Frequently Asked Questions from Contractors & Raters

Participation FAQs

What training is required to participate?

Contractors interested in Advanced Home Upgrade need to attend at least one of two primary training courses (attending both is recommended).

  1. Advanced Technical Training – this two-day course is free to participating contractors and required for all BPI certified professionals who are performing CAS testing. Day 2 of this course is hands-on CAS testing training. Build It Green offers this course up to 8 times a year, usually at the PG&E Energy Training Center in Stockton, CA. The course will occasionally be offered in other areas to accommodate contractors who operate in more distant areas of PG&E’s service territory.
  2. Home Upgrade Core Training – this three-day course is free to participating contractors and required for all non-BPI certified professionals who are installing energy efficiency measures as well as contractor office staff who will be answering customer questions or providing support. Attendees will learn fundamentals of building science and gain practical experience with core measures in the Energy Upgrade California program. This course is offered up to 4 times a year, usually at the PG&E Energy Training Center in Stockton, CA.
  3. All-hands Onboarding Session – Build It Green staff will spend 1 day with your company introducing your staff to the program, data & modeling requirements, how to use the contractor portal to upload applications, how Field QC works, how PG&E’s CIP inspection program works, and marketing resources available to contractors.

Visit the Events page to register for an upcoming training.

 

Can raters participate in the Program with multiple contracting companies?

Yes, a rater may work with multiple contracting companies participating in Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade.

What are the requirements for raters participating in Home Upgrade

Rater companies must be BPI BA accredited and possess HERS II Whole House Rater certification. Individual raters must be BPI certified professionals and possess HERS II Whole House Rater Certification.

Are BPI certification scholarships available

Ecology Action provides subsidized BPI certification training, but space is limited. Visit http://www.ecoact.org/  for more information.

If my company is BPI Accredited, will each individual performing a home performance assessment also need to be a BPI BA?

No, BPI Accredited participating contractors sign an Accreditation Agreement stating that all employees will comply with safety and quality assurance protocols, in compliance with BPI’s Quality Assurance Program requirements.  However, CAS testing must be performed by a BPI-certified professional or a representative from a BPI accredited company.

How can my company become BPI Accredited? How do I become a BPI-Certified Professional?

Visit http://www.bpi.org for instructions and upcoming trainings.

What type of certification is required to perform Combustion Appliance Safety (CAS) testing in the Program?

CAS testing must be performed or supervised by a BPI BA for both Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade, in compliance with BPI Technical Standards for the Building Analyst Professional, along with adhering to BPI combustion safety and BPI carbon monoxide protection standards. This inspection includes testing for 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 trigger action based upon the Combustion Safety Action Level table specified in the standard.

What type of Building Performance Institute (BPI) certification is required for Program participation?

A BPI-certified Building Analyst Professional (BPI BA) must complete the home performance assessments in accordance with the BPI Technical Standards for the Building Analyst Professional and Whole House Action Guidelines. A BPI-certified professional must perform or supervise the performance of all Combustion Appliance Safety (CAS) Testing. Additional BPI specializations help differentiate your company in the marketplace and include:

  • BA – Building Analyst
  • ENV/EP – Envelope Professional
  • HEAT – Heating Professional
  • AC – AC/Heat Pump Professional
  • MH – Manufactured Housing
  • IDL – Infiltration & Duct Leakage
  • MFBA – Multifamily Building Analyst

We list these BPI specifications on the Contractor Search function of the PG&E customer website.

What kind of license does my business need to participate?

A CSLB B License is required for Advanced Home Upgrade.  In addition, a CSLB license appropriate to the scope of work is required for contractors performing Advanced Home Upgrade jobs. Classifications C2, C4, C5, C6, C7, C9, C10, C16, C17, C20, C33, and C38 are some of the licenses appropriate for work in the program.

What are the participation requirements?

Contractors must be properly licensed, insured, and attend required trainings. View the full requirements here.  Learn more by registering for a  mandatory introductory webinar; browse the events calendar for the latest sessions.

Marketing FAQs

Can I access contractor sales and marketing trainings?

Yes. Build It Green collaborates with marketing and sales experts to offer monthly and bi-monthly webinars, covering various topics that help you stay on top of industry updates, resources, and techniques to sell home performance and the Home Upgrade program. Visit the Events and Training section for upcoming events.

Where do I find Home Upgrade marketing materials?

Download various homeowner-facing resources, including an Energy Upgrade California brochure and the Energy Upgrade California Home Energy Digest, in the Marketing section of the Document Library.

