Contractor Newsletter - December 2020
General Services is now Sonoma Public Infrastructure - Website updates coming soon!
Year End Summary for PACE: The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program is still operating and stronger than ever!
As many of you know, there is never a dull moment with PACE financing. This year was no exception. Our Program lowered the interest rate last July, making it more affordable than ever to use the Energy Independence Program financing. We successfully received authorization from all nine cities and the County to expand the financing to offer seismic and wildfire safety improvements. We also saw changes in the residential, third-party PACE providers that operate in the County. Renovate America, the company that owns the HERO financing product, decided to bow out of offering residential PACE throughout all of California last October. Lastly, we saw the passage of state legislation relating to PACE – Assembly Bill 1551.
Below are bill’s highlights as they pertain to you and your business. These changes take effect January 1, 2021. If you are interested in reading the entire text of the bill, here is the link. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB1551
Prepayment penalties: If a property owner wants to pay off their assessment prior to the maturity date of their lien, a PACE provider can no longer charge a prepayment penalty. Just to clarify, the Energy Independence Program has never charged prepayment penalties and that will continue to be the case.
Reverse mortgages: Property owners that have an existing reverse mortgage are not allowed to use PACE financing. This portion of the bill only applies to PACE programs that utilize a third-party administrator (i.e. for-profit PACE companies). This does not affect the Energy Independence Program. We have allowed property owners that have a reverse mortgage to access the financing as long as they qualify with all our eligibility and underwriting terms. This will continue to be the case.
Financing Estimate and Disclosure (FED): Staff is updating our FED document to include the legislative language that was in the bill. It essentially adds a paragraph at the beginning of the FED about the ability to opt out of a paper, hard-copy FED but it must be acknowledged in writing. Staff is also creating an “opt-out” form for applicants if they choose to receive the FED as an electronic copy only.
Right to Cancel: The legislation also makes it mandatory for property owners that are 65 years or older to receive a 5-day right to cancel instead of the current 3-day right to cancel. We are updating our application to include a check box where the property owner is asked to self-disclose if they are 65 years or older at the time of applying for the financing. If they self-disclose this information, we will provide them with that 5-day time limit. We are asking them to self-disclose because we do not collect personal information that would give us their date of birth.
If you have further questions about any of these updates reach out to our staff anytime between Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.
From all of us here at the County’s Energy and Sustainability office, we wish you and yours a safe and joyous holiday season. Thank you for all you do and for your participation in the Program. We truly could not offer this financing option without you and we appreciate your business.
Did you know that as a participating contractor you have access to free marketing materials? We want to help your customers fund their projects so you can get paid and keep up with the demand for your work. Please reach out to us if you are low on SCEIP marketing materials in your office for your potential customers. We can mail you fresh new marketing materials so if you have customers looking for financing options, you can provide them with trusted resources to process their financing request. We also have electronic versions available. You can request additional marketing materials by contacting your contractor manager, or emailing our office directly at SCEIP@sonoma-county.org. Want to learn more about being a participating contractor with SCEIP? Contact (707) 565-6470 today.
In consideration of the ongoing pandemic and in accordance with the Regional Stay-at-Home order, the Energy and Sustainability Tool Lending Library will be closed for borrowing through January 19, 2021.
If you have any questions, please contact (707) 565-6470 or email to GSenergy@sonoma-county.org.
Are you looking to grow your business and offer rebates for work that you may already be doing? We are pleased to inform you that licensed contractors in Sonoma County (including all incorporated cities and towns) are eligible to participate in the Bay Area Regional Energy Network residential energy efficiency rebate programs. These programs are administered by a local government collaboration and is funded by the California Public Utilities Commission using Public Purpose funds.
These programs include:
- Home+ Program – Up to $5,000 in rebates for insulation, duct replacement, furnaces and water heaters.
- To enroll, visit https://bayrenresidential.org/for-contractors or call 866-878-6008 x3
- Home Energy Score - $200 rebate to conduct US Department of Energy assessment.
