News and Updates

March 15 Program Update

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Happy spring! As temperatures increase and business begins to pick up, we want to help ensure you are completing your projects accurately and in a timely manner. Be sure to check out our important reminders listed below and learn how to properly name your project files when uploading them to the WebApp or VisionDSM. If you have questions about anything noted in this update, please contact your Account Management team.

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

 

One Year Cancellation Policy begins April 1

As previously announced, effective April 1, 2017, if a project has not been completed within a year from the project reservation date, the project is subject to cancellation by the program. Participating Contractors at risk of getting their projects cancelled will be notified well ahead of time so that they are able to take action to prevent this.

 

Post-Retrofit Submit All August 1 Program Rules Projects by March 31

Any projects that were reserved before January 1, 2017 currently fall under the August 1 Program Rules. To remain eligible for processing under those rules, your project must be post-retrofit submitted in the WebApp by March 31, 2017. Projects post-retrofit submitted April 1, 2017 or later will be processed under the 2017 Program Rules.

 

HVAC Permits

Per Senate Bill 1414 (SB 1414), proof of closed/finalized permit on HVAC retrofits with an air conditioner, heat pump or their related fans is required for all Advanced Home Upgrade and Home Upgrade projects. Upload this document with your other project documentation during post-retrofit submission. When submitting a project that does not include HVAC retrofits with an air conditioner, heat pump or their related fans, but does include a furnace retrofit, please remember to provide proof that a permit was pulled. Upload this document with your other project documentation during post-retrofit submission.

 

How to Name Your Project Files for the WebApp and VisionDSM

To ensure that there are no issues with accessing project files and streamline project reviews, please follow these simple guidelines:

1)      Do not use special characters in the file name (e.g., + = \ " < { & %); they can cause the file to not open correctly. If a space is needed to separate words in the file name, please use an underscore (_) or hyphen (-). You may use both upper and lowercase letters, but file names in VisionDSM will appear as all caps.

2)      Name your files descriptively so that reviewers and processors know which document it is before opening it - this helps speed up the review. Including the customer's last name or address in the file name can help you avoid uploading the wrong customer's file.

3)      Keep the energy model ID number in the file name when you download the HPXML file from the energy model.  You may rename the file from the default file name, but please keep the model job number/ID number in your new file name.

4)      Do not combine different documents into one file - your project may be sent back for missing information if a document was not found because it was included in the same file as another document.

 

Examples of helpful file names:

Smith-Incentive-App

123_Main_St_Preretrofit_BPI_Form

Jane_Doe_Paid_Invoice

JOHNSON-SCE-BILL

Snugg12345_audit_John_Smith_2017_02_17 (for HPXML file)

Retrofit_18617_Mary_Jones (for HPXML file)

 

SoCalGas Updates

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

 

Home Upgrade Learning Center

Participating Contractors and their staff have access to the online Home Upgrade Learning Center for a variety of free courses in building science and home performance as well as sales and marketing to increase their knowledge and grow their business. Visit the Home Upgrade Learning Center to view current available courses.

 

BPI GoldStar Seminars

BPI offers educational seminars throughout the year. Courses are presented via webinar, and provide an opportunity for contractors to earn BPI CEUs. These courses are FREE for BPI GoldStar contractors, and are offered at a fee of $50 for other contractors. Upcoming courses include How to Be Wildly Successful in Today's Economy and The Five-Pronged Approach to Successful Lead Generation for Home Performance Contractors. View all upcoming classes and learn more on the BPI GoldStar Contractor Webinars webpage.

 

Certified Aquatic Equipment Installer (CAEI) Pool Pump Training - SANTA BARBARA

Date: Friday, March 24, 2017

8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location: Lake Cachuma Recreation Area, 2225 Hwy 154, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Are you interested in becoming Utility Certified and participating in Variable Speed Pool Pump Rebates? Join The Foundation of Pool and Spa Industry Education (FPSIE) on March 24 for a training course and become an expert in Pool Pumps.

