SoCalGas Program Reviews
As of January 1, 2018, Richard Heath & Associates Inc. (RHA) was given the responsibility of reviewing projects submitted to the SoCalGas® Program. For more than six years, RHA has been performing reviews for projects submitted to the SCE/SoCalGas service territories giving them valuable experience that will transfer to the SoCalGas Program. Most contactors will notice very little change when it comes to the desktop review portion of their projects.
From time to time, RHA's review team may reach out to a contractor or an auditor when a question or an issue arises on a project. Depending on the issue(s), you may receive an email or a phone call from one of the reviewers to discuss the situation as part of our Collaborative QC Process (CQC). RHA has been utilizing the CQC process in the SCE/SoCalGas program since January of 2015. This process has been quite helpful in communicating detailed information so contractors can easily understand what is needed in order for them to perform the work or provide whatever information or documentation is required to move a project forward.
If you have any questions regarding the review process or the CQC process, please feel free to contact
- Daniel Galvez, Home Upgrade QA/QC Program Manager: Email.
Speed Up Incentive Processing
To better serve our contractors, the program creates detailed reports complied from data on each project submitted to the Home Upgrade program. This data provides valuable information that is used to identify areas that we, as a program, need to focus on when it comes to Technical Training and contractor communications. One of the more useful aspects of the data collected is a list of items that cause a project to go to Appeal or Pending Contractor Action status. We have created two documents that act as reminders for particular issues a contractor should be on the lookout for. These documents are located on the contractor's website and are updated on a regular basis.
We have completed our review for calendar year 2017. Below we have included the top three field-identified issues, and the top three QA/QC review issues from 2017. A more comprehensive list can be found within the following documents:
Top Three Field Issues for 2017:
- Mechanical Ventilation
- Gas Leaks and
Top Three Review Issues for 2017:
- Energy Modeling Issues
- Missing Documentation and
- Missing Vision Data
As the contractor makes their last trip to the home, special care should be taken to ensure that the Top 10 Field-Identified QC Issues have all been addressed prior to leaving the site. When the project is Post Retrofit submitted, take a few extra moments to be certain all the items listed on the Top QA/QC Review Issues That May Delay Incentive Payment have been addressed. By following these simple steps on all your projects, there is a good chance you can reduce return trips to the home and expedite incentive payment to your customer.
Supercharge Your Building's Air Sealing
One of the first principles taught in Building Science is the importance of air sealing. Controlling the infiltration or exfiltration of a building can increase energy efficiency by allowing the HVAC system to work more effectively while at the same time improving indoor air quality. Maintaining a tight building envelope is essential in the world of true whole home performance.
Over time, the process of air sealing has remained the same; caulk windows and doors, add weather stripping, close-off soffits and open building cavities, seal recessed lighting and electrical boxes, as well as pipe and wiring penetrations. For the most part, contractors have performed these jobs the same way for decades. While the sealing products have changed over time, the process itself has remained the same - that is, until now.
The folks at AeroBarrier have revolutionized how to air seal a building. Their process is quite simple and might cause you to ask yourself, "why didn't I think of that?" Keep in mind that the AeroBarrier process (sometimes referred to as AeroSeal) is designed for new construction and gut renovations, not occupied homes. If you find yourself working on a project where a major renovation is taking place and the occupant's belongings have been removed, you might consider offering this product to your client.
The AeroBarrier process is designed to seal gaps as large as ½-inch down to gaps the size of a human hair. The way it works is quite simple. A series of spray nozzles are arranged throughout the home and an exterior door is fit with a standard blower door. Before beginning the process, a baseline blower door reading is taken. The home is then pressurized with the blower door and the spray nozzles are turned on and emit a fine mist of AeroBarrier's sealant. With a higher pressure inside the home than outdoors, the mist is forced from the home's interior through gaps left by the construction process.
By pressurizing the home, the sealant flows through all gaps (many not identified or addressed by conventional air sealing methods). As the mist passes through the gaps, it deposits itself there and begins to close off the opening. The more the sealant flows through the opening, the smaller the gap becomes until it is completely sealed off. While the process is taking place, technicians monitor the data from the blower door and chart the tightening of the home in real time, giving the contractor measured results in very impressive ACH values. AeroBarrier estimates a typical single-family home might take four hours to complete the process from start to finish. By performing this process, contractors will no longer have to crawl through attics and crawlspaces to identify and seal each gap on an individual basis while still obtaining questionable results.
This process has been in development and improved over a number of years. Multiple case studies are available, as AeroBarrier has worked in conjunction with U.S. Department of Energy, Western Cooling Efficiency Center at U.C. Davis, Alliance for Residential Building Innovation, Habitat for Humanity and others to develop and fine-tune this process. For more information visit the AeroBarrier website.
NOTE: This is not an endorsement nor an advertisement for AeroBarrier, their products, or process. The content herein this section is meant for informational purposes only. The Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program, sponsored by SCE and SoCalGas, attempts to keep participating contractors and auditors informed about the latest advances in emerging technologies and products related to whole home energy efficiency.