New Portal Live; Job Submission Videos Available

In order to help you navigate the new portal, we’ll be posting tutorials walking you through the submission process.

The 2019 Job Submission Guide is available as a resource in the Document Library under Submitting Jobs.

Your account manager will also be scheduling time to go through the new portal and answer any questions you have. Once you’ve been given access, you can start submitting jobs at https://portal.builditgreen.org/homeupgrade/s/.

Additional resources will be posted to the Library, so check back!

First up: Creating a Pre-Install Application.

Please check back over the next few weeks for any updates or additional submission videos. Thanks!

Thermostats: Set Points & Offers

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s time to turn up the heat!

Programmable Thermostat Set Points

When modeling thermostat set points in energy modeling software, the Program requires the use of software defaults. This helps keep predicted savings conservative and in closer alignment with actual savings and realization rates (on average), better managing customer incentive expectations.

For SnuggPro, please select thermostat type (e.g., programmable, non-programmable, etc.) and leave the set-point input fields blank, as this will prompt the software to populate those fields with default range values. Based on weather station and bill data (if available), SnuggPro picks the best values for the modeled building. Desktop QA will be looking to verify the following:

The default thermostat setpoints for SnuggPro (when left blank during input):
Heating (High/At Home) = 64-72 F
Heating (Low/Not at Home) = 60-68 F
Cooling (High/Not at Home) = 76-88 F
Cooling (Low/At Home) = 72-82 F

For OptiMiser, the software uses default values also, based on weather station and bill data (if available). Please do not change them. Desktop QA will be looking to verify the following:

OptiMiser existing buildings default (Simple Mode)

Heating (1 Set-Back/Programmable)
Day Temp: 70 F
Night Temp: 68F

Cooling (1 Set-Back/Programmable)
Home Temp: 78 F
Away Temp: 78 F


Heating (2 Set-Back Programmable/Smart)
Home/Wake Temp: 70 F
Work/Sleep Temp: 68 F

Cooling (2 Set-Back Programmable/Smart)
Home/Wake Temp: 78 F
Work/Sleep Temp: 78 F

Smart Thermostat Offer

Build It Green has partnered with Ecobee to provide an exciting volume discount exclusively for our participating contractors. The Ecobee 3lite thermostat will be available at the +10,000 unit price when ordered in full case quantities of eight, and Ecobee will pay the shipping. The Ecobee 3lite is compatible with all 24 volt comfort systems including two stage air handlers and heat pump systems. Contact your Build It Green account representative for more information.

Completed Costs in Projects

Many of you have noticed that we’re asking for tighter reporting in the “Completed Costs” field when submitting jobs. Before inputting the total “Completed Cost” within the Portal, ensure that you only include the total costs for measures that can be claimed for an incentive within the Advanced Home Upgrade Program. Refer to the Participant Handbook for reference on which measures can be related to the “Completed Cost” total. By including an accurate cost of the upgrades and relating that cost to the customer pay-back of energy savings over time, we can better evaluate how effective the Program really is.

This relates directly to our “Total Resource Cost” (TRC) Program metric. The cost-effectiveness of this Program and other utility-sponsored (ratepayer funded) programs is judged on the TRC metric. TRC is calculated by adding up all the costs to implement the program: implementation costs (Build It Green), utility staff costs (PG&E), incentive amounts paid to customers, and the customer participation cost (the cost of the energy efficiency upgrade work scope). The ratio of ‘savings delivered’ to ‘all costs’ incurred by the program is 1:1 or greater. The Home Upgrade Program (in fact, most residential programs) struggles greatly to meet this TRC goal. “Completed cost” reporting changes will help reduce over-reporting of incentive-tied customer costs and help us better characterize actual program TRC going forward, allowing us to deliver better value for the ratepayer dollar relative to customer “per project” investment.

The chart below displays the overall impact of customers’ total per-project cost on the Program costs as they relate to savings when calculating the TRC metric.

Desktop Mentoring is Available

Desktop Review has a question for you?!

Have you had a change in admin staff or are you training new staff to submit Advanced Home Upgrade applications? Schedule a Desktop Review mentoring session.

Each contractor has five (5) FREE mentoring sessions to utilize. Why not get that extra help with CAS form confusion? Contact the Desktop Review team at desktopqareview@builditgreen.org now if you are in need of extra training.