- To become an assessor, visit http://homescoreca.org/join-the-team
Attention contractors serving Sonoma Clean Power customers! SCP is launching the brand-new Advanced Energy Center website. Become a participating contractor to show your customers how you lead locally! Through the Advanced Energy Center website, you can provide SCP residential and commercial customers with significant discounts for advanced electric appliances and energy efficiency equipment. You can use the website to submit bids to potential clients, secure bids and claims to SCP discount vouchers, communicate with customers and SCP staff, and submit project close out documents. You can also use the website to manage your profile, co-brand your services with SCP, and expand service offerings as more products become available in the Advanced Energy Center.
Once the Advanced Energy Center opens in early 2021, contractors can use the storefront in downtown Santa Rosa to meet with customers, test equipment, and plan projects. But don’t wait for the official opening – contractors signing up now will be the first listed on the Advanced Energy Center website when it launches. To sign up or ask questions, please contact Angel Garza at (707)324-3223 or email AdvancedEnergyCenter@SonomaCleanPower.org.
BayREN - Heat Pump Water Heaters for Building Departments
Location: Webinar On-Demand
Description: Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are an increasingly popular technology that are a highly efficient means of providing hot water to houses. This training will describe HPWHs, when HPWHs are allowed under the 2019 Code, code requirements for installation, and how to complete compliance forms.
Target Audience: Permit technicians, plan checkers, and field inspectors.
Register: BayREN Heat Pump Water Heaters
Sonoma Clean Power – Advanced Energy Center
Attention contractors serving residential Sonoma Clean Power customers!
Growing your business is simple: watch on-demand trainings, sign a Memorandum of Understanding, and find what equipment you are eligible to install.
For additional details or questions, please contact Angel Garza at (707)324-3223 or email AdvancedEnergyCenter@SonomaCleanPower.org
Advanced Energy Center Contractor Course: Advanced Energy Center Overview
Date: Monday, January 11, 2021
Time: 12:00-12:30 PM
Description: Begin by attending a 30-minute Advanced Energy Center Overview.
Advanced Energy Center Contractor Course: On-Bill Financing
Be Eligible for Larger Jobs by Offering On-Bill Financing!
Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021
Time: 7:30-8:30 AM
Date: Friday, January 15, 2021
Time: 12:00-1:00 PM
Description: Contractors participating in SCP’s Advanced Energy Center can get exclusive access to offer SCP’s On-Bill Financing. Gain a competitive edge as the only contractors that can install eligible equipment and technologies for your residential clients with no money down and zero percent financing. Customers instead pay a monthly on-bill charge on their electricity bill. Contractors are paid upon SCP project approval. Maximize your time and profit by submitting bids and completing jobs for pre-approved residential customers receiving a 10-year 0% interest loans up to $10,000.
Advanced Energy Center Contractor Course: Grid-Interactive Heat Pump Water Heaters
Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Time: 7:30-8:30 AM
Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Time: 12:00-1:00 PM
Description: Become certified to install gird-interactive heat pump water heaters by attending a 1-hour webinar. SCP is pleased to provide courses for contractors participating in our Advanced Energy Center. This course is required for contractors to install residential grid-interactive heat pump water heaters featured through the Advanced Energy Center. Learn how to install and activate grid-interactive modules for A.O Smith and Rheem water heaters. Learn what makes a water heater grid interactive and how you can provide additional cost savings to your customers as an Advanced Energy Center and BayREN Home+ Contractor.
Heat pump water heaters are two or three times more energy efficient than conventional gas or electric resistance water heaters and save customers money on their utility bill while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
After completing this course, contractors will be better able to install grid activity modules for Rheem and A.O Smith water heaters, connect the water heater to the local Wi-Fi, and understand the importance of load shifting.
