FAQs

Below are Frequently Asked Questions regarding Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade in the Southern California Edison and SoCalGas® service territories. Please contact us if you have a question that is not answered here.

Each Participating Contractor is assigned a dedicated Account Manager who can provide assistance with any program-related issues. If you do not know who your Account Manager is, you may call 855-355-6675 or email us and a program representative will provide you with your Account Manager’s contact information.

Once the Participating Contractor completes construction, performs the test out, and submits the necessary documents to the program, the project will be reviewed for final program approval and issuance of the Notice of Incentive Approval. The Incentive payment will be sent to the homeowner (or contractor, if a Payment Release Authorization has been signed) within six to eight weeks.

Yes. Only qualified Participating Contractors or Raters can offer Home Upgrade program incentives to their customers. Learn how to become a Participating Contractor or Rater.

All-electric homes in the SCE or Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) service territories are eligible for the full statewide incentive amount.

No. Retroactive work is not allowed in the Home Upgrade program.

For Home Upgrade projects homes must have been constructed in 2001 or earlier; Advanced Home Upgrade projects do not include any restrictions on the age of the home.

No. Only existing single-family detached homes and multi-unit (two to four unit) homes qualify for the Home Upgrade program.

The final duct leakage value is determined using either the duct leakage to outside or total leakage testing procedure based on either a fan flow of 400 CFM per ton or 21.7 CFM per kBtu output. Final leakage rate cannot exceed 10 percent or 6 percent of total fan airflow.

Yes, in order to get additional credit for installing a higher SEER unit, you must submit the project through Advanced Home Upgrade.

Home Performance 101 is the Home Upgrade training and certification online course required for Participating Contractors who will do only Home Upgrade projects and do not have a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) on staff.  Contractors completing Home Performance 101 will receive training on a variety of home performance topics ranging from applied science to sales and marketing. All coursework is available online in the Home Upgrade Learning Center at no cost to the contractor. The coursework consists of approximately 12.5 hours of self-paced coursework designed aid contractors in transforming their business to a home performance model. At completion of the course contractors will be presented with a completion certificate.

NATE certification is not accepted as a substitute. BPI BA certification is required to participate in Advanced Home Upgrade and G.U.T.S. is required to participate in Home Upgrade. No other certifications may act as a substitute.

Southern California Edison (SCE) operates a tool lending library; links to the catalog and request form are provided below. In addition, local programs such as emPower Central Coast may loan out equipment. Contact your Account Manager for more information on local programs.

SCE Tool Lending Library Catalog/Request Form

If you choose to participate in the Home Upgrade program, a BPI BA must complete and certify any diagnostic testing completed at the customer’s home. The BPI BA can either be an employee or a third party. Companies that choose to participate in the Advanced Home Upgrade program must have a BPI BA on staff within four months of becoming a Participating Contractor.

Building Analyst training courses vary in length across the country and by the institute teaching the coursework. The course subsidized by Southern California Edison and SoCalGas is six days long. Prior to the six-day BPI BA training course, attendees are required to complete the Getting Up To Speed (G.U.T.S.) self-paced online course that can take up to 16 hours to complete.

Yes. In SCE/SoCalGas and SoCalGas territories, the incentive check can be remitted to the Participating Contractor. The homeowner must sign the Payment Release Authorization on the Incentive Application in order for the Participating Contractor to receive payment.

The utility provider issues the homeowner’s incentive check. Once the Participating Contractor submits the Incentive Application and all required supporting documentation, the information will be verified and forwarded to the utility for payment.

Advanced Home Upgrade incentive values are determined by the calculated percentage of energy savings achieved by the installed home improvement measures that the energy simulation modeling program projects. The percentage of savings is derived from the energy simulation model based on the actual pre-retrofit and post-retrofit home conditions. Note that the estimated post-retrofit energy savings that you model before work begins may not match the simulated energy savings modeled based on actual post-retrofit measures. This can happen when the scope of work changes during the project or if test-out results are different from what you expected to achieve.

Home Upgrade project incentive values are determined by the total number of achieved points. The total incentive will equal the number of points multiplied by $10 per point for a maximum of $3,000 (for customers served by SoCalGas, Long Beach Gas & Oil or all-electric homes served by SCE or LADWP). Customers served by SCE with another gas provider or propane will receive 70% of the statewide incentive amount, for a maximum of $2,100. Contact your Account Manager for more details.

