March Newsletter 3, 2011 Volume 3, Issue 4

3, 2011 Volume 3, Issue 4

The Weatherization PLUS Newsletter

Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc.  |  www.weatherizationplus.org

Special Post-Conference Edition

NASCSP Mid-Winter Training Conference

DOE Monitoring and Inspection Evolves

New requirements for states will affect local agency reviews. – The DOE’s headquarters team introduced the new federal monitoring protocols; they show how "feds" will validate whether state monitors are reviewing all documentation local agencies should provide regarding both fiscal and service delivery quality. Intended result: a single, predictable set of federal monitoring standards and practices. Issues emphasized in recent Inspector General (IG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports are addressed. The full presentation is at the WAPTAC website in the 2011 NASCSP Mid-Winter WAP Conference Materials Presentations under the "Monitoring Update" section.

The impending federal home inspection initiative was later outlined by Erica Burrin, Energy Project Specialist, of NETL and DOE headquarters. Federally-contracted home inspectors will be deployed to validate the States’ worksite monitoring process and will visit about 30,000 completed homes.

A Best Practice to WOW Your Monitors
Tab the pages or sets of pages in your job files and your fiscal files so that each item on the Federal checklist has a tab and behind it is the material for that item.

Local agencies: what to expect in all monitoring. – There is a uniform list of state and sub-grantee documents that will be expected for all monitoring, whether fiscal or home inspections. The DOE has extracted them into a checklist along with supporting best practices (see slide 20). Have them ready! Coming soon to weatherizationplus.org: a model local job file with notes to help you produce your own.

 

A federal ‘Quality Assurance’ visit means inspecting of homes and their related files. – When the contracted inspectors from the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) have been trained, they will visit a representative sample of 5% of ARRA homes and examine the client work files related to those homes. These inspectors report to the federal Project Officer for the state who is responsible for taking any official action. Unfortunately, this means that local agencies will not have the inspectors’ reports and guidance. Exception: where hazards are found, the inspectors will act quickly to be sure the right parties take corrective action immediately.


DOE Health and Safety Guidance

The DOE has recently issued revised Health and Safety (H&S) Guidance, Weatherization Program Notice (WPN) 11-6, to provide clarity and consistency in how H&S issues are approached by grantees. The notice requires many states to make a different kind of H&S plan and change some policies.

Goals – The Guidance stresses that the primary goal of the program remains "energy efficiency." The Guidance concerns "energy-related health & safety measures [which] are those actions necessary to maintain the physical well-being of both the occupants and/or weatherization workers where:

  • "Costs are reasonable as determined by DOE…; AND
  • "The actions must be taken to effectively perform weatherization work; OR
  • "The actions are necessary as a result of weatherization work."

What to expectNew H&S plans have been, or will be, put in place. The DOE has told states to budget Health and Safety costs as a separate category so as to exclude the costs from the overall average per-unit costs and avoid energy-savings cost justification.

See for yourself – A Health and Safety Guidance Table (see pp. 4-9) provides relevant examples and direction. DOE also provided a federal plan review checklist and a template (.doc download).


DOE Speaks: Changes Ahead

The DOE Leadership team was central to the NASCSP/WAP Conference track and to the NCAF Energy Symposium a week later. Along with encouragement for leveraging new resources as ARRA ends, OWIP Project Manager LeAnn Oliver and Weatherization Program Lead Robert Adams emphasized not only the new procedures described above, but also revealed that policy changes are now under consideration. Adams said, "There’s a new playbook."

Revised rules? – DOE expects publish a new draft regulation to update CFR 10.440 in the near future. The regulation governs the distribution formula, the process for selecting local agencies, and many other essential WAP policies. There will be a public comment period.

Multifamily WAP initiatives – DOE is providing new resources for multifamily weatherization. These initiatives include the following:

  • Development of a multifamily audit tool for evaluation – Version 1.0 released sometime in Fall 2011;
  • More partnering with HUD;
  • Standardized Workforce Specifications for multi-family work;
  • A soon-to-be-announced policy allowing WAP dollars for revolving loan funds, instead of grants, for multi-family projects. (Note: The loan funds would be administered at the sub-grantee level).

NCAF Energy Symposium

Highlights

A two-day Washington DC meeting of more than 100 CAA energy leaders showcased issues in the future of the Weatherization Program and offered training to support innovations.

Developing sustainable community investments Michael Karp, of Michael Karp and Associates, Inc. led an inspired session: "Imagining and Designing a Sustainable Community Investment Strategy". Dozens of CAA leaders participated in visioning exercises, worked through basic business plans, and learned that connecting stakeholders early is important for strategic partnerships and establishing funding sources. Case studies of innovative CAA projects that inspired participants’ alternatives are online at ncaf.org under "Energy".

Setting up a fee-for-service venture for your non-profit – Susan White of ACKCO and Ken Robinette, Director of South Central CAP, Twin Falls, ID, delivered two days of training on the financial and legal requirements for such enterprises as well as the process of creating a sound business plan.

New energy products and materials were presented by experts, including:

 


The Newsletter of Economic Opportunity Studies’ Weatherization PLUS Leveraging Partnership Project brings timely information about developments that expand the Weatherization Assistance Program to help your organization take advantage of emerging opportunities. Visit the Weatherization PLUS portal for more information.

Why You Are Receiving This Email
Your name is on a list of federal and state Weatherization Program contacts from W.A.P. conference attendance records. Of course, you may unsubscribe (see below). However, we hope you will help us add the names and addresses of all who may be interested. Our promise: 1) We do not share our list, and, 2) The newsletter will be sent only when there is useful material for weatherizers.

Specific questions? Opinions? Subjects we should cover in the future? Email us at:
energy_leveraging_news@opportunitystudies.org

In This Issue:

» New Monitoring Protocols
» Health & Safety
» Multi-Family Policy
» Sustainable Community Investment
» Fee-for-Service
» New Energy Products

Getting Started on Leveraging

Are you just starting your leveraging efforts? WeatherizationPlus.org has many resources to get you started:

Leveraging: How to Begin

Community Action New Mexico’s Efficiency White Paper

Advocacy at State Regulatory Commissions (.ppt download)

Did You Know…?

The 3 most common faults in state W.A.P. programs are:
  1) Sub-grantees are not provided the required adequate cash advances
  2) Bid specifications are often inadequately detailed
  3) The procurement process is inappropriately burdensome for agencies and contractors

Presented by Susan White, DOE’s Financial Management Trainer

Opportunities: Upcoming Conferences

CIF/NCAF Energy Conference – October 23-28, St. Petersburg, FL

2011 National Weatherization Training Conference – December 13-15, New Orleans, LA.

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Our Project Staff:

Meg Power
Project Manager

Fred Stratton
Project Coordinator

Nathan Warren
Project Coordinator

Eli Nesson
Information Manager


EOS Staff (L to R): Eli Nesson, Fred Stratton, Nathan Warren, Meg Power

Disclaimer: "This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof."

 

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