Post-Install Monitoring with OpenEE

In order to build a more effective program, we are about to begin requiring post-install data sharing on all AHU projects. This will allow us to pave the road for the eventual transition of Advanced Home Upgrade to a Pay for Performance delivery model.

We’ve started walking contractors through getting customers to share data using a “Green Button” link and how to use the OpenEE dashboards to see how your installations are performing over the long term. Contact us if you want to speed up your company’s onboarding.

Data sharing will be required as of August 1, 2018, we suggest you add the data sharing component into your customer SOW immediately.

Data sharing instructions:

There are two ways to initiate the data share, either by sending an email link or having the customer sign into their PG&E account and initiate the share that way. Not all customers have registered at PGE.com yet, and they will need to do so in order to share their data.

Get the email link which can be used to initiate the Share My Data process by emailing it to the customer.

Download and print the customer hand-out PDF, which has instructions the customer can use to activate their data sharing with Build It Green.

What this does for you the contractor:

  • Contractors who work with Build it Green will finally be able to see the savings associated with their projects and be recognized for their quality work
  • By better understanding how different measures perform, contractors will be able to use those results to deliver better savings on future projects

What this does for your customer:

  • Data sharing with us offers an approved way for Build It Green to securely request energy usage data needed to calculate the energy savings of completed home energy retrofits
  • For the first time, we will be able to measure the actual energy savings of recently installed efficiency projects. Gathering this information will help us target incentives and deliver better savings for less money

How to sell-in and answer customer questions:

  • Who can view their meter data? The contractor, Build It Green (for verification and analysis), and OpenEE who created the dashboard
  • Is the data private beyond that? Absolutely, all PII data (Personally Identifiable Information) is kept confidential as specified by our terms of agreement with PG&E
  • Is this really a requirement? Yes, data sharing is required for participation in both Cool Savers and Advanced Home Upgrade. Validating the actual earned savings from upgrade jobs is the future for energy efficiency programs going forward
  • Can I end data sharing once the participation period is over? Yes, when the two year participation period is complete you may terminate the data share through your PGE.com account
  • What happens if I terminate the data share early? You’ll be removed from other bonus incentive pools on Cool Savers and potential bonus pools on Advanced Home Upgrade (not in place yet)

Selling in:

  • Your meter data is secure and only viewed by program implementers who’ve signed agreements to protect customer data
  • Meter data allows us to track the actual savings against projected savings. We will be able to see if your upgrades are performing the way we expected them to
  • We will see alerts when upgrades aren’t performing and be able to check why, potentially saving you more money
  • You’ll know that you got the performance that you expected and paid for

FQC Scoring for the New Portal

Build It Green Field Quality Control is in the process of enhancing the scoring system (F0-F1, D0-D1, P0-P1). We want to hear from you, our contractor and independent building analyst communities, in how we can make our scoring system more meaningful. We’ll be reaching out to Program participants in the weeks ahead for your input.

Get Mentoring for Your Team

Field mentoring sessions at test-out are a win-win for everyone involved: the customer, the contractor, and Build It Green. The purpose of field mentoring is to provide feedback for Program participants to ensure Program requirements are adhered to – such as Combustion Appliance Safety testing and home performance testing – and to ensure quality installations for customers.

Each Participating Independent Building Analyst or Contractor is eligible for up to five mentoring sessions per year, free of charge. All personnel (sales, management, and installation staff) are strongly encouraged to participate in the in-field mentoring session. Field mentoring sessions at test-out may be counted toward your FQC sampling rate.

An FQC verifier may witness a test-out in lieu of an FQC inspection to minimize the number of visits to the customer. The mentoring session at test-out is an opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring from Build It Green to improve quality installation.

Participants will have an opportunity to correct any deficiencies identified before an FQC score is determined. If any issues identified require corrective action, correction(s) must be completed before the application can be processed for payment. Fixing issues at the test-out mentoring session will minimize go-backs for contractors and provide less inconvenience to the customers.

To schedule field mentoring at test-out, first identify an available home, then contact Build It Green at 510-590-3360 ext. 607 or fieldqc@builditgreen.org to schedule an appointment.

10 Tips to Sail Through FQC and CIP

Following these tips will help you spend less time on go-backs and remediating problems so you can spend more time selling and installing new jobs.

 

1. Keep EUC materials on-hand for reference. Use resources such as the NGAT Action Guidelines, Make Safe Procedure, 2016 Whole House Combustion Appliance Safety Test Procedure, and Home Upgrade Installation Specs.

