FAQs from Contractors & Independent Building Analysts

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 Advanced Home Upgrade 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 requirements, how to use the contractor portal to upload projects, 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 independent building analysts participate in the Program with multiple contracting companies?

Yes, an independent building analyst may work with multiple contracting companies participating in Advanced Home Upgrade.

What are the requirements for individual independent building analysts participating in Home Upgrade?

Independent building analysts must be BPI BA accredited, and it is recommended they 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.

Is BPI GoldStar Accreditation accepted in Advanced Home Upgrade?

BPI GoldStar does not replace individual BPI certification. All Participating Contractors and Independent Building Analysts performing CAS testing are required to submit a copy of their current BPI certification, including the certification number and expiration date.

We encourage companies to become BPI GoldStar Contractors for the marketing value in showcasing commitment to quality and building science principles. Please refer to the www.bpi.org website for more specific information on how to enroll in the GoldStar Program.

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 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 and independent building analysts 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 in the Marketing section of the Document Library.

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 5% 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. Contractors and independent building analysts working on the same job will both be evaluated during FQC. New Program participants will have three of their first five jobs inspected. Subsequently, the sampling rate will drop to 5% of projects completed.

Aside from Build It Green Field Quality Control Inspections, PG&E’s Central Inspection Program will also randomly select 5% of completed jobs to ensure the program requirements were satisfied and the work was done safely.

For more details, see Section 7: Quality Assurance and Quality Control in the 2019 PG&E Participant Handbook in the Participation Tab of our Document Library.

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 independent building analysts 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.

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 do we call a gas service representative (GSR)?

In instances where a CAS failure occurs per PG&E’s Natural Gas Appliance Testing (NGAT) Action Guidelines , the participating contractor or independent building analyst must first determine if PG&E’s Make Safe Procedure applies prior to calling a PG&E Gas Service Representative. 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.

For SoCalGas customers, a GSR 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.

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

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 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.

Program Info FAQs

Do customers still qualify for this program if they participate in Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)?

PG&E manages transmission, distribution and delivery of a CCA customer’s electricity, including providing meter reading, billing, maintenance and outage response services. Additional PG&E services, including energy efficiency rebates, California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE), medical baseline, balanced payment plans (generally only on PG&E delivery charges), net metering, California Solar Initiative, other solar programs, and some demand response programs, as well as programs such as eBills and Automated Payment Services are still available to CCA customers. Programs administered by the CCA may differ from those provided by PG&E.

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 Rebate 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 energy efficiency incentives are differentiated by California Energy Commission (CEC) Climate Zones. The CEC Climate Zones are based on energy use, temperature, weather, and other factors. Customer rebates will vary based on the Climate Zone of the project’s address and the measures selected.

For more information or to look up the customer’s Climate Zone, visit https://homeupgrade.org/pge-home-upgrade-rebates.

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 Independent Building Analyst and what is their role in the Program?

  1. Independent Building Analysts (IBA) fill a gap between contractors who have a BPI BA on staff and contractors who do not. IBAs 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, IBAs must meet these minimum credential requirements:
    • BPI-Building Analyst certification
    • Completion of Home Upgrade Advanced Technical Training
    • Home Upgrade Core Technical Training recommended but not required
    • HERS II Whole House Rater certification (recommended)
  2. In addition to these credential requirements, IBAs must also comply with the following program requirements:
    1. Complete and submit the Independent Building Analyst Participation Agreement, including all supporting documentation
    2. Participating IBA 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 must 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. For more information, see the Participation FAQs.

Who is eligible for Advanced 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.

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
  • 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.)
  • Safety Quality Acknowledgement form
  • Proof of HVAC Permit Closure (if HVAC is installed)
  • Permit (if applicable)
  • Home Energy Score documentation (if applicable)

How do I submit a rebate application for a job?

Submit applications through the online Contractor Portal.

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