News and Updates

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).

Program Changes Webinar: Mandatory Attendance

Thursday, July 7, 2016

 Program Changes Webinar: Mandatory Attendance

As outlined in the Program Changes newsletter, the Southern California Edison (SCE)/SoCalGas® Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade program has updated project requirements to ensure continuation of the program without interruption through 2016 and beyond.

To make sure Participating Contractors understand how these changes will affect them, Program Management will hold a second webinar on Tuesday, July 12 at 7 a.m. If you did not attend the webinar held on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, your attendance at this second webinar is mandatory. Log in information will be provided prior to the webinar.