Rebates and incentives vary by location and provider but could include utility company incentives, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act rebates, water company rebates, city rebates, and federal tax credits. Depending on the energy savings, homeowners could receive more than $4,500—even more for improvements like new heating and cooling systems or green building enhancements. Contractors, raters and homeowners can learn more about local rebates and incentives on the program’s central resource website at www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org.
Energy Upgrade California is an exciting new statewide program that can help homeowners save money on home energy upgrade projects. The projects can potentially lower your utility bills, increase a home’s energy and water efficiency, and create a more comfortable home.
The Basic Package requires a predetermined set of upgrade measures and no energy savings models are needed. The scope of work for an Advanced Package is customized for each home based on the results of a whole house assessment. Rebate amounts for Advanced Package jobs are determined by the total energy savings calculated with program-approved modeling software which is currently only EnergyPro.
Rebates are provided to qualified customers on a first-come, first-serve basis until the program funds are no longer available. Funding is expected to allow thousands of property owners to participate. The Pacific Gas and Electric Whole House Rebate Program, part of Energy Upgrade California, is scheduled to run until the end of 2012.
All property owners of existing single family homes in PG&E territory can participate in the Program if they own an eligible property. Homeowners are not required to reside in their home to participate in the Program. Rebates and incentives vary by location.
Yes, but any Basic upgrades completed during the Basic upgrade would then become part of the existing home conditions when calculating energy savings achieved through the Advanced Package upgrades. The goal is to complete this as one job, with only one rebate application.
In general, utility providers in the Energy Upgrade California Program issue rebates to homeowners for whom they provide gas or electric service. If PG&E provides natural gas service to the home, but electricity is obtained from a utility provider other than PG&E, PG&E will prorate the rebate according to the proportion of total savings attributable to natural gas.
Work can begin prior to submitting the pre-installation documentation but no assurance can be given to the homeowner regarding eligibility for a rebate. Documentation of pre-installation conditions submitted to the Program must accurately represent the home conditions observed by the participating contractor or rater before any energy upgrade work began. Build It Green offers no assurance that the job will be eligible for a rebate until the pre-installation application is reviewed and a Notice to Proceed is issued.
The Program is currently available for single family detached homes. The Program will eventually be extended to include multi-family properties and commercial buildings. Check www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org for updates and more details.
Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) Certification
For Advanced Package jobs a BPI-certified Building Analyst Professional (BPI BA) must complete the home performance assessments in accordance with the Building Performance Institute Technical Standards for the Building Analyst Professional and the Program's Whole House Action Guidelines. A BPI-certified professional must perform or supervise the performance of all combustion appliance safety (CAS) testing. For Advanced Package jobs, at least one of the Participating Contractor’s employees must be a BPI BA. If the Participating Contractor is a BPI accredited contracting company, the BPI-BA must take responsibility for and sign off on any diagnostics or installation performed by uncertified employees. For Basic Package jobs, the BPI-BA is not required to be an employee of the Participating Contractor. Participating raters are all required to be BPI certified and follow BPI and Whole House Action Guidelines for the Program.
CAS testing must be performed for both Advanced and Basic Package jobs in compliance with Building Performance InstituteTechnical Standards for the Building Analyst Professional, Combustion Safety and Carbon Monoxide Protection protocols. This inspection includes all of the following tests: carbon monoxide (CO) measurement at each appliance, draft measurement and spillage evaluation for atmospherically vented appliances, and worst-case negative pressure measurement for each combustion appliance zone (CAZ). Combustion safety test results must be acted upon according to the CombustionSafety Action Level table specified in the standard. A BPI-certified professional must perform or supervise CAS testing for both Advanced and Basic Package jobs.
No, BPI accredited contracting companies sign an Accreditation Agreement stating that all employees will comply with strict procedures and conform to stringent quality assurance protocols. BPI accredited contracting companies commit to educate consumers on a whole-house comprehensive approach even when a comprehensive package of services is not purchased, and they must remain in compliance with BPI’s Quality Assurance Program requirements. In this Program, the CAS testing for each home performance assessment must be performed by a BPI certified professional or a representative from a BPI accredited company.
The steps for becoming a BPI Certified Professional can be found at: http://www.bpi.org/professionals_process.aspx. Attending preparatory training with a BPI Affiliate organization is recommended, but not required. Find information on training by visiting www.bpi.org and click on Training. A valid email address is required when submitting the application for a written examination. Ecology Action offers subsidized BPI training. Visit https://contractor-training-ca.org/ for details.