Advanced Home Upgrade incentive values are determined by the simulated energy savings achieved by the final upgrade measures using an approved energy modeling software (CakeSystems, EnergyPro, OptiMiser, SnuggPro or TREAT). For more information about these modeling programs, please refer to the Software Comparison Guide.

While not required, providing the previous 12 months of utility bill data will help the energy modeling software predict a more accurate predicted energy savings amount for Advanced Home Upgrade projects.

The new homeowner will not be excluded from participating in the program based on his/her inability to acquire energy use data. The software modeling programs will still be able to model predicted energy savings.

No. Renewables are not part of the Home Upgrade program. Do not include costs of renewable measures in your Home Upgrade program invoices or reported project costs. If you are completing an Advanced Home Upgrade project, please follow the modeling training that each software vendor will provide you regarding renewables existing during pre-retrofit. Please visit Go Solar California for information about solar rebates in your area.

Yes. Building Performance Institute (BPI) has approved the California code for insulation over knob and tube wiring. The code allows new insulation over old wiring based on a series of safety checks by a licensed C-10 electrician and submission of a letter establishing that the knob and tube is either 1) not currently in use, or 2) safe to be buried in insulation. Please refer to the QA/QC Inspection Guidelines for further specifics and forms required relating to knob and tube electrical wiring.

Pre-Retrofit (when no hazardous condition is present) and Post-Retrofit combustion safety testing using BPI procedures are mandatory for:

  • SCE/SoCalGas Program: Advanced Home Upgrade
  • SCE/SoCalGas Program: Home Upgrade
  • SoCalGas/Municipal Electric Utility: Advanced Home Upgrade

The program encourages Participating Contractors to explain to homeowners that this test is a safety measure that helps to ensure combustion appliances are not creating a hazardous environment in the home.

No, the utility companies are not able to issue multiple incentives for the same measures installed. Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade, Plug Load Appliance (PLA), and Residential Quality Installation (Res QI) have protocols in place to prevent “double dipping.” Should the manufacturer, local government or municipal utility (not part of the Home Upgrade program) offer incentives, then Participating Contractors are encouraged to look into applying for those to help the homeowner offset the cost of the energy efficiency measures installed.

No. Building Performance Institute (BPI) compliance and Title 24 compliance are not identical. All of the requirements of the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program must be met regardless of Title 24 compliance.

Home Upgrade requires an existing central heating and/or cooling system or a wall furnace. Customers who do not have an existing system or wall furnace may participate in Advanced Home Upgrade.

Pressure testing (blower door, duct leakage, combustion safety) is not permitted if any of the following conditions are present:

  • Possible asbestos duct work
  • Any friable asbestos
  • A combustion hazard
  • Any health or safety issue that will impact the occupants
  • Homeowner refuses

Duct testing is not required if:

  • Contractor did not select duct sealing as a measure.

Note: if the home has ductwork with PACM then all the ducts must be properly re-mediated in order to qualify for Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade.

Vintage table defaults will be used when pre-retrofit duct leakage testing is not completed.

Yes. For both Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade projects, all combustion safety tests must be performed by a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) certified individual; it is acceptable for the Participating Contractor to subcontract a non-staff BPI BA to perform that test. Note that having a BPI BA on staff is required for participation in Advanced Home Upgrade. It is also acceptable for a Participating Contractor to subcontract the pre-retrofit home performance assessment and installation of measures; however, it is the Participating Contractor’s responsibility to ensure that all measures and work performed in the home follow BPI best practices and standards. The Participating Contractor will be accountable for any inadequate work performed by a subcontractor.

Combustion safety testing using Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) Technical Standards is mandatory for:

  • SCE/SoCalGas Program: Advanced Home Upgrade
  • SCE/SoCalGas Program: Home Upgrade
  • SoCalGas/Municipal Electric Utility: Advanced Home Upgrade

Generally, testing is required at the beginning and the end of a job; however, interim Combustion Safety Testing is required each day that significant air sealing is done but infiltration-reduction measures are not completed by the end of the day.

Installation of low-flow shower devices with thermostatic flow restriction valve control or thermostatic flow restriction valve control devices is not required, but is highly recommended.