 

2. Communicate with your team. Incorporate testing and quality installation requirements as topics in your regular meetings with field staff to ensure all health, safety, and program requirements are met.

 

3. Take ownership. Participating contractors are responsible for the work listed in their signed scope of work (e.g. measures claimed for the application) and for the safe operation of all combustion safety appliances. Regardless if combustion appliances are included in the signed scope of work agreement, per program requirements, you are still responsible for making sure the appliance operates safely. Are you only doing an HVAC changeout, but the water heater is spilling and has insufficient CVA? In this example you are still responsible correcting the safety issues with the water heater.

 

4. Be thorough! Test all accessible gas lines and follow all testing protocols when inspecting combustion appliance safety.

 

5. FQC visits are program requirements and help ensure success. Keep homeowners informed that they may be selected for a Build it Green field quality control inspection or a PG&E CIP inspection. All jobs with incentive amounts greater than $10K require mandatory PG&E CIP inspections.

 

6. Be prepared and plan ahead. Go-backs are costly and take away from your company’s productivity. Whether it’s for safety, energy-saving measures, or mechanical ventilation installation, it’s important to be prepared to remedy any issues before the job’s completion.

 

7. Communicate with the homeowner. Many customer complaints arise from misquoting rebate amounts, not discussing the importance of safety and field quality control requirements, and not following up with customer complaints. These are all fixable by communicating expectations with homeowners and following up in a timely manner. Let the homeowner know what to expect from the beginning of the job through its completion and follow up!

 

8. Document, document, document. From safety concerns to recommendations for a customer to install mechanical ventilation, we recommend contractors document all issues that arise. Take photos for your file and use the test measurements form to submit records for the Build It Green Desktop Review and Field Quality Control teams.

 

9. Incorporate balanced ventilation strategies. While auditors must observe indoor air quality and ventilation requirements on every project, it is particularly important when Whole Building Air Sealing is performed. Although BPI-1200 currently references ASHRAE 62.2-2013 for whole-building ventilation requirements, California references a version of ASHRAE 62-2010. Build It Green recommends all participating contractors consult their local code-enforcement for ventilation requirements during work-scope development prior to installation on all projects.

 

10. Air seal thoroughly. A best practice whole-house approach for a typical Home Upgrade Program project would be to air seal as much as possible to reduce energy loss and to provide balanced mechanical ventilation while minimizing unwanted pollutants from entering the home. For a helpful resource, Build It Green recommends referencing the online ASHRAE 62.2-2010 (California) mechanical ventilation calculator located here (an ASHRAE 62.2 2013 mechanical ventilation calculator is also available).

Top 10 Tips for Fast App Approval

  1. Make sure that the address has not previously applied for or received a rebate for the measures applied for in the project. Contact our customer service department for address verification.
  2. Verify that all of the measures you are claiming qualify for the program. Check available measures in the Participant Handbook.
  3. Verify with the customer that their PG&E SA IDs are up to date and active, and make sure they are recorded properly on the application form. We suggest obtaining the most current copy of the utility statements.
  4. Make sure to verify with the customer the correct mailing address where the rebate should be sent. If the rebate is going to someone other than the account holder, please supply the Rebate Assignment Form, available in the Documents Library.
  5. Make sure all documents required are fully completed and uploaded before submitting the application. Please refer to the Desktop QA checklist for all required documents. (Tip: Unsigned/undated SQA forms are one of the biggest causes of returned applications.)
  6. Make sure to document and upload photos for attic insulation, building leakage, duct leakage, asbestos, and manometer measurements.
  7. Digital signatures for all documents are only accepted with DocuSign or Adobe Sign stamps. If these stamps are not available, please use wet signatures.
  8. Make sure the energy model is consistent with the measures outlined in the SOW and testing results that are recorded from the CAS forms.
  9. Make sure that all sections of the CAS forms are filled out completely. If there are sections that need to be left blank, please make sure notes are provided in the notes sections.
  10. Make sure the proper finalized building permit is provided for A/C and/or heat pump installations for all projects.
    • Finalized permits are different from permit applications and open permits (and usually include a building inspector’s signature and date).
    • The finalized mechanical permit must be signed and dated by the inspector before submitting the post application.

Doing it right the first time saves time and money for your company. It’s a win for you, the customer, the home performance industry, and for energy-efficiency programs.

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