Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Energy Upgrade California and EnergyPro, part 2

I followed up on what I learned in the January 20 workshop by contacting a fellow Santa Cruz Construction Guild member, General Contractor Scott Milrod. Scott is very involved these days with home energy upgrade projects, and is qualified as a participating contractor in the EUC rebate program. It turned out that Scott had already started on a demonstration project with Ecology Action. The EUC rebates come in two “flavors”:

  • Basic – a $1,000. rebate given for installation of a prescriptive package of energy-efficiency upgrades.
  • Advanced – a $1,000 – 4,000 performance-based rebate. The amount awarded is determined by the amount of improvement (reduction in household energy cost). The contractor and homeowner can choose from a wide variety of improvement measures. Choices are customized to fit the individual situation.

The required “as-built” testing and EnergyPro modeling were complete, so the work remaining to be completed before submitting a “pre-installation” application for a rebate was the dreaded paperwork. That’s where I was able to get involved and help out, while learning about the process. Actually, “paperwork” is an outdated term, since all of the required forms can be completed and submitted online. This “paperless” process is available through the EUC website, which was set up by the CEC to be a “one-stop shop for energy upgrades”, including rebate and incentive programs all over the state. For our demonstration project, the application process involved completing and submitting the following:

  1. An on-line, guided application form.
  2. At least one year’s worth of energy use/cost data. In this case that meant natural gas and electricity use data from PG&E.
  3. An EnergyPro model of the house, first with the existing conditions, then with the proposed improvements
  4. The contractor’s proposal to the homeowner
  5. A test measurements form, created by PG&E, for recording safety-related test data, such as interior CO emissions from gas appliances.
  6. An Excel worksheet containing much of the same data as the online application.
  7. A copy of an authorization form, signed by the homeowner, giving EUC permission to use the energy data in the rebate application process.
All of this was completed a couple of days ago. Now we wait for the application to be reviewed. When that happens, I’ll give you all an update. Another future topic that may be of interest is a discussion of the kinds of home energy upgrade products and methods that are available these days. Energy costs are a concern to everyone these days, so it’s important for designers and contractors to be able to address clients’ needs in this area.