Multifamily Upgrade Program Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the PG&E Multifamily Upgrade Program (MUP)?

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Multifamily Upgrade Program (MUP) promotes and facilitates energy-efficient retrofits of multifamily housing (“projects”) through program coordination, technical support, and cash incentives.

  1. How is MUP funded?

PG&E funds MUP, a public service program that helps existing multifamily properties achieve greater energy savings through upgrades and renovations.  Energy efficiency upgrades can improve resident comfort and satisfaction, reduce operations and maintenance costs, and increase marketability and property value.

  1. What is TRCs’ role in MUP?

TRC implements this program on behalf of PG&E and works with the project teams to guide projects through incentive payment.

  1. What are my upfront, out-of-pocket costs for participating in MUP? Will MUP reimburse these costs if I enroll a project?

As a public-service offering, MUP provides program services free of charge to program participants. However, participants must hire and pay for a qualified, participating energy rater to perform a whole-building energy audit, develop the scope of work, model and calculate energy savings, and submit documentation to TRC . MUP provides an incentive of $100 per-dwelling-unit ($25 per unit bonus if your property’s modeled energy savings are 25 percent or greater) to defray some of the cost of hiring a rater. This incentive is not designed to cover 100 percent of the rater’s fees.

  1. What is a whole-building energy audit, and why must I perform one to qualify? Why do I need to hire a rater?

To be eligible for incentives, a building in a project must demonstrate a minimum of 10 percent modeled energy savings. After completing the site assessment, a participating energy rater evaluates the property’s energy saving potential using the program-approved modeling software, analyzing which retrofits should be completed to achieve a minimum of 10 percent site savings.  The audit is also a valuable resource for property owners—the rater produces a comprehensive energy report that the property owner can reference for future retrofits.

  1. How do I know if my project is eligible for MUP?

MUP is a whole-building retrofit program and promotes a comprehensive retrofit project by requiring the following to participate:

  • Property must receive at least one utility service from PG&E. If the property receives one utility, MUP will adjust the incentive based on the energy savings of that utility.
  • Owner must complete a minimum of two upgrade measures, in two of the four measure categories (building envelope, heating/cooling, water heating, and appliances/lighting).
  • Property must have five or more attached dwelling units in each building.
  • Project must improve building energy efficiency beyond existing conditions by at least ten percent, based on modeled energy savings.
  • Owner must engage the services of a MUP participating energy rater and contractor to conduct building audit, analysis, installation, and verification.
  1. What properties and units may participate in MUP?

Existing multifamily buildings that have five or more attached dwelling units. Both low-rise and high-rise buildings are eligible. Properties with multiple duplex, triplex, or quadplexes (two to four attached units) on a single parcel may also qualify on a case-by-case basis. PG&E serves single family homes and multifamily new construction projects through separate programs (contact MUP Staff for additional information).

  1. What areas of my multifamily property are eligible for upgrades? What types of upgrades qualify?

Any area of the property that uses energy is eligible. This includes, but is not limited to, in-unit, common, office, maintenance, gym, laundry, parking lot, and pool areas.

The following is a list of common upgrades for which MUP pays incentives. Note, this list is not comprehensive. Please contact us if you are interested in an energy efficiency upgrade not included on this list.

  • Building Envelope (Exterior)
    • Roof/attic insulation
    • Wall insulation
    • Floor insulation
    • Cool roof or radiant barrier
    • Windows
  • Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning
    • Furnaces
    • Air conditioning
    • Fans
    • Duct sealing and insulation (as applicable)
  • Domestic Water
    • Water heaters
    • Pumps and controls
    • Low-flow fixtures
  • Lighting and Appliances
    • Interior and exterior lighting
    • Refrigerators and dishwashers
    • Laundry appliances
  1. What are the savings requirements for MUP?

To be eligible for incentives, a building in a project must demonstrate a minimum of 10 percent modeled energy savings.

  1. I have a few older buildings in my portfolio that can benefit from standalone retrofits, but I don’t know which would meet the 10 percent energy savings threshold. How do I determine which buildings to enroll in the program?

MUP encourages properties to perform a whole-building energy assessment of all your property’s buildings. We will then work with you to find the right mix of upgrades to maximize incentives and achieve your retrofit goals.

  1. What does the MUP participation process look like?

The MUP participation process includes seven steps:

  1. Pre-qualification
  2. Application
  3. Assessment
  4. Incentive reservation
  5. Energy efficiency upgrades
  6. Verification
  7. Incentive payment
  1. When are MUP incentive funds reserved?

MUP reserves incentives after a project successfully completes the assessment (Step 3) and assessment desktop review (Step 4).

  1. Who pays the incentive and when can I expect to receive the incentive check?

PG&E will process upgrade and assessment incentives based on the energy savings and dwelling unit count reported in the program completion letter. You can expect to receive your incentive check within three weeks of program completion. PG&E will address payments to the owner applicant and/or approved rater or contractor identified on the project application.

  1. Approximately how much could I expect to receive as my incentive?

Upgrade incentives are tiered, based on modeled whole-building site energy savings, starting at $400 per dwelling unit (at 10 percent whole-building improvement) and increasing up to $3,000 per unit (at 50 percent improvement). The higher your energy savings, the more lucrative the incentive.

Please see these case studies as examples of incentives you can earn for your property:

  1. Are there any opportunities to install water-efficiency devices?

Yes! MUP incentivizes water savings for reducing the energy needed to pump water at its source. If a property meets all program requirements and completes at least three of the water measures outlined below, MUP will raise the incentive to the next percent tier.

  • Low-flow showerheads
  • Low-flow aerators
  • Low-flow toilets
  • Turf replacement
  • Irrigation controllers
  • Rain barrels

  16. Can I choose my own contractor to perform the installation work?

MUP provides participants with a selection of participating contractors and energy raters who are familiar with program guidelines and procedures and are properly insured and certified. However, if you would like to use your own contractor or rater, MUP must screen and vet the contractor or rater first. Please contact us and we will walk you through the procedure.

  1. I have a large project that will take a long time to complete. What are my options?

MUP’s Incremental Path provides an alternative solution for property owners with construction timelines extending into the next program year. This pathway allows projects to be split into stages based on the program year. Customers receive partial incentives upon completion of each stage, easing project financials and enabling the project to participate in the program according to its unique timeline.