What are the guidelines for using the Home Upgrade logo?

Program participants may use the Energy Upgrade CA  logo if they follow all of the branding requirements. For details, refer to the Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade Usage & Graphic Standards Guide.

What are the Home Upgrade brand guidelines?

Contractor marketing materials must follow the Energy Upgrade California® Guidelines for Customer Collateral and the Home Upgrade Usage & Graphic Standards Guide. The current version of both of these guides will always be on the Home Upgrade website marketing tab.

https://homeupgrade.org/resources/documents/#marketing

If we are already listed as a rater or contractor on the www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org website, do we need to re‐register in order to be listed on the PG&E Home Upgrade directory?

Yes – visit the enrollment section for Home Upgrade participant requirements.

Performing Jobs FAQs

What happens if I fail my FQC?

Field verification failures will trigger corrective actions. Build It Green will communicate required corrective actions, timing, and documentation protocols required for resolution. Failure to resolve corrective action requirements in the specified timeframe may result in disciplinary action, including increased sampling rates or potential suspension.

How can I find out the results of Build It Green’s Field Quality Control inspections?

Results of completed field verifications are emailed to contractors from Build It Green FQC within days to weeks of the field verification. For more information on completed field verifications, contact Build It Green FQC at (510) 590-3360 ext. 607.

PG&E called my customer to set up a time to inspect the job. Is this a legitimate call?

Yes. PG&E will randomly select and inspect 10% of Home Upgrade applications submitted through PG&E’s rebate processing system. Inspections conducted by PG&E’s Central Inspection Program (CIP) are mandatory. Homeowners can also call the Residential Customer Service Center at (800) PGE-5000 or (800) 743-5000 to verify that the field inspector is an authorized PG&E employee.

How frequently will my company’s jobs be verified in the field?

Field verifications are performed on completed jobs to obtain a representative sample of your company’s work. Separate sampling tiers are established for each contractor and rater based on job performance in accordance with the Home Upgrade program guidelines. For more details on the sampling tiers, see Table 8: Field Verification Sampling Tiers in the Home Upgrade Program Participant Handbook.

How soon after I perform my pre-installation home performance assessment must I complete my post-installation home performance assessment in order to qualify for a rebate?

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.

Can the scope of work change after a job has been authorized to proceed by Build It Green?

Yes, the purpose of the pre-installation review is (a) to allow for a pre-installation verification and (b) to 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.

Are heat pumps eligible?

For Home Upgrade, heat pumps only qualify for the air conditioning measure if the existing system was a heat pump.

When is a blower door or duct blaster test conducted?

Unlike Advanced Home Upgrade, diagnostic testing is dependent on scope of work and is only required at test-out. CAS testing is still required at test-in and test-out.

How can I determine that a Home Upgrade scope I’ve proposed qualifies for the program?

Use the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Estimator Tool to calculate upgrade points and view qualifying upgrades.

When do we call a gas service representative (GSR)?

In instances where an appliance fails the CAS testing, the participating contractor or rater must call a PG&E or SoCalGas GSR, per Whole House Action Guidelines requirements. To schedule a GSR inspection, call PG&E’s Central Inspection Program (CIP) at (800) 813-1975 during normal business hours or the PG&E Smarter Energy line at (800) 743-5000 for 24-hour service. SoCalGas can be reached at (800) 427-2200. The most current version of the Whole House Action Guidelines will always be on the Home Upgrade website Installation tab.  https://homeupgrade.org/resources/documents/#performing-jobs

Where do I test for ambient CO on a furnace?

Ambient CO is tested at the supply grill closest to the furnace and within 6-12 inches in front of or around the appliance.

Do I have to test sealed combustion appliances?

Yes. You will need to test for Worst Case Depressurization, gas leaks, and ambient CO. (Even if the unit is in a vented attic, it will still need to be tested.)

My rating company has multiple BPI-certified HERS Whole House Raters employed. Can I send one rater to complete the test-in assessment and a different rater to complete the test-out assessment?

Yes, you may send different HERS Whole House raters to complete testing on a home if each rater is also BPI certified or if the rating company is BPI accredited and the professionals performing the tests have taken the Advanced Technical training.

At which points during the upgrade does a CAS test need to be performed?

Per BPI standards, Advanced Home Upgrade requires test-in and test-out CAS testing for ALL combustion appliances. Build It Green will not authorize any work without this test.  For more information, refer to the Whole House Combustion Appliance Safety Test Procedure and the Participant Handbook. The most current versions will always be on the Home Upgrade website Installation tab.  https://homeupgrade.org/resources/documents/#performing-jobs

Are there programs to help homeowners finance home performance jobs?