No, BPI will inform candidates directly via email of their exam results.
All BPI accredited contracting companies must agree to abide by the terms and conditions in the Accreditation Agreement to ensure Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) for all contractors and raters throughout the year. You must employ BPI certified professionals, including one Building Analyst Professional and one specialty certification (Envelope, Heating, or Air Conditioning/Heat Pump), as appropriate to your core services. Learn more ata href="http://www.bpi.org/companies.aspx">http://www.bpi.org/companies.aspx
Contractor Application Enrollment Requirements
Participating Contractors have been specifically trained for Energy Upgrade California and have met required qualifications to be part of the Program. All Energy Upgrade California Participating Contractors have a valid California contractor’s license, appropriate bonding, and have specified certifications and/or training for the work being performed. In addition, Participating Contractors are experts in energy efficiency and are trained in the “whole house” concept and the comprehensive “whole house” diagnostic assessments.
A Contractor State License Board, B license (General Contractor ) OR a combination of C-2 (Insulation) and C-20 (HVAC) licenses satisfy the minimum credential requirements for the Basic package. A CSLB B license is required for the Advanced package. In addition, a California contractor’s license appropriate to the scope of work is required for contractors performing Basic and/or Advanced Package upgrades. Classifications C2, C4, C5, C6, C7, C9, C10, C16, C17, C20, C33, and C38 are some of the contractor’s licenses appropriate to the work required in the Energy Upgrade California Program.
No, only your general contractor’s license number is needed.
You must carry a minimum of $1,000,000 limits in general liability insurance, automobile liability insurance (if the automobile is owned by your business), and workers compensation liability. Commercial Liability must name Build It Green and PG&E as additional insured.
You can provide a print-out of your company’s page on the CSLB website to demonstrate when your license was approved or bank statements showing activity occurring for at least the past two years.
Ecology Action is providing subsidized BPI certification training but space is limited. Visit https:// contractor-training-ca.org/ for more information.
The Basic Package training is a required course if you do not already have a BPI-certified professional on staff and it is strongly recommended even if you do. The Basic Package training is a free 3-day course teaches you how to complete Basic upgrades per program requirements. Upon completion of the Basic Package upgrade training you will be eligible to complete Basic Package upgrades for the Energy Upgrade California Program.
In-home Work Requirements
PG&E will not offer rebates to homes that use propane or kerosene, unless you are replacing all of the propane and kerosene appliances with electric appliances before any work related to the PG&E Whole House Rebate Program begins.
Yes, you must perform a walkthrough audit to determine that no Basic Package measures have already been installed. Please read the Basic Package requirements described in the Participant Handbook for more information.
Yes, the purpose of the pre-installation review is (a) to allow for a pre-installation verification and (b) confirm that the home and proposed scope of work qualify for the Program. Changing the scope of work after the job has been authorized to proceed is common and acceptable in this program, as long as the post-installation documentation reflects the actual installed measures rather than the proposed upgrade measures. Keep in mind that the final modeled energy savings (and therefore the final rebate value) will be determined by the actual installed post-installation conditions of the home.
Insulation is required for all visible and accessible hot and cold water pipes within 5 feet of the water heater.
For a Basic Package job, a blower door and duct blaster must be used at the start and finish of air sealing and duct sealing work to know when you have reached your prescriptive targets. Record start and stop values in the jobs reporting template. Additionally, a combustion safety test must be performed by a BPI-certified individual at the start and finish of air sealing and duct sealing work.
Towards the end of the Program, participating contractors will need to complete the job within 45 days of their first assessment or risk losing rebate funds reserved for their job. If more than 45 days pass after the pre-installation home performance assessment, participating contractors or raters may need to resubmit the job.
Yes, because home conditions may have changed since that Title 24 compliance was achieved, all Advanced Package jobs must include pre-installation duct blast and blower door tests.
Low-flow shower heads are recommended but optional in PG&E territory. However, a thermostatic control valve is required for Basic jobs.
BPI BA technical standards indicate that if there are combustion appliances—sealed or open—there has to be a combustion appliance safety check done before and after the upgrade work. We will not authorize any Advanced Package work without it. Although Basic Package jobs are authorized before testing, contractors and raters pursuing Basic package rebates for their homeowners are expected to do the combustion appliance safety testing at the start and end of the upgrade. For any job, the post-installation testing should follow right at the end of sealing.
No, in order to qualify for a Basic Package upgrade, the home must have all of the following elements: attic insulation below R-19, leaky ducts (i.e., the house has not already participated in duct test and seal program and has not had ducts sealed within the past 5 years), and air leaks (i.e., the house has not already had air sealing in home within the past 5 years to 0.35ACHn). If the home does not have duct work at all, it does not qualify for the Basic Package upgrade.
