Dominion East Ohio’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program has home energy auditors ready to conduct your comprehensive home performance assessment. These auditors are employed by GoodCents, the Program Administrator, and are certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). BPI is a national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving the energy performance, as well as the health environment of homes. Each auditor has been trained to use the most advanced, state-of-the-art equipment and takes a “whole-house” approach when testing your home and identifying energy efficiency improvements.
To participate in the program, you must be an individually metered residential Dominion East Ohio customer with an active account, not on the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus), and/or not eligible for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). To qualify for rebates through the program, you must use a GoodCents BPI certified auditor for the assessment and a participating contractor when making improvements.
The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® process is explained below, from the initial visit to your home, to installation of energy efficiency improvements, through project completion. You will also learn what you can expect from your auditor and your contractor, your responsibilities as a customer, and how to get additional information about moving forward.
Dominion East Ohio—HPwES
P.O. Box 468117
Atlanta, GA 31146
Your auditor will conduct a comprehensive home performance assessment, which can last up to four hours. This assessment provides you with valuable information regarding the existing condition of your home, and identifies areas where energy efficiency and home environment improvements can and should be made. The subsidized cost for the home performance assessment is $50 (retail value $500).
A home performance assessment begins with a personal consultation. Your auditor will sit down with you, gather information about your home’s day-to-day operation and discuss any areas of concern that you have (high energy bills, drafts, uneven temperatures, moisture damage, strange smells, etc.). This consultation will help your auditor focus the evaluation on addressing the concerns that you have discussed. In addition, the auditor will provide you with a Customer Participation Form. This form asks you to verify your information (such as address) and that you are using a GoodCents BPI certified auditor for your home assessment. The assessment cannot begin until you have signed this document.
This stage represents the bulk of the home performance assessment. The auditor completes a visual inspection of the living space, attic, basement (or crawlspace), and the exterior of the house. This is done to determine the amount and condition of your home’s insulation, as well as the age and condition of your windows, doors, heating equipment, water heater, and major appliances. The auditor will perform a number of instrumented tests using special diagnostic equipment. This equipment includes a blower door and an infrared camera, which help the auditor measure how much air is leaking from your home and where it’s leaking, as well as where your home needs additional insulation. Most importantly, your auditor will perform other essential tests to determine whether the major combustion appliances (furnace or boiler, hot water tank and oven) in your home are operating properly. According to BPI health and safety standards, if these tests identify any potential threats in the home, the recommended repairs must be included in any work scope you choose.
You are encouraged to accompany the auditor as they perform the assessment so that they can keep you apprised of their findings, discuss how they relate to your concerns, and begin the process of helping you formulate a home performance improvement plan. During this stage, stay involved. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Before the auditor leaves your home, you will be presented with a report that uses the information gathered during the home performance assessment. This report is generated using home performance assessment software that has been specially designed for this purpose. The report will lay out a comprehensive set of recommendations, their approximate cost and the projected energy savings. The report will provide you with a good sense of the return on your home performance investment by calculating an estimated simple payback (in years). You will be able to see how the energy savings can help pay for the increased comfort, health and peace of mind your home performance project will deliver. The estimated savings are based on the computer software’s simulation of your home’s performance in an average heating and cooling season for your area. Actual results will likely vary based on the severity of the weather, changes in your lifestyle or in the products you use in your home, fluctuations in energy prices, and other factors. This comprehensive home assessment report is yours to keep.
In order to qualify for rebates through the Dominion East Ohio Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program, customers are required to use a participating contractor to complete the improvements. Participating contractors are required to perform work in accordance with BPI standards and have any licensing that may be appropriate. A contractor network has been established to assist customers in their search for a participating contractor. To view the list, go to www.DEOHPwES.com
How does a participating contractor qualify for the program?
All contractors register for the program and must provide documentation about their business. Participating contractors must provide evidence of general liability insurance coverage of at least $1 million, as well as evidence of workers compensation insurance with at least statutory minimum limits. In addition, all contractors must provide:
When you have decided on the improvements you want to make to your home, you will contact and enter into a contract with a participating contractor. Check this contract carefully.
IMPORTANT! Never sign a contract before the contractor has presented you with a scope of work that includes details of the work to be performed and the cost of the proposed work.
Signing the Contract
Only sign the contract after you have reviewed it thoroughly and are satisfied with the arrangement. Be sure your contractor provides you with a copy of the contract. You will be responsible for submitting a completed rebate application and a copy of the invoice from the contractor in order to process your rebate. At this time, you should also discuss with your contractor the expected start and completion dates of the project.
At the time you sign your contract, you and your contractor should arrange a time for work to begin and estimate the date it will be completed. It is strongly recommended that, at a minimum, you arrange to meet with the contractor at the beginning of each day before work begins, and at the end of the day to review work progress to ensure that all terms of the contract are being fulfilled. These meetings will allow you to follow the work progress and help you better understand the impact the work will have on your home. Being involved is particularly important if a heating system is being installed. This will give you the opportunity to see how the system operates and to learn what type of maintenance is recommended. Be aware that as the work is being performed, the normal routine of your household may be disrupted. Also, it is recommended that cleanup of work areas be included in the contract.
The energy efficiency work performed on your home will often result in your home being more airtight. To ensure that the increased air tightness does not cause air quality or combustion health problems, your GoodCents home energy auditor is required to repeat the tests performed during the home performance assessment. This process is referred to as Pre- and Post-Testing or “Test-In/Test-Out”. It is a requirement of the program that these tests be completed and it is recommended that you be present during the tests. On rare occasions, the test-out process will reveal conditions that do not meet the program’s technical requirements. Should this be the case, your home performance auditor will recommend modifications to bring your home into compliance with program standards.
The test-out serves as quality assurance, allowing the program a 100% inspection rate of all completed projects. This provides a very strong measure of oversight, feedback and consumer protection by helping the program ascertain whether the contractor is following BPI and program standards, fulfilling contracts, and performing work satisfactorily.
After the auditor completes the test-out on your installed measures and verifies their acceptability under BPI and program standards, a Certificate of Completion will be issued to you to officially document that you participated in the program and that the installation is complete.
Once the work by a participating contractor is completed, the customer has submitted the appropriate rebate application to the program administrator, and the work passes the test-out performed by the GoodCents auditor, it will take approximately 7 business days to receive the check. Appropriate paperwork to be submitted by the customer includes a completed rebate application and any necessary receipts for equipment purchased.
Remember, in the long run, a comprehensive plan for energy improvements including insulation, sealing air leaks, and an efficient heating system, is usually the best approach to making your home energy efficient, comfortable, and durable. The home performance assessment report is likely to have recommendations that you are not able to implement right away. As long as the program is active and you haven’t exhausted your “program lifetime” rebate cap of $1,250, you will be able to participate. For instance, if you do work now and receive $650 in rebates, you can do additional work on your home and earn up to an additional $600 in rebates on subsequent work.
Participating contractors will provide you with a written warranty on labor and materials for a minimum of one (1) year from the date the service is performed. Equipment installed will carry the manufacturer’s warranty and any optional extended-warranty coverage that you select. Neither Dominion East Ohio, nor the Program Administrator, warrants the products and/or services of participating contractors, nor are they responsible or liable for any work performed by participating contractors, their subcontractors, or their suppliers. Participating contractors are independent home improvement contractors. Participating contractors are responsible for dealing directly with any customer concerns about quality and workmanship.