For more information and to register, click here.  

Watch upcoming newsletters for details on future SCE/SoCalGas Home Upgrade Program training courses!

 

March 7 Program Updates

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Thank you to all Participating Contractors who attended the Hands-On Mechanical Ventilation Training. We hope you were able to take away key practices and skills to help you assess ventilation systems in your customers' homes. Be sure to check out the training section below for information our upcoming BPI Building Analyst certification course! Please contact your Account Management team with any questions regarding the updates and topics below. 

 

SCE/SoCalGas Program Updates

Updates to Base Measures and Incentives

The SCE/SoCalGas program 2017 project submission requirements have been reevaluated and updated. For projects reserved on or after March 7, 2017:

Base Measure Required in All Projects

The program will no longer allow a second project for a home to be submitted without a base measure. All projects must be able to stand on their own merit, and must always include a minimum of at least one base measure.

No Additional Incentive for TSVs in Home Upgrade 

Effective immediately, Thermostatic Shut-off Valves (TSVs) and TSV/low-flow showerhead combinations are not eligible for incentives through the SCE/SoCalGas Home Upgrade program as individual measures. However, Participating Contractors who install these devices in addition to their minimum three qualifying measures can claim the additional energy savings in the Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator, which can help achieve the minimum of 10% energy savings requirement. Please be sure to use the updated Joint Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator v2.1, available for download in the Reference Materials section of the Contractor Website. 

Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Values Update: Test-In Images Submission Requirement

Participating Contractors are currently required to submit test-in blower door and duct test manometer images for Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Values projects. Participating Contractors are also already required to take pictures of pre-retrofit conditions, to be available to the Program if requested, but have not been required to upload them to every project. To allow reviewers to verify test-in values, for all Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Values projects reserved on or after March 7, 2017, Participating Contractors must submit test-in images that meet the following requirements:

  1. Test-in images of the following must be submitted to VisionDSM before the QA or QA/QC review can be performed: blower door manometer, duct test manometer, attic insulation, knee wall insulation, crawlspace insulation, water heaters, HVAC equipment (central furnaces and AC condensers, wall furnaces, floor furnaces, mini-splits, heat pumps, and PTACs), HVAC ducts and windows.

Please review the Advanced Home Upgrade Photo Documentation table, available for download in the Reference Materials section of the Contractor Website, for details on what images need to be captured along with examples of the images.

2. Images for wall insulation are only required when the Participating Contractor is claiming a test-in wall insulation value different from the vintage default R-value for wall insulation.

3. When submitting images of equipment, please include an in-focus, legible image of the data plate and an overall image of the actual equipment.

4. All images must include an in-camera date-stamp from the day the test-in inspection was performed.

5. For homes with an existing heat pump HVAC or heat pump DHW system, provide verification that the equipment is a heat pump system.

6. If a hazardous condition prevents blower door and duct testing, submission of manometer images will not be required and default values for building air leakage and duct leakage will be used in the test-in energy model.

If images are not submitted, the reviewer will make a collaborative QC call to request the missing images. If the contractor is not able to supply images, the project will not be processed.

 

SoCalGas Updates

Advanced Home Upgrade 50% Project Cost Incentive Cap

Effective for SoCalGas Advanced Home Upgrade projects reserved beginning March 7, 2017, project incentives will be now be capped at a maximum of 50% of the project cost. Please be sure to use the updated Advanced Home upgrade Incentive Calculator v7.2, available for download in the Reference Materials section of the Contractor Website. 

Please note that the Advanced Home Upgrade Custom Values test-in photo requirements noted in the SCE/SoCalGas program above also apply to the SoCalGas program. The program continues to require a base measure in all projects and continues to offer additional energy savings in the Home Upgrade Incentive Calculator for installation of a TSV or TSV/low-flow showerhead combination. 