In PG&E territory they are currently encouraged but not required.
Yes, for both Basic and Advanced Package jobs all combustion safety tests must be performed by a BPI BA-certified individual, and it is acceptable for the participating contractor or rater to subcontract a non-staff BPI-BA to perform that test. (Note that having a BPI BA on staff is required for participation in the Advanced Package.) It is also acceptable for a participating contractor or rater to subcontract the pre-installation home performance assessment measures; however, it is the Participant's responsibility to ensure that all measures and work performed in the home follow BPI best practices and standards. Participating Contractors and raters will be accountable for any inadequate work performed by a subcontractor.
Build It Green will not require a duct blaster test on ducts with asbestos. If you replace the ducts, then you should indicate this in the notes field of the job report. If you do nothing to the ducts in the job, just note that you did not test the ducts because of the presence of asbestos. For modeling Advanced Package jobs where you cannot test the duct work, report test-in leakage using the Title 24 default: 28% for homes built before 2001, and 22% for homes built in 2001 or later.
Note that Basic Package jobs require duct sealing and testing, so you cannot perform a Basic Package upgrade on a home if the ductwork has asbestos. The exception: if you replace the ducts, then you can seal them to the Basic Package.
Basic Package upgrades require central air ductwork. They do not require the presence of an air conditioner.
No, BPI compliance and Title 24 compliance are not identical. Because this program is being administered with federal home performance standards, California’s Title 24 standards do not necessarily match the standards of this program. However, achieving compliance with the standards of this program does mean that a home has achieved Title 24 compliance.
Yes, but any efficiency measures achieved through the Title 24 compliance process will act as baseline conditions for calculating a rebate through this program. Any reporting and paperwork associated with each rebate process needs to be completed and submitted separately.
Yes, because home conditions may have changed since that Title 24 compliance was achieved, all Advanced Package jobs must include pre-installation duct blast and blower door tests.
No, combustion safety testing using the Whole House Action Guidelines, augmented BPI procedures for the Program, is mandatory for both the Basic and Advanced Packages. We encourage contractors and raters to explain to the homeowners that this test is a safety measure, and it ensures that combustion appliances aren’t creating a hazardous environment in the home.
Yes, 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. Please view the code here.
No, renewables are not part of this program. If you are completing an Advanced Package job, please do not enter renewables into your home performance assessment model. Please visit Go Solar California for information about solar rebates in your area.
Please provide information about each house using the Interim Jobs Reporting Template (IJRT) for your territory that is available on the Program Portal. The form can be accessed by visiting the Document Library at www.builditgreenutility.org. Please fill out every field in the IJRT.
No, though the pre-installation application must include a proposed scope of work. A copy of a signed contract or invoice between you and your customer will be required in order for us to approve the final rebate. We want to review the model that simulates existing pre-installation conditions and the proposed conditions that the homeowner is expected to approve. We do allow changes to work scope during the course of the job. Please remember that the rebate value is based on the actual installed post-installation measures that will be reported to us after the work is complete. It is your choice how to communicate to your customer that the anticipated savings might not match the final savings.
Make sure that, in addition to entering home energy savings, you are also entering the job cost into the jobs reporting template. The formula at the bottom of the template will calculate the eligible rebate value based on energy savings and the job cost. (Utilities will not pay a rebate that is larger than the jobs cost.) If no job cost is entered, a $0 rebate will be calculated.
The new homeowner will not be excluded from the Advanced package based on her inability to acquire energy use data for the last 12 months, and EnergyPro will still be able to model predicted energy savings without those data. However, your client and you should work with your utility provider to request the last 12 months of data; you might be able to receive that information without participation from the previous homeowner. Do your best to collect as much information as possible about past energy use.
We request that you obtain 12 months of past utility bill usage data for both Basic and Advanced Package jobs.
You can submit homeowners’ utility bill history by (a) adding a new worksheet to the IJRT and entering it there, (b) entering the history at the bottom of the existing worksheet of the IJRT, or (c) entering it via Green Energy Compass under Meter data.
The rebate value is $1000 for all Basic Package upgrades. Advanced Package rebate values are determined by the simulated energy savings achieved by the upgrade and are listed below.