Yes, because home conditions may have changed since Title 24 compliance was achieved.

  • Home Upgrade: 60 calendar days
  • Advanced Home Upgrade: 90 calendar days

For a Home Upgrade project at homes in the SCE and SoCalGas joint service territories, combustion safety testing must be conducted prior to the start of any work; a blower door, duct test (optional), and combustion safety testing are required after work has been completed (based on the scope of work installed). For an Advanced Home Upgrade project at homes in the SCE and SoCalGas joint service territories, a blower door (optional), duct blaster (optional) and combustion safety testing must be conducted prior to the start of any work; a blower door, duct test (optional), and combustion safety testing are required after work has been completed (based on the scope of work installed). Interim Combustion Safety Testing is required each day that significant air sealing is performed but infiltration-reduction measures are not completed by the end of the day. The combustion safety test must be performed by a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) certified professional.

Yes. The purpose of the pre-retrofit submission is to confirm the project is qualified for Home Upgrade or Advanced Home Upgrade. Changing the scope of work after the Confirmation of Incentive Reservation is common and acceptable in this program. Participating Contractors are encouraged to identify additional energy saving measures. The Incentive Application must reflect the actual installed measures, rather than the proposed measures.

You must carry general liability insurance, automobile liability insurance (if the automobile is owned by your business) and workers’ compensation liability. If you have no employees, you must provide a waiver for workers’ compensation liability. All the above must be provided in separate Certificates of Liability Insurance for SCE, SoCalGas and ICF. See the Contractor Participation Agreement (CPA) for specific requirements. Contact your insurance agent if needed to clarify and ensure appropriate coverage.

Yes. You need to provide a copy of your Contractor State License Board (CSLB) Certificate, or wallet ID card.

If your company’s listing on the CSLB website does not indicate your license was approved at least two years ago, you can provide a list of work with references, or a company resume showing activity occurring for at least the past two years.

No. Contractors participating in Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program must hold a valid CSLB license and meet all local building permit requirements. A California contractor’s license appropriate to the scope of work is required for contractors performing Home Upgrade and/or Advanced Home Upgrade projects.

A Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) certified professional must perform the combustion safety testing for both Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade projects.

A Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) certification is required to perform a combustion safety test in this program.

Advanced Home Upgrade contractors are required to have at least one individual on staff who is Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst (BA) certified. Home Upgrade contractors are not required to have an individual on staff who is BPI BA certified. Combustion Safety Testing in Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade projects must be conducted by a certified BPI BA (on staff or third party).

Yes, a home must receive electric service from SCE and natural gas from either SoCalGas, Long Beach Gas and Oil, or propane in order to qualify for the SCE/SoCalGas Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program. A home must receive natural gas from SoCalGas and electric service from a municipal utility in order to qualify for the SoCalGas Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program.

Yes. However, when calculating the energy savings achieved through the Advanced Home Upgrade, any upgrades completed previously will be considered part of the existing home conditions. The best approach is to explain to the property owner the benefits and cost-effectiveness of completing all improvements at one time.

Yes. You must perform a pre-construction visual walkthrough to determine that the energy efficiency measures that you are recommending have not already been installed in the residence.

Multi-Unit (two–four) buildings are eligible for Advanced Home Upgrade projects. Certain restrictions apply; talk to your Account Manager for details.

Both Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade projects require at least three qualifying measures, including at least one base measure, be installed.

A Home Upgrade project must meet a minimum point value of 100 to be eligible for incentives. Pre-retrofit and post-retrofit combustion safety testing are required.

For an Advanced Home Upgrade project, the scope of work is customized to each home, and the incentive is determined by total energy savings using approved modeling software and must meet a minimum energy reduction of 10 percent. Pre-Retrofit and Post-Retrofit diagnostic testing is before and after the installation of measures.

Home Upgrade is a statewide program offered by all investor-owned utilities in California. Please note that SDG&E requires Participating Contractors to complete an SDG&E program application and meet certain requirements prior to offering incentives in the SDG&E service territory. Learn more about the SDG&E program.

NATE certification is not accepted as a substitute. BPI BA certification is required to participate in Advanced Home Upgrade and Home Performance 101 is required to participate in Home Upgrade. No other certifications may act as a substitute.