 

QC Corner

The following topics were presented during the 2017 Program Year Kick-Off event. These new guidelines went into effect on February 7, 2017. Full details are available in Technical Training section of the presentation slides (available for download on the Contractor Website - select the Past Training Presentations tab under SCE/SoCalGas Program Documents), and in the forthcoming updated Inspection Guidelines.

Red Work Zone (RWZ)

The California Mechanical Code (CMC) states that a 36-inch clearance between the gas pressure regulator and a possible ignition source is required. A Participating Contractor's work could be in compliance with the CMC, yet out of compliance with the Home Upgrade program. A project may pass city inspection, but possibly fail the Program's RWZ requirements. Please remember that the Program is the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Program guidelines take precedence over the CMC.

The program's definition of RWZ has now been changed to better align with the CMC. The RWZ is now defined as the area within a three-foot radius measured from the opening of the gas pressure regulator vent's centerline. Please refer to the new RWZ illustration to be sure proper distance is maintained for all equipment installed, repaired or modified as part of the scope of work (SOW).

  • Objects prohibited from the RWZ include gas and electric appliances and central AC condensing units. This does not apply to conduit and low voltage wires, in their intended modes of use or operation.
  • No combustion-air vents or operable windows may be installed as part of the project's SOW within the area designated as the RWZ.
  • Existing conditions encroaching within the RWZ will require a recommendation for correction. A Notice of Unsatisfactory Condition (from the QC inspector) or a Notice of Field Identified Recommendation (from the Participating Contractor) must be issued. Conditions created within the RWZ as part of the SOW will require correction before the issuance of an incentive.

Any project that is currently in Appeal status for a RWZ issue based on the old RWZ guidelines will now fall under the new RWZ guidelines.

 

Gas Leakage Testing

The following is a new procedure for unconfined gas meter sets, outdoor appliances and associated piping that are not part of the scope of work, and/or have no direct effect on the living space:

  • The auditor shall use olfactory testing (smell test). Please note that persons not sensitive to the odorant in natural gas must use an electronic detector on all accessible meter sets, gas lines, line valves, gas control valves, pilot lines, joints and fittings.  
  • If a gas odor is present or the homeowner has reported a gas odor, an electronic leak detector must be used to identify the leak(s). Once the leak has been identified, a leak detection solution must be applied to confirm the leak.
  • The homeowner must be prompted to contact SoCalGas to repair any gas leaks at the meter or associated piping.

The following procedure has not changed for gas meter sets, appliances and associated piping that may have a direct effect on the living space and appliances that are part of the SOW:

  • The auditor must use an electronic leak detector at one inch per second to identify any leaks at the meter sets, gas lines, line valves, gas control valves, pilot lines, joints and fittings where applicable. If leaks are detected, they must be confirmed with a leak detection solution.
  • If a gas leak is identified on the customer's side of the meter and you are certified to repair the leak (C-4, C-20, or C-36 license required), you may do so. Retest for gas leaks after the repair is made and inform the homeowner of the repair. If you are not certified to make the repair, isolate the leak if possible, retest to ensure the leak has been isolated and inform the homeowner to call SoCalGas.
  • Have the homeowner contact SoCalGas to repair any gas leaks at the meter or associated piping.
  • If a catastrophic gas leak is present, immediately evacuate the home and call SoCalGas from outside!

Partner with other Participating Contractors to Grow Your Business!

Are you looking to expand your business by offering your services for hire to other professionals?

The Contractor Partnerships page helps connect Participating Contractors/Raters looking to hire others for installation of specific measures, testing and project processing with Participating Contractors/Raters offering these services - a win-win opportunity for both companies.

If you would like to be included on this list, please take our short survey to indicate which services you would like to offer. 

 

BPI Building Analyst Training

Monday, March 13 through Saturday, March 18

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Classroom Training location: Hampton Inn by Hilton, 10900 Yamaha Way, Cypress, CA 90630

Field Training Test Home will be located in Mission Viejo.

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. The written exam will be given on Thursday morning, and individual field exams will be scheduled Thursday and Friday (and potentially Saturday depending on the number of candidates enrolled).