#NiceWork: Insulation Dams

Note: “#NiceWork” is Build It Green’s new series to highlight examples of quality installations and best practices. 

What do we like about this photo, taken from a Home Upgrade job? “It shows a good use of dams to prevent insulation spillover from a vaulted ceiling in an attic,” says Javier Montalbo, Build It Green’s Senior Project Associate for Field Quality Control. “The use of dams in areas like this or around attic hatches is key to maintaining R-value over time.” #NiceWork!

Way to go, Maki Heating & Air Conditioning, for doing a great job!

Questions? Contact Build It Green’s Field Quality Control at 510-590-3360 x 607 or fieldqc@homeupgrade.org.

 

 

2-4 Unit Jobs and Required Observation

A reminder: Unless they are pre-approved, program guidelines require BPI-certified professionals to undergo an on-site observation by Build It Green on test-in and test-out events for a contractor’s initial 2-4 unit job. If you have a 2-4 unit job in your pipeline, email jobs@homeupgrade.org at least 10 days in advance of the projected test-in/test-out date to coordinate the observation. See section 4.3 of the Participant Handbook for more information.

Home Upgrade Work in Confined Spaces

Confined space hazards in crawl spaces and attics have led to recent worker deaths. As a response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed a new construction standard for confined spaces (20 CFR 1926 Subpart AA [pdf]). This update more closely aligns the federal OSHA standard with existing Cal/OSHA regulations. Regardless, follow the more stringent health and safety requirements, if applicable, to your job-site jurisdiction.

As a reminder, Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade requires all program participants to “obtain all legally-required building permits and comply with contractor licensing and certification requirements, applicable building codes, and all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations,” per your participation agreement (for raters or contractors).

For more information on the new standard, contact OSHA at 800-321-6742 or view the Confined Spaces Standard. For Cal-OSHA call 800-963-9424 or visit their Confined Space Emphasis Program website.

Common Safety Failures to Avoid

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Build It Green would like to remind you that safety is our top priority. We have identified the following common safety failures and guidance in order to help you avoid hazards in the field:

  1. Insufficient clearance to combustibles
  2. Fuzz leaks
  3. Unsecured vents leading to failed spillage

1. Insufficient clearance to combustibles and proper verification:

Verify that all heat producing devices have clearance to combustibles. Per Building Performance Institute (BPI) standards, a minimum of 1-inch clearance is required for B-vents and a minimum of 6-inch clearance is mandatory for single wall vents.

2. Fuzz leaks – how to handle leaks that are detected and verified:

Contractors are responsible for testing all fuel lines and repairing all detectable gas leaks. If contractors are not licensed to repair gas leaks, follow the Whole House Action Guidelines or call a PG&E Gas Service Representative (GSR) at (800) 813-1975. Additionally, ensure that combustion analyzer equipment is calibrated per manufacturer instructions. For instructions on how to test fuel lines for gas leaks, refer to the BPI-1200-S-2015 Standard Practice for Basic Analysis of Buildings (pdf) or contact Build It Green’s Field Quality Control.

3. Unsecured vents – preventing failed spillage

Failed spillage most often results from improperly secured ventilation systems. Improperly sized vent systems may have vent diameters that are too small or too large, vent heights that are too short, or have venting designs with too many elbows. Verify that the draft diverter is aligned and that the vent stacks have sufficient slope, with no signs of corrosion, blockage, or restriction. Ensure vent connections are secure and contain three screws that are a minimum of 120 degrees apart. To properly size vents, refer to venting tables for manufacturer instructions.

Questions? Contact Build It Green’s Field Quality Control at 510-590-3360 x 607 or email fieldqc@builditgreenutility.org.

Schedule Your Field Mentoring Session

Contact Build It Green’s Field Quality Control to schedule an onsite field mentoring session to ensure that you and your staff properly abide by Program standards and use a proper whole house approach. Get answers to your job performance questions plus expert guidance on Building Performance Institute (BPI) and Combustion Appliance Safety (CAS) testing protocols.

Build It Green offers up to five field mentoring sessions per participating contractor or rater. These sessions may coincide with your job test-outs and we strongly encourage multiple personnel to participate.

To request field mentoring, first identify a prospective Home Upgrade job and contact Field Quality Control at 510-590-3360, ext. 607, or emailfieldqc@builditgreen.org.

Do You Install 14 SEER Packaged Air Conditioning Units?

With the recent removal of the 14 SEER Air Conditioning measure from Home Upgrade, we have received feedback that it can be tricky to find packaged heating and air conditioning units that meet the 15 SEER/12.7 EER criteria. Build It Green would like to remind you that Advanced Home Upgrade still allows 14 SEER systems  (i.e., ‘code or better’, as long as it’s an improvement on existing equipment), and savings for incentives are calculated based on energy modeling of existing (pre-installation) equipment and building condition, versus upgraded equipment and building condition.

With the new HPXML software options, it is easier than ever to participate in Advanced Home Upgrade and offer customers larger work scopes with higher savings (up to $6,500!).

Want to get started today? Contact Build It Green at 510-285-6222 or email enrollment@homeupgrade.org.

Reminder: Draft Test Removed from CAS Testing

As a reminder, the “draft test” is no longer required for Combustion Appliance Safety (CAS) testing in the Program. The previous protocol required draft pressure tests for all natural and induced draft space heating systems and water heaters with single-wall flue pipe (optional for B-Vent). Draft testing is not in the soon-to-be-approved replacement for the Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst standards and BPI proctors no longer teach draft testing for certification. Therefore, Home Upgrade program pathways will align with coming BPI standards and no longer require draft pressure testing in the flue.

Boost Your Home Performance Knowledge: Video Series

Want to brush up on your technical skills, learn home performance best practices, gain marketing tips, and more? Check out the video series presented by Measured Home Performance, a building science consultant.

Visit the Sales & Marketing and Tech Skills tabs in the Training Videos section of www.HomeUpgrade.org to view this series as well as videos on financing, program updates, and software and IT.

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Updated Home Upgrade Structure, Updated Estimator Tool

Following the recent changes to the Home Upgrade points-measures structure, Build It Green has updated and aligned the Estimator Tool. Download it on to your laptop and print an estimate for your customer in the field or email it from the office. The latest version of the Home Upgrade Estimator Tool (Excel) can be found on the Document Library.

Draft Test Removed from CAS Testing

Effective immediately, the ‘draft test’ is no longer required for Combustion Appliance Safety (CAS) testing in the Program. The previous protocol required draft pressure tests for all natural and induced draft space heating systems and water heaters with single-wall flue pipe (optional for B-Vent). As draft testing is not in the soon-to-be-approved replacement for the Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst standards and BPI proctors no longer teach draft testing for certification, Home Upgrade program pathways will align with coming BPI standards and no longer require draft pressure testing in the flue.