News and Updates

March 15 Program News and Updates

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Interested in helping make an Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade project more affordable for your customers? With the right resources you can help your customers perform energy-efficient upgrades that fit within their budget. Inform your customers about the available financial incentives, financing options and tax credits and let them start taking advantage today!

The Home Upgrade program also offers a variety of financing options to make a Home Upgrade more affordable for your homeowner. There are a variety of interest rates as well as loan options amongst all of the financing companies. To find an option that is right for your customers, please share the Financing options chart with them.

The Federal Tax Credits are back for 2016! Don't forget that tax credits are available through December 31, 2016 on select high-efficiency equipment products. For a complete list of eligible equipment and other important information about available tax credits follow the links below. And, as always, make sure to inform your customers that they should speak to their tax advisor about any tax credits they plan to claim. 

HVAC Tax Credits

Insulation Tax Credits

Water Heater Tax Credits

Window and Door Tax Credits

February Networking Event: Thank you to everyone who came out to our Home Upgrade Networking huddle! We hope you made lasting connections with one another and learned how you can expand and grow your business.

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

CF3R Clarification: CF3R documentation is used in the program to verify duct leakage amounts, and as such it is important that all information is correct and accurate on the CF3R. Please be sure to review the information before you submit it to the program and request any corrections from your HERS Rater prior to closing out your project.

Fuel Switching Reminder: Projects that include fuel switching, regardless of any other items included in the scope of work, do not qualify for any incentives under the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program through SCE or SoCalGas. Please contact your account manager if you have any questions regarding this policy. You will soon see a reminder in the WebApp regarding this policy when you submit your incentive application.

VisionDSM User Interface Update: VisionDSM recently made an update to the design of the user interface. A review of these changes will be covered at the upcoming Contractor Technical Training; see below to register for that event. Have a quick question about the change? Contact your account management team!

SCE/SoCalGas Incentive Application Version 9: Please make sure you are using Version 9 of the SCE/SoCalGas Incentive Application Form. We will not accept previous versions of the application as they are out of compliance.

Participating Contractor Survey: SCE and SoCalGas Program Management would like to request your participation in a very brief survey regarding your participation in the program. Your feedback will help us as we plan training opportunities and events for you in 2016!

Take the survey

SoCalGas Program Updates

SoCalGas Incentive Application Version 9: Please make sure you are using Version 9 of the SoCalGas and SoCalGas/LADWP Incentive Application. We will not accept previous versions of the application as they are out of compliance.

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®: Don't forget that if you've signed the CPA addendum and are performing Advanced Home Upgrade projects in the SoCalGas service territory to tell your customers about Home Performance with ENERGY STAR and what it means to their home and project. To learn more about Home Performance with ENERGY STAR attend our Social Media 101 Training to gain the knowledge and skills to further market your company. If you have questions or would like more guidance or information, please contact your account manager. 

Energy Modeling Updates

List of Current Approved Software Vendors for 2016: The following vendors are currently approved for Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade in 2016. We will update Participating Contractors if/when new vendors are approved. 

  • Cake
  • Optimiser
  • SnuggPro

We encourage you to contact more than one vendor and test a few projects to identify which fits best with your business. Training on modeling software is offered by each vendor. 

EnergyPro Sunset Date Reminder: Last accepted new reservations for projects using EnergyPro will be March 31, 2016. The last day to complete post retrofit submission on EnergyPro modeled projects will be May 31, 2016. A note on switching software after a reservation has been submitted: if you choose to change your energy modeling software from one to another, a new reservation must be submitted indicating the updated software and accurate energy modeling results. Please be sure of the energy modeling software you plan to use for the close-out of the project at the time of the reservation, as the software used at pre-retrofit must match the software used at post-retrofit. Once post-retrofit documentation is submitted, the energy modeling software choice is final and cannot be modified.

Pool Pumps: When seeking pool pump credit do not model the pool pump in your OptiMiser, Cake, or SnuggPro (or EnergyPro) model. Credit will be given for the pool pump during the processing phase of the project. Simply indicate that you replaced the pool pump in the WebApp and provide the required documentation to qualify. 

Updates from CakeSystems:  

  • CakeSystems now supports the calculation of kW.
  • CakeSystems Nominal versus Effective values: CakeSystems energy calculations from the EPS Inputs page uses nominal insulation R-values for building shell inputs. The software uses the provided nominal R-value and automatically assigns an effective R-value for the shell assembly based on the research that Michael Blasnik used in creating the SIMPLE energy modeling algorithm. In the Manage Projects section of CakeSystems, you can make adjustments to the effective R-values of the assembly using the Edit Actual Values feature. There, the effective R-value is displayed, and can be adjusted for calculations using an override. This process has proven the most accurate in calculating the energy profile of a building, and predicting the impact of improvements to the structure and systems of the building.

Buried ducts: Additional energy savings credit for buried ducts is not available in CakeSystems. Buried ducts may still occur on the project to qualify for the minimum insulation requirement of R-8, but no additional energy savings credit will be given. 

Quality Control Corner

Managing expectations plays a critical role when it comes to customer satisfaction. All contractors participating in the Program should inform homeowners they may/will be subject to a third party inspection by the Program's Quality Control vendor, RHA Inc.