Yes. Finance programs may vary by region, but in PG&E territory many homeowners can access conventional financing from CHF, or the innovative new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing through CaliforniaFIRST, HERO, Clean Energy Sacramento, or emPower.  Visit PACENow.org for Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for a variety of home performance projects.

What documents do I need to submit jobs?

Refer to the Advanced Home Upgrade Desktop QA checklist for guidance. The most recent version will always be on the Home Home Upgrade website Submitting Jobs tab.  https://homeupgrade.org/resources/documents/#submitting-jobs

When do I need to get a signed contract?

A contract must be signed before installing Home Upgrade work. Consult the CSLB for more detailed information on contracts.

Do I need to have an energy audit performed on a home before starting a job?

Yes, an audit in compliance with HERS II standards must be performed by a participating Home Upgrade rater for  Advanced Home Upgrade. Once the scope of work has been determined and before the installations have begun, a test-in assessment must be performed – this assessment can take place up to 120 days before work is started.

Program Info FAQs

Can a homeowner in the PG&E territory participate in this program if that home uses propane?

PG&E electric customers who use propane to fuel items within their home (stove, water or space heating) are eligible for rebates for electric savings through the Home Upgrade pathways. Mobile homes on a chassis and axle constructed under HUD codes do not qualify. Please refer to Program Guidelines for Electric Customers with Propane Gas Appliances for more information.

What types of properties are eligible for the program?

Advanced Home Upgrade allows for single-family detached homes as well as 2-4 unit homes. Mobile (modular) homes may qualify for the program are on foundations (no axels or chassis), and have PG&E service IDs.

Can a PG&E customer install their own upgrade and apply for rebates?

A homeowner must work with a participating contractor to qualify for rebates.

Are solar energy upgrades eligible for Home Upgrade?

No, but solar incentives may be available through other statewide and local programs. Visit PG&E Incentives for Clean Energy to learn about PG&E solar incentive programs.

Can a PG&E customer receive more than one rebate for the same measure?

No.  “Double-dipping” refers to homes that are eligible for multiple rebates from PG&E. PG&E will not pay a homeowner twice for the same upgrade.

What if the PG&E customer only receives one utility from PG&E (e.g., Modesto Irrigation District or SMUD)?

If PG&E provides natural gas service to the home, but electricity is obtained from a utility provider other than PG&E, or vice versa, PG&E will pro-rate the rebate according to the proportion of total savings attributable to natural gas.

Who will issue the rebate check?

PG&E issues the rebate check, which may be issued to the homeowner or contractor. If the rebate is assigned to the contractor, a Customer Incentive Payment Assignment Form will need to be completed and submitted. 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 upon final approval by PG&E.

How much will the homeowner’s rebate be?

Advanced Home Upgrade rebate values are determined by the modeled energy savings achieved by the upgrade and are listed below.*

 

10% savings:$550 30% savings: $2,500
15% savings: $850 35% savings: $3,000
20% savings: $1,150 40% savings: $3,500
25% savings: $1,450 45% savings: $4,000

 

*After the $4,000 rebate is achieved, it may be possible to receive a higher rebate up to $6,500, depending on kicker incentives received for kilowatt and therm savings. These savings will be automatically calculated when submitting applications. 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 if the scope of work changes during the job or if test-out results are different from what you expected to achieve.

Why should homeowners participate?

Homeowners participate in this rebate program for many reasons including improving the comfort of their home and saving money on their energy bills. We leave it up to the homeowner and the contractor to decide if this program is right for them.

What is a Participating Rater and what is their role in the Program?

  1. Raters fill a gap between contractors who have a BPI BA on staff and contractors who do not. Raters are hired by contractors to perform test-in/test-out and CAS testing if they do not have an appropriately trained individual on staff. To participate in the Program, raters must meet these minimum credential requirements:
    • HERS II Whole House Rater certification
    • BPI-Building Analyst certification
    • Completion of Home Upgrade Advanced Technical Training
    • Home Upgrade Core Technical Training recommended but not required
  2. In addition to these credential requirements, Raters must also comply with the following program requirements:
    1. Execute the Rater Participation Agreement, including all supporting documentation
    2. Participating Rater must perform diagnostic assessment test-in, test-out and combustion appliance safety tests

What is a Participating Contractor?

