Friday, December 14, 2018

California Mandates Solar Power in New Homes

california sun
California announced a new mandate that requires
all homes built after 2019 to be solar powered.

Last week, California became the first state in the nation to require homes built after 2019 to be solar powered. The new provisions finalize a previous vote from the California Energy Commission and brings the state closer to its goal to make clean energy more accessible.

The rule applies to all newly built single-family homes and multifamily homes of three stories or fewer. Although the vote was passed unanimously, the commission received about 300 letters from California citizens opposing the mandate.

Most of the opposition came from concerns about the cost to homeowners. Although energy officials estimate that the new mandate will add $10,000 to the cost of building a single-family home, homeowners would see savings from their lower utility bills. Homeowners could expect savings of up to $500 a year with solar panels.

Another concern was that the mandate would make it harder for California wildfire victims to rebuild However, homeowners will have two options to eliminate the upfront cost of adding solar to their new home: leasing the solar panels or signing a power purchase agreement that pays for the electricity without buying the panels.

For contractors and developers, the mandate is a little more complicated. The task of building affordable homes that still comply with the new mandate can be challenging. However, the mandate allows for community-shared solar options, or a system that uses off-site solar farms to send energy to homes via transmission lines. These community-shared options require more in-depth planning, but could save both homeowners and developers a lot of money.

Both contractors and prospective homeowners must find a compromise before the mandate goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Still, industry experts are excited about the change as it can bring California closer to it's goal of sustainable design for all.

"Solar was always considered a luxury item in the past. Now it's going to be a necessity," Dan Spiegal, president of Santa Monica-based DMS Contractors, said in a recent press release.

To learn more about the mandate, visit the California Energy Commission website. To learn more about solar power training and how to get involved in this exciting field, visit Zack Academy.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Delaware Announces New Lead Paint Rules Early Next Year

Early next year, Delaware will debut new rules on outdoor
lead paint removal. The new rules come shortly
after residents called for stricter lead paint laws.

Last week, the state of Delaware announced the expected arrival of new rules on outdoor lead paint removal. Some time next year, Delaware contractors can expect stricter regulations on demolitions, renovations, and other projects that disturb structures containing lead paint.

The new rules come after several calls from Delaware residents for stronger regulations on outdoor lead paint removal. In 2016, locals were concerned when lead paint was removed from a water tower in Wilmington. Some residents allege that the removal team did not employ lead-safe practices.

"We're watching sandblasting projects go with no oversight," Sarah Bucic, Wilmington resident said in a recent press release.

The dangers of lead paint exposure has been widely documented. Lead exposure is known to result in neurological and reproductive abnormalities, as well as blood and bone disorders. Lead paint exposure is particularly dangerous for children as heavy metal poisoning can permanently alter childhood development. As a result, lead poisoning prevention has been a priority at both federal and regional levels across the United States.

While the regulations have yet to be finalized, DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin anticipates the rules will be in place by early next year. The new rules include a 30-day public notification period, which should increase transparency between DNREC and residents. The rule also proposes that companies removing lead paint from water towers through sandblasting must have a permit to do so. Contractors will be expected to perform their work in accordance to lead-paint safety laws.

The new outdoor lead paint removal law will join previous DNREC efforts to control lead paint exposure. DNREC already enacted a law earlier this year that banned future applications of lead paint on outdoor structures.

These new lead paint regulations could potentially save lives. To learn more about DNREC's lead paint laws, visit their website. To learn more about lead paint removal, visit Zack Academy.

The Most Underrated Cleaning and Restoration Courses

These underrated restoration classes can answer legal questions, 
explain safety requirements, and jump start 
your marketing strategies.

When you're a restoration professional, the actual remediation work is only half of your job. The other half is successfully running your restoration business. The restoration industry works adjacent to insurance companies with employees frequently handling toxic chemicals and entering dangerous work zones. This means restoration companies need to be well versed on legal and safety requirements in addition to the regular marketing expertise necessary for running a business.

Zack Academy offers many training resources for cleaning and restoration professionals. These courses are sometimes overlooked when students are entering the restoration business for the first time. However, these courses provided a wealth of information that can take your restoration business to the next level. Here are some of the most underrated cleaning and restoration courses:

Health and Safety Technician (HST):
This course helps you fulfill some of the safety requirements your restoration company may be asked to present to insurance companies or OSHA. You'll learn plenty of common safety violations and best practices, but there are three overlooked benefits of this course.

One benefit is that this course covers the written respiratory protection plan. This document is necessary for almost all types of restoration work. Without this written plan, your company could be fined by OