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Community Power Works Expands Citywide

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CPW_Logo_Contractor_Color.jpgCommunity Power Works (CPW) is a program of the City of Seattle to provide energy upgrades for buildings and homes in Seattle. To date, the program has targeted homes in central and southeast Seattle, but as of January 1st 2012, the program has announced expansion throughout the City of Seattle.

CPW allows homeowners to receive a rebated home energy audit (customers only pay $95), which is the basis for tiered rebates for making efficiency improvements to their home. Based on the energy audit, customers can receive the following incentives by hiring an approved High Roads Contractor.

2012 CPW Works incentives:

·        15-20% total energy reduction - $1,250

·        21-30% total energy reduction - $2,000

·        31%+ total energy reduction - $2,500


Additionally customers moving off oil furnaces, old natural gas furnaces, or electric based heat can qualify for an additional $1,200 fuel-switch rebate by installing a Mini-Split Heat Pump system.

In addition to incentives, CPW offers qualifying customers low interest (4.49%) on-utility bill financing for their efficiency projects.

Puget Sound Solar and Sound Home Performance are proud participants in the CPW program and excited to offer these incentives to our customers. To learn more and register please follow the link below and use the referral code SOUND:

https://my.communitypowerworks.org/apply/

Questions? Please contact our Home Performance Division: Info@soundhomeperformance.com 206.402.6926


Community Power Works kicks off!

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April marks the official kick-off of the City of Seattle's Community Power Works (CPW) program.  CPW will assist homeowner in Central and Southeast Seattle with retrofits that will increase the energy efficiency and health of their homes.  Homeowners in the target area are automatically enrolled in the program and will be offered a subsidized energy audit ($95 instead of the usual $400) by a qualified contractor, such as Sound Home Performance, that will help them identify opportunities to improve the energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and comfort of their homes.  The real strength of CPW, however, is in the innovative funding offered to participants.  This includes:

  • Low interest, fixed rate loans: 
    • Term: 20-year (no fees for early repayment)
    • Rates: Fixed at 5.99% or 3.99%, depending on income
    • Amount: Up to $20,000
    • Eligibility: Based on
      • Credit check (scores > 590 preferred)
      • Seattle City Light bill payment history
    • Fees: A $400 one-time loan fee factored into monthly payments
    • Monthly payments: Paid through Seattle City Light bill, based on total loan amount amortized over a 20-year term
  • Carbon Reduction Incentive (CRI)
    • Homeowners will be given a one-time payment for carbon savings over the life of energy efficiency upgrades based on the modeled carbon reductions from the pre- and post-retrofit energy audits.
    • Price of $10 per ton of carbon
    • Example: Upgrade from no attic insulation to R50 insulation 
      • Modeled at 1 ton of carbon reduced per year
      • Lifespan of insulation = 40 years
      • 40 years x 1 ton of carbon per year x $10 = $400
      • (Note - These numbers are used just as an example and may not reflect actual CRI payments)
  • Utility rebates
    • Seattle City Light and Puget South Energy have a number of rebates that homeowners may qualify for, including:
      • Duct seal/insulation - $250
      • Ductless heat pump - $1200
      • Floor insulation - $0.50 per square foot
      • Heat pump water heater - $250

The team at Sound Home Performance is very excited for Community Power Works and we are looking forward to helping homeowners improve the performance of their homes through this innovative program.  If you have any questions about the Community Power Works program or the home performance retrofits that Sound Home Performance offers please don't hesitate to contact us:

info@soundhomeperformance.com

206-402-6926


Sound Home Performance excited for Community Power Works

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Community Power Works

The team at Sound Home Performance is gearing up and getting excited to take part in the City of Seattle’s highly touted Community Power Works (CPW) program set to launch in the upcoming months.  This pilot, funded by the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant’s BetterBuildings program, seeks to achieve deep energy savings through an extensive retrofit program aimed at homes in southeastern Seattle.  Homeowners in the target area, roughly east of the Duwamish River and south of Capitol Hill, automatically qualify for the CPW and will be eligible to receive a subsidized energy audit.  The results of the energy audit will be used to compile a list of home retrofit options aimed at increasing energy efficiency and improving homeowner comfort, health, and indoor air quality.  Participants may then seek bids from a pre-qualified contractor on the recommended work.  The Community Power Works website spells out the process:

1. Homeowners are pre-qualified for participation in CPW.

2. CPW contacts homeowners.

3. Homes receive a subsidized pre-retrofit energy audit.

4. Homeowners receive a contractor bid for retrofits.

5. Homeowners are pre-qualified for loans and incentives.

6. Contractors retrofit home.

7. Homes receive a subsidized post-retrofit audit.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the CPW is the home retrofit financing available to participants.  Homeowners participating in the program and having a retrofit with a qualified contractor will be pre-qualified for a low interest loan that will be repaid through their monthly utility bill.  On top of this, the City of Seattle is offering further assistance through a carbon fund.  The City will set a price per ton on carbon and participants going through the energy audit/retrofit process spelled out above will receive a refund based on their modeled carbon reductions.  This unique model sets the Community Power Works program apart as an innovative leader in approaches to incentivizing home energy efficiency retrofits.

The team at Sound Home Performance is excited about the CPW and the unique approach we have taken to participation in the program.  We have teamed up with a number of home performance contractors from our industry group Home Performance Washington to form a collaborative that we are confident will be able to provide the highest caliber energy audits, retrofits, and customer service.  By forming a team with some of the most highly regarded home performance contractors in the area we will be getting the best of both worlds, the flexibility and nimble aspects of a smaller company and the economies of scale and diverse professionalism of a larger organization. 

Stay posted for more information about the Community Power Works program, and if you are interested in more details about energy audits or home performance retrofits please don’t hesitate to contact us!

 


SHP Featured on ShoreBank Pacific's Website

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When Sound Home Performance was getting started, we decided to do business with a bank that aligned with our own environmental and social goals. ShoreBank Pacific is the nation's first commercial bank dedicated to a "triple bottom line" philosophy for doing business. This month ShoreBank was kind enough to feature us on their website. 

See our feature at: http://www.eco-bank.com/customers/featured.php


There has been a lot of movement in Seattle this year regarding funding for energy efficiency projects. A brief look on seattle.gov reveals a tangle of initiatives, including CPW, EECBG, WEB, and others. This blog post is an attempt to unscramble these acronyms and paint a clearer picture of what exactly these initiatives are and what they promise for local developments in the industry.


The nitty gritty:

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) was passed as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This grant set aside $2.7 billion for energy efficiency and conservation projects, with the first year's funding going towards strategic development and subsequent years to be used for city and county projects approved by the Department of Energy (DoE). Another $454 million has been set aside for competitive grants. Cities and counties are slated to get approximately $1.8 billion of this, and states around $770 million. In April 2010 Seattle accepted a $20 million grant from the EECBG BetterBuildings grant to establish the Community Power Works (CPW) Initiative to Power Change. To add to the confusion, the CPW Initiative is replacing Seattle's Weatherize Every Building (WEB) Initiative, while the previously established Retrofit Ramp-Up Grant from DoE is now simply called BetterBuildings. On top of all this, on July 26th the Seattle City Council voted to adopt the Community High Road Agreement for residential buildings retrofitted as part of the CPW Initiative.

Whew! That's a lot of initiative...


 

The highlights:

So, what are we left with here? All of this really boils down to Community Power Works, with the Community High Road Agreement being the guiding document for the work to be done through CPW.  Seattle Mayor McGinn on his blog explains that the CPW Initiative "will lead to the creation of thousands of high-quality, family supporting jobs for qualified, historically underrepresented contractors and workers in the clean energy economy." The focus will be on deep energy efficiency measures in central and southeast Seattle.

Briefly, the CPW Initiative aims to:

  • Retrofit residential, commercial, hospital, and municipal building in the Central District and parts of Southeast Seattle.

  • Achieve between 15% and 45% energy saving per building retrofitted.

  • Reduce approximately 70,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

  • Create up to 2000 new living wage green jobs.

  • Leverage grant funds 7-to-1 with local investment.

The Community High Road Agreement makes it explicit that in practice the initiative is to be kept simple and predictable, “especially for Contractors”. It seems that the hope here is to minimize the bureaucracy that tends to slow down contracting work when dealing with federal and state funds. The Agreement also discusses at length contractor standards for work done through the CPW Initiative. This includes:

  • A contractor pool – A group of contractors prequalified to perform work for the Initiative, with entry into this pool based on meeting a set of minimum standards. These include; being licensed/bonded, no recent violation of Workplace Laws, meet hiring standards, BPI certification for key staff, etc.

  • Base pay rate – Entry-level workers who are graduates of “Qualified Training Programs” must receive $15.50 per hour, plus $2.50 per hour in benefits or additional wages, on top of 80 hours of classroom training during the first year of employment. “Specialized” workers must receive a wage as specified in Washington State prevailing wage laws. “General weatherization work”, as defined in the agreement (see below for full definition), are subject to the base pay.

  • A point system to determine entry into the contractor pool – Businesses that meet certain standards will get additional points in the application process. Including, for example, small and/or local businesses, minority/women/veteran-owned businesses, non-profits, businesses providing health benefits for workers, and those with a demonstrated track record of quality retrofit experience.

At this point its not clear what these retrofits projects will look like on the ground or how it will be decided which buildings and residences will be the recipients of the work.  To date the City of Seattle has yet to spend any of the $20 million CPW Initiative money, but we can expect that there will be action on this soon as DoE funding requires regular updates and reporting on the progress of funded projects.


Stay tuned to the Sound Home Performance blog for more information on these initiatives and more!

-Scott Cooper, Home Efficiency Specialist


CPW Geographic Coverage

Geographic coverage of CPW Initiative (via https://www.seattle.gov/environment/CPW.htm)

 

Notes:

General weatherization work (as defined by the Seattle High Road Agreement) - Minor repairs, batt insulation, blown insulation, window and door repair, weather stripping, solar film insulation, air sealing, caulking, minor or incidental structural repairs, duct sealing, air sealing, installation of light bulbs, and installation of smoke detectors.

 

Sources:

Seattle High Road Agreement

Press Release on High Road Agreement

Summary of Progress on CPW and EECBG Grants

Seattle.gov CPW homepage

EECBG Summary

DoE EECBG Summary

High Road Agreement analysis from Green For All

Community Power Works - Mayor McGinn's Blog


Background

The state of Washington has one of the most progressive renewable energy incentives in the country. In 2005 the state enacted Senate Bill 5101, to provide a production incentive for renewable generation. This bill creates a fee schedule for paying participants for their energy production based on the type of system they install.  The base rate is $0.15/kwh produced. This amount is then adjusted based on the type of system installed by multiplying the base rate according to the following parameters. 

 

  • For electricity produced using solar modules manufactured in Washington state: 2.4  
  • For electricity produced using a solar or wind generator equipped with an inverter manufactured in Washington state: 1.2  
  • For electricity produced using an anaerobic digester, by other solar equipment, or using a wind generator equipped with blades manufactured in Washington state: 1.0  
  • For all other electricity produced by wind: 0.8

The Game Changer 

While a great policy success for solar in Washington, most of SB 5101 was just policy language until earlier this year because there were not products available to achieve higher production incentives. OutBack Power Systems has been producing a Washington made inverter for some time, but they were battery-backup systems which add significant cost to are not typically practical for most grid tied applications. Things started to change earlier this year with the release of Silicon Energy’s Washington made panels. This product allowed people to take advantage of production incentive increase from $0.15/kwh to $0.36/kwh by using a Washington made photovoltaic module. The final piece of the puzzle came together just this month when Silicon Energy released a Washington made inverter assembly. These inverters allow producers to take advantage of the production incentive’s full $0.54/kwr. With good exposure, systems built with Silicon Energy modules and inverters pay back in roughly 9 years which leaves a full year of production incentive before the program ends in 2020. This effectively cuts the payback period in half compared to a traditional system. For more information about Washington made systems or to set up a time to have your project evaluated for solar access visit: www.pugetsoundsolar.com 

 


ACI Conference and the Buzz Around Home Star

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Last week a couple members of the Sound Home Performance team traveled down to Austin Texas for the annual Affordable Comfort Conference (ACI). ACI is the nation’s premier home performance conference and a great place to get a pulse on the industry, catch up with old friends and meet contractors, utility representatives, non profits, and product manufacturers and suppliers from all over the country who are working to improve our nations existing housing stock. 

2010 has already been an exceptional year for home performance with the creation of a national trade association, and the kick-off of numerous state and federal energy efficiency programs, and this year’s conference was definitely a reflection of this momentum. Attendance was up 50% from last year and the number and variety of products has exploded. 

The biggest buzz this year was surrounding the proposed legislation making its way through the house called Home Star. This bill allocates 6 billion dollars directed a putting the construction industry back to work, while targeting efficiency improvements in existing homes. Home Star is a game changer for the whole industry and will hopefully kick start a lasting home performance industry that will be able to meet the demand for retrofitting our nations homes and provide long term high paying jobs.  

For a complete summery of the Home Star program visit the Efficiency First website

The crew here at Sound Home Performance is as excited as anyone about a hard hitting federal incentive that will help our customers improve the comfort and efficiency of their homes. We will keep you posted on Home Star's progress and as always if you have any questions feel free to give us a call. 

 


Puget Sound Energy Launches HomePrint

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This month marked the start of PSE's HomePrint program. HomePrint provides homeowners with a $350 rebate towards a comprehensive home performance evaluation. HomePrint is a sponsor of Home Performance with ENERGY STAR.

As and approved provider for the HomePrint program, Sound Home Performance is pleased to offer this rebate to approved customers that receive both gas and electric from PSE. If you are interested in participating in this program just give us a call and we will get you started. 

For more information about HomePrint, visit PSE's website 


Happy Customers

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The Sound Home Performance staff strives to provide the most for our customers. We see ourselves as allies in a homeowner’s effort to create a better home for the planet and for their family. For this reason we were thrilled to recently receive the following note from a customer.

Quality:

The explanations that Corey and the other staff provided at each step of the way were thorough, clear and concise. All our initial and follow-up questions were answered to our complete satisfaction.  Corey's attention to detail regarding the sealing of the attic prior to the 'blow-in' phase was exemplary.  The research I had done on good house insulation said that the integrity of the final result depended on painstaking sealing and I feel that Corey and his team spent the necessary time to do this.  Seeing the before and after infra-red photos of the 'problem' areas was a good check for customers to see.

Before  After  

Value:
We did not 'shop around' for a company so we can't speak to the issue of whether Sound Performance gives more value (or not) in terms of the cost of the installation. The person who recommended your company was someone we trust and their recommendation was sufficient for us, particularly after the initial consultation when we were impressed by Corey's communication skills. But value from the point of view on whether or not to do the installation can be answered by the information from the first PSE bill after Sound Performance installed the attic insulation which said the following:

 

Your energy charges were $ 42.46 lower for this bill.


Your gas usage decreased for this bill.


The weather decreased your bill by $12 - $21.


Other Gas service charges/credits were $ 2.66 lower for this bill.

 


The lower gas usage can only be attributed to the additional insulation - and this bill didn't even cover one full month of gas use!

Candis Litsey

2/10/2010

 


A good reminder to go after the big holes first

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Our project manager David is currently working on a home performance renovation of a 1950’s home in the Matthews Beach Area. When we tested the two story home originally it showed 3400CFM50. This past weekend, David and I did a little work in his attic, blocking off the gap around his fireplace and capping a dropped section of ceiling above the basement stairs. These two repairs brought the infiltration rate down to 2400CFM50. That’s 1000CFM50 for one hour of work, now that’s a good return on investment. 


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