Each of the first three projects submitted by a contractor are subject to a 100% sampling rate. After that, homes will be inspected based on a proprietary sampling protocol. Subsequent to the first three projects the contractor will not know which projects will or will not be inspected.

These Quality Control inspections are a program requirement designed to ensure the project's scope of work is in compliance with the program guidelines. There is no charge to the contractor or the homeowner for the inspection.

Notifying the homeowners of the possibility of an inspection will not only prepare them for a call from RHA to schedule the inspection, it may expedite the scheduling of the inspection, and reduce the project's cycle time.

Home Upgrade Technical Training

March 24, 2016

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

Join us for Technical Training! Specific topics that will be covered include:

  • Documentation reminders
  • Energy Modeling Updates
  • Positive Pressure Blower Door Testing
  • Updated BPI 1200 program related requirements

After Technical Training, please join us for lunch and Social Media 101 training to learn proper branding and useful marketing tactics. 

SocialMediaSocial Media 101 with Bonus Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Training 

March 24, 2016

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Interested in reaching potential customers via social media? Want to expand your current online presence, or learn what an online presence even is? We are pleased to offer a Social Media 101 training seminar for Participating Contractors who service the SoCalGas territory to prepare you to take the Internet by storm! As a bonus, we'll also cover what you need to know to use the Home Upgrade and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR brands in your own marketing efforts, whether print or online. Topics will include:

  • Seminar with overviews of the major social media platforms and the most active audiences
  • Determining best platforms to engage customers
  • Establishing your brand on social media
  • Management tools for streamlined distribution
  • Q&A session with a digital and social media expert, Bethany Gardner
  • How to use the Home Upgrade and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR brands in your own marketing efforts
  • At the end of the session you will receive additional Home Performance with ENERGY STAR marketing materials

Industry Event: 2016 ACI National Home Performance Conference

April 4 through April 7

Austin, TX

 

Updates and Training Opportunities: March 1, 2016

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Updates and Training Oportunities: March 1, 2016

Greetings to all Participating Contractors from your Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade team! Below, you'll find information about upcoming training opportunities with the program, as well as an update from the Optimiser software team. 

Announcing BPI 1200 Related Program Updates: BPI has announced changes to their standards and as a result the program will be implementing some changes that will reduce the burden for combustions safety testing. As a contractor you can expect:

  • Streamlined worst case depressurization setup and criteria
  • Simplified spillage testing
  • The elimination of instrumental draft testing
  • No more recommendations for undiluted CO Action Levels
  • The depressurization limit table for combustion appliances will no longer be instituted
  • New calculation method for mechanical ventilation

These changes will go into effect on April 1, 2016. To best prepare for these changes, the program will be providing support prior to and after the effective date. You can expect:

  • A detailed outline of related changes
  • Updated QA/QC inspection guidelines
  • Guidance during the March 24 technical training workshop
  • CAS/CAZ and ventilation worksheets

FAQs from Customers: What are the most common questions you receive from your customers? We are developing a FAQ sheet to address frequent questions from customers, and we would like your input! Please email your questions to the program team. 

Fuel Switching Reminder: Projects that include fuel switching, regardless of any other items included in the scope of work, do not qualify for any incentives under the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program through SCE or SoCalGas. Please contact your account manager if you have any questions regarding this policy. You will soon see a reminder in the WebApp regarding this policy when you submit your incentive application.

Optimiser: Report Content YOUR Way

In a recent newsletter, "Better Reports Faster," the Optimiser team presented its new streamlined report production. Many users have requested a more powerful way to add content to reports. To complement streamlined report production Optimiser created Canned Responses for memo controls. 

Controls for notes, recommendations, and other inputs let you:

  • Create as many versions of the report content as you like, and save for future use
  • Select any one of these "canned" versions that you want to be used for the default
  • Add bold, italic or underline formatting
  • Add paragraph breaks, bullets, or numbered lists
  • Open and edit the memo from within the Report Generator

Canned Responses are available everywhere that long notes can be saved and used in reports. 

BPI BA Re-Certification Written Exam

March 11, 2016

Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade - BPI Building Analyst Written Exam Re-certification. ** Payment must be in the form of money order or cashiers check only. **

BPI BA Re-Certification Field Exam

March 18, 2016

Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade - BPI Building Analyst Field Exam Re-certification. ** Payment must be in the form of money order or cashiers check only. **

Webinar: Home Energy Loans Basics

March 23, 2016

8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Learn the basics of Home Energy Loans, streamlined financing for Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade projects.

This 30-minute webinar will help you show your customers:

  • What is available: low rates, flexible terms, no fees
  • Who is eligible: Homeowners who complete HU/AHU with 660+ FICO
  • How to apply: Quick online application with instant pre-approval

For more information on Home Energy Loans click here

Technical Training

March 24, 2016

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

Join us for Technical Training! Specific topics that will be covered include:

  • Documentation reminders
  • Energy Modeling Updates
  • Positive Pressure Blower Door Testing
  •  Updated BPI 1200 program related requirements

Industry Event: 2016 ACI National Home Performance Conference

April 4 through 7

Austin, TX