustion appliance is in a confined space. These are formulas used to determine how much airflow blocking effect a louver, mesh, or screen will have on the amount of air available to the appliance(s) located in the CAZ. See Quality Control Inspection Guidelines V6.0 June 2016, Chapter Five, Section I, Table 5-3.
  • The Known Air Infiltration Rate Method for Indoor CVA Calculations must be used when a blower door test has been performed and the ACHn are ≤0.60. In some instances, this method allows for less CVA per Btuh. What this means to contractors is in some cases less room volume is required for CVA. See Quality Control Inspection Guidelines V6.0 June 2016, Chapter Five, Section H, Table 5-2.
    • When the ACHn is >0.60, the standard method must be used for CVA calculations. To determine the proper calculation method for CVA, there are detailed guidelines regarding this in the Quality Control Inspection Guidelines V6.0 June 2016, Chapter Five, Section G, Table 5-1. 

Key CVA Points to remember

  • CVA is critical for safe and clean combustion for natural and induced draft appliances.
  • CVA does not apply to gas dryers or direct vent appliances. Direct vent appliances draw combustion air from outdoors.
  • CVA applies to cook top burners, ovens and broilers for homes built in 2008 or later.

When CVA room volume in a CAZ is insufficient, additional room volume can be provided by connecting adjacent room(s) with sufficient volume. To include adjacent room volume, use any of the following methods:

  • For indoor CVA, upper and lower unscreened louvered grills that communicate with an adjacent room/space can be installed. The upper vent must begin within 12" of the ceiling and the lower vent must begin within 12" of the floor. The NFVA of each vent must be 1 sq. in. per 1,000 Btuh input, with a minimum of 100 sq. in. per vent.
  • Replace solid doors to adjacent rooms with louvered doors (excluding bathrooms and bedrooms).
  • Permanently remove doors (and hinges) to adjacent rooms (excluding bathrooms and bedrooms).
  • Appliances located in an enclosure closet adjacent to a confined space can have the enclosure door sealed and draw its CVA from outdoors, an attic or a crawlspace.
  • An open combustion appliance can never be located in a sleeping area or a bathroom!
  • A forced air unit located in an enclosure closet can never draw combustion ventilation air from indoors!

This illustration shows one method of supplying CVA to a CAZ from the outside. In this particular situation all of the CVA is being supplied from outdoors (vented attic) through vertical ducting. This is only one of a variety of methods available to supply the CAZ with adequate CVA. Please refer to the Inspection Guidelines for additional CVA options.

It is the contractor's responsibility to confirm that sufficient CVA is available for all combustion appliance/s at the home. It makes no difference if the combustion appliance(s) is existing or part of the contractor's scope of work. Minimum CVA requirements set forth in the Inspection Guidelines must be followed.

This is not a fully detailed document on CVA. Detailed CVA information may be found in the Quality Control Inspection Guidelines V6.0 June 2016, Chapter Five. For more information on CVA, you can also reference the California Mechanical Code (CMC) section 7 on Combustion Air.

Snugg Pro Training

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Snugg Pro Training

The Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade program team invites you to a workshop designed to help you become proficient in Snugg Pro according to Advanced Home Upgrade program requirements.

Topics will include:

  • Creating an accurate energy model from start to finish
  • Proper settings to use in Snugg Pro (Specific to Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program)
  • Tips and tricks for quicker and easier energy modeling
  • Generating customized energy audits
  • Uploading the HPXML report to the WebApp for project close-out
  • Troubleshooting HPXML upload errors

 

Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

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

Please contact your Account Management team with any questions. (For those using CakeSystems, a training date for CakeSystems Version 2 will be coming soon).

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