- 10% savings: $1,000
- 15% savings: $1,500
- 20% savings: $2,000
- 25% savings: $2,500
- 30% savings: $3,000
- 35% savings: $3,500
- 40% savings: $4,000
- 45% savings: $4,500
Advanced rebate values are determined by the calculated percent energy savings achieved by the upgrade measures. This percent savings is derived from an approved post-installation energy simulation based on the actual post-installation home conditions. Note that the estimated post-installation energy savings that you model before work begins may not match the simulated energy savings modeled based on actual post-installation measures. This can happen of the scope of work changes during the job or if test-out results are different from what you expected to achieve.
The utility provider issues the homeowner’s rebate check. Build It Green submits the rebate application to PG&E, which initiates the rebate check process, but Build It Green does not issue checks. Checks are processed in 6-8 weeks.
No, PG&E is required to remit the check directly to the PG&E accountholder.
A customer is not disqualified from the PG&E Whole House Rebate Program if they are also receiving a rebate for an individual energy saving measure (e.g., new gas furnace or attic insulation). However, if the individual measure is part of the Whole House Rebate Program job scope, the Whole House Rebate Program rebate value will be reduced by the value of the individual measure rebate. For example, if a customer receives a $250 rebate for installing a new gas furnace, and that gas furnace installation is part of the scope of work for a Whole House Rebate Program upgrade that earns a $3,000 rebate, the adjusted whole house rebate check value will be reduced to $2,750.
Field Verification and Mentoring
Separate sampling is done for each contractor and rater. Sampling is not strictly random; each new contractor will have their initial 3 out of 5 jobs verified. Verification can take place before the upgrades are installed to ensure test-in numbers match what was submitted for review and the scope of work is valid or after the job has been completed to ensure quality work and safety, as well as to ensure that complete BPI testing protocols and program requirements are met.
- Tier 1: In-field inspection on 3 of the first 5 jobs performed by a new contractor.
- Tier 2: After the first 5 jobs are completed and Tier 1 is satisfactorily passed, at least 4 of the next 20 jobs will receive in-field inspections (20% verified).
- Tier 3: After completion of a contractors first 25 jobs:
- a 5% verification rate of total submitted jobs is maintained for advanced contractors (1 in 20);
- a 2% rate for BPI-Accredited contractors, with PG&E approval
- a 15% verification rate for basic contractors (1 in 7)
After successfully completing Tier 1 & 2 above, on-site field inspections are selected randomly from the contractor’s subsequent job list in order to obtain an unbiased sample of the work. This also serves to prevent the contractor from predicting which projects will be selected—a strong deterrent against breaking the program rules and/or misreporting. However, the sample will not always be purely random. For example, some homeowners will not want to schedule an inspection, while other homeowners may request an inspection due to issues about work performed, and then some inspections may be conducted as a result of the issues raised in the job report review process.
Yes, PG&E will inspect all jobs completed in the Program to ensure combustion appliances are in working condition and safe. The PG&E inspection does not count towards a company’s QA sampling rate. Build It Green does coordinate, as much as possible, with PG&E to coincide QA field verification visits in an effort to limit the disturbance to the homeowner. The PG&E inspector will identify themselves when contacting the homeowner by phone and they will present their PG&E ID at the customer’s door. Homeowners can also call the Residential Customer Service Center 1-800-PGE-5000 or 1-800-743-5000 to verify that the field inspector is an authorized PG&E employee.
All contractors and raters approved for the PG&E Whole House Rebate Program are eligible for mentoring. Build It Green may, however, may terminate mentoring rights for any contractor or rater who is making inadequate progress or otherwise showing inadequate ability and commitment to contracting work. In those cases, the judgment of the mentor and program administrator shall be final.
Build It Green offers no-cost mentoring to newly approved participating contractors and raters in the Program on Basic or Advanced jobs (ideally the first five jobs). The purpose of mentoring is to ensure that new Participating contractors are using the whole house approach, following BPI national standards, and providing quality home performance services to customers. The mentoring session may occur during any stage of the upgrade: test-in, installation, or test-out. If the mentor session is in conjunction with the day of the test-out, it will count as a job verification. (Verifications will cost participating contractors or raters $500 plus verifier mileage expenses).
Mentoring may be requested by filling out a Mentoring Request Form. A Participating contractor or rater should first identify an available home, and then contact Build It Green at email@example.com to negotiate the earliest possible date that both the contractor and a mentor are available. Please do not call an individual mentor to request mentoring. We cannot guarantee immediate availability of mentoring personnel, but we will do our best to meet each contractor’s needs.
For each home mentored, the contractor must submit template complete IJRT with the home’s utility usage data for the previous 12 months through Green Energy Compass online.