PG&E - Carbon Sequestration in the Landscape: #4 – Act Local to Mitigate Climate Change
Date: Monday, 1/11/2021
Time: 12:00-1:30 PM
Description: This speaker series is a part of ReScape’s Climate Change Consortium Demonstration Projects to educate about climate change landscaping challenges and the solutions available using regenerative practices. Historically, landscape planning and design have often focused primarily on economic and social needs rather than reflecting local ecology and culture. New construction can remove existing mature vegetation, releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere, utilize materials sourced and/or manufactured from great distances, adding to fossil fuel consumption, and ignore the needs and benefits of protecting local flora and fauna. Understanding a project’s site and regional setting, including the watershed, climate, exposure, soils, and native plant communities, can provide valuable information to guide the design and maintenance of a regenerative landscape, at any scale. A landscape that responds to these local and regional attributes can reduce fossil fuel inputs and help to mitigate climate change.
ACCA Manual Four-Part Series
Selection & Sizing, Duct Design and Residential Heat Pump, Design and Installation
ACCA Manual J and S, Equipment Selection & Sizing
Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Time: 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Description: This full day webinar focuses on the unique residential loads and energy code encountered in the Dry Climate of California. The material covers the basic science behind ACCA Manual J load calculations and Manual S equipment selection. Please download a copy of Wrightsoft (Demo Version) prior to the webinar.
The material is designed for HVAC Contractors, Designers, Energy consultants and anyone interested in determining building loads and determining the correct size of heating and cooling equipment. This process will reduce peak loads in the state of California and improve efficiency and comfort.
ACCA Manual D Part 1, Duct Design
Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Time: 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Description: This full day webinar focuses on the principles involved in designing residential duct work. A practice session is included where attendees sketch a duct design based on the floor plan from the Manual J/S developed in the first session, ACCA Dry Climate Manual J and S, with Wrightsoft.
The material is designed for HVAC contractors, designers, energy consultants and anyone interested in determining building loads.
Register: ACCA Manual D, Part 1 Duct Design
ACCA Manual D Part 2, Duct Design with Wrightsoft
Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021
Time: 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Description This full day webinar reviews the basic principles involved in designing residential duct work. The Wrightsoft floor plan developed on day one in Wrightsoft is used in this duct design session. The set-up of Wrightsoft to match best practices is covered and a portion of the presentation is a practical session demonstrating the process of selecting registers. A sample register schedule is reviewed and explained.
The material is designed for HVAC contractors, Designers, building departments, plans examiners and energy consultants and anyone interested in determining building loads.
ACCA Manual H, Residential Heat Pump, Design and Installation
Date: Friday, February 19, 2021
Time: 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Description: As California moves to reduce the effect of burning carbon-based products on air quality and global warming, heat pumps and all electric homes will become enlarge their share of the market. The purpose of this training is to assist in that transformation and help installers select correctly sized equipment.
Energy Auditing Techniques for Small & Medium Commercial Facilities (3-Day Class)
Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2021 through Friday, February 19, 2021
Time: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Description: The intention of this three-day workshop is to develop the energy auditing skills of individuals associated with small-and medium-sized (under 500 kW) commercial facilities. We will provide an overview of building technologies with an emphasis on distinguishing older, inefficient equipment from newer efficient systems. In-class exercises and mock-audit activities will allow the attendees to immediately apply what they have learned. Though geared to the non-experts, attendees should have a fundamental understanding of building components and energy concepts. The class will begin with a discussion of energy and building terms and be followed by a module on utility rates and billing data analysis. The overview of building technologies and efficiencies will include modules on demand response, lighting, mechanical systems, motors, refrigeration, natural gas equipment, envelope systems, kitchen equipment and miscellaneous loads. Because identifying retrofit opportunities is the focus of this training, instructors will illustrate optimal equipment choices though samples, images of real installations, and performance data. Measurement tools that auditors use to identify equipment efficiencies or to test system performance will be demonstrated with each topic. All training modules will include a section on calculating energy savings for specific retrofit applications.
Register: PGE Energy Auditing Techniques
In addition to great content, participating contractors have access to training, marketing materials and website listing at no-cost. To learn how you can take advantage of these benefits contact our office at (707) 565-6470 or download the Contractor Standards and Guidelines.