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Optional Test-In – When and Why You Should Do It

If you have an old home that you may not be able to seal properly, you may be better off doing an actual full diagnostic testing rather than using default numbers. That way you can prove that you made the needed improvements. Also, contractors can take advantage of both SMUD HPP & PG&E Home Upgrade and increase the rebate values for their customers. We have updated the SMUD HPP/PG&E HU example document to reflect the increased HVAC rebate values.

All homes are required to test out at or below 130% of the ASHRAE 62.2 mechanical ventilation rate. This is a CFM value converted to a natural air change rate, then converted to a blower door test target value in CFM50.  This is all done in the “JobInfo” tab of the Job Reporting Template.  This requirement applies whether they are claiming an air sealing rebate or not.

Recall that there are two levels of reduced infiltration: 15% and 30%.  To show that you have reduced the infiltration of a house by either of these amounts, you need a starting point.  You can use the higher of the following:

  • A default, based on the size of the house (4.9 SLA).
  • A measured test-in value, taken before any work is done.

Obviously, the higher your starting point is, the easier it is to hit your target reduction.  However, there are times when you may not be able to hit the test out target, due to the age and architectural/structural features of the home.  Then what?

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You can still get the rebate if you can document the before and after reduction of 15% or 30%, but you will need to explain why you were unable to achieve the test-out target.  This can be due to tongue and groove ceilings or floors, inaccessible duct leakage, balloon framing, jalousie windows, etc.  If you suspect at the beginning of the project, that this might happen, it is definitely worth your while to do a test-in blower door test.

How to Get Double Rebates for Electric Heat Systems

As you know, many of the building shell and HVAC measures rebates for energy features that save heating energy use are doubled when the heating system was, and continues to be, electric.  Changing from electric to gas, or vice-a-versa, is called “fuel switching” and is not intended to be part of this program due to regulatory restrictions.  However, it is not strictly forbidden and regular rebates may apply.  A similar rule applies to water heaters.

The following table shows what the before and after space heating system needs to be for the double rebate to apply.

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Heating System Before

Heating System After

Double Rebates?

Electric Resistance          

Gas

No

Electric Resistance

Electric Resistance

Yes

Electric Resistance                

Heat Pump

Yes

Heat Pump

Heat Pump

Yes

Heat Pump

Gas

No

Gas

Heat Pump

No

Gas

Gas

No

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The program rules for this are spelled out in Section VII of the Program Contractor Handbook. 

The rebates that are doubled include:

  • Envelope insulation,
  • Air sealing,
  • Window upgrades,
  • HVAC replacement,
  • HVAC downsizing,
  • Duct sealing/replacement/burying

Don’t Forget: In-Office Mentoring Available at No Cost

Are you onboarding new employees? Do you want to support seasoned staffers? HPP contractors are eligible for a new in-office mentoring service featuring customized on-site training at the time and place that meets your needs. HPP’s new In-Office Mentoring provides updates/refreshers on topics such as: HPP requirements/protocols; job submission process/best practices; rebate measures/project scope planning tips; HPP + Home Upgrade rebates for more customer value; common mistakes/ways to avoid them; title 24 requirements; and QA/QC rules/support to ensure a successful project and a happy customer. Interested contractors can select from a list of topics or suggest their own. Sessions can last from 1-2 hours depending on your needs.

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We are here to serve your mentoring needs:

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NEW! Heat-Pump Water Heater – Contractor Quick Guide

A new quick guide for heat-pump water heaters is available.  It discusses the things that you should consider before recommending or installing one, and gives some estimated costs and savings. Click HERE to access it.

If You Haven’t Perused the Document Library in a While, You Really Should!

The document library on the SMUD HPP web page for contractors (http://cbpca-hpp.org/library/) has a lot of great information.  If you have looked at it in a while, you have probably forgotten how much good stuff is there.

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There are maps of each Census tract in SMUD territory showing key neighborhoods for targeting the Home Performance Program, based on heating fuel, home type, income, and education.

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There are copies of all of the presentation materials from the Contractor Meetings at SMUD Headquarters, along with a video recording of the actual presentations.

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There are copies of all the past SMUD HPP Newsletters (like this one).

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There are downloadable copies of all the program overview documents, such as the Participating Contractor Handbook.

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There is a link to the Orientation Webinar video.

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And much more!  Take a few minutes to go look at it again.

Contractor Ratings Relative to Others in Program?

Starting this month, we will begin rolling out a contractor dashboard that will include metrics summary to help your company understand your performance in HPP. We are going to share this with each of you individually at the end of each month.  

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In short, dashboard summary will include your company’s current projects that are active (incomplete) or approved in the 2015 program cycle. It will also include your ranking in terms of project volume compared to the overall program and much more.

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Be on a look out for that monthly project summary and feel free to reach out to us with any questions that you may have.

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Mini Split training available: 

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At the last Home Performance contractor meeting, David Paschall from Mitsubishi Electric spoke about mini split growth and opportunities within the industry.  He has offered to provide additional training customized to your needs.  Please contact him directly if you wish to learn more about Mitsubishi Mini Splits. Mobile – 916-206-4008, email – dpaschall@hvac.mea.com

 

Efficiency First California • 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211-B • Berkeley, CA • 94703 • 1-888-352-2722

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