Participating Contractors have been selected by Build It Green and specifically trained to deliver Advanced Home Upgrade. Participating contractors have met required qualifications to be part of the program and joined the ranks of Home Performance professionals who are experts in energy efficiency. All Participating Contractors have a valid California contractor’s license, appropriate bonding, and have specified certifications and/or training for the work being performed in the “whole house” concept and the comprehensive building science diagnostic assessments.

Who is eligible for Home Upgrade rebates?

PG&E customers with at least one energy fuel supplied by PG&E (electric and/or natural gas). In regions where Southern California Gas supplies natural gas the gas portion of the rebate is paid by SCG. In regions where electricity is supplied by another entity (eg. SMUD) the rebate is pro-rated for only the fuel supplied by PG&E.

What is the duration of the Program?

Funding comes from utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Incentives are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and are effective until funding is expended or the program is discontinued. Programs may be modified or terminated without prior notice.

Can a PG&E customer participate in Home Upgrade more than once?

Yes, as long as the scopes of work for each project are different.

What are the main differences between the Home Upgrade and Advanced Home Upgrade pathways?

With Home Upgrade, homeowners choose three or more measures from a flexible menu of options, including one basic measure. Each measure has an assigned number of points, with bonus points for additional basic measures. The more points, the higher the rebate, up to $3,000. No energy saving models are needed.

The Advanced Home Upgrade pathway is typically more complex, involving deep improvements. It requires a comprehensive energy assessment using energy-modeling software (EnergyPro) to create a customized energy-saving plan for a home. Advanced Home Upgrade focuses on sealing up leaks and improving the shell of a house, keeping a home comfortable inside and lowering energy bills. Rebates up to $5,500 are determined by the total energy savings calculated by EnergyPro, the modeling software.

What is Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade?

Home Upgrade is a statewide program that offers rebates of up to $5,500* when homeowners make energy-saving improvements to their homes. The program rewards them for taking a comprehensive, whole-home approach to energy efficiency, rather than focusing on individual improvements. Heating, air-conditioning, and water heating all work together to help homeowners live comfortably and lower utility bills.

*This rebate may be eligible for a higher incentive for significant energy savings.

Submitting Jobs FAQs

I’m having technical problems with the Job Portal. How do I get help?

Call 510-285-6222 or email jobs@homeupgrade.org.

How can I avoid having an application returned for corrections?

Contact Customer Service at 510-285-6222 or email jobs@builditgreenutility.org with specific questions. Build It Green also offers mentoring services – please contact Customer Service for this as well.

How do I find my login information for the Portal?

Upon becoming an approved participant, you will receive an email with this information. Contact Customer Service at 510-285-6222 or email jobs@homeupgrade.org if you have problems logging into your account.

I’m having technical problems with the Job Portal. How do I get help?

Call 510-285-6222 or email jobs@builditgreenutility.org.

Is there a waiting period after the test-in assessment is completed?

Once the test-in documentation has been submitted, contractors are advised to wait for approval of the Pre-Install application to be issued before starting the upgrade work. Contractors confident that the job qualifies can proceed with work without Build It Green approval at their own risk.

How can I check the rebate status for a job?

You will receive Notice to Proceed and Rebate Approval emails upon your job reaching these stages of approval. For final PG&E approval status, please call or email Build It Green.

How long does it take to process my application?

There is no typical timeline for a rebate to be processed. Once submitted to Build It Green, an application undergoes Desktop Review, where the application is reviewed by Build It Green’s internal review team. If there are no corrections to be made, the application is sent to PG&E for review before final approval. There may be required field quality control inspections from either or both Build It Green or PG&E that may delay the approval process, and in that case both the contractor and homeowner will be notified.

What documents do I need to submit?

For Advanced Home Upgrade applications are submitted in two stages, first as a pre-installation and second as a post-installation.

Required documents for Pre-Installation:

  • Test Measurements form with testing results before the upgrade
  • Scope of work
  • Modeling Software BLD file
  • Modeling Software XML file
  • Home Energy Score files if done Pre-Install

Required documents for Post Installation:

  • Test Measurements form with testing results after the upgrade
  • Signed contract with scope of work included (including energy efficiency improvements of project, such as furnace AFUE efficiency, AC Seer rating, etc.)
  • Modeling Software BLD file
  • Modeling Software XML file
  • Safety Quality Acknowledgement form
  • Proof of HVAC Permit Closure (if HVAC is installed)
  • Permit (if applicable)
  • Home Energy Score documentation

How do I submit a rebate application for a job?

Submit applications through the online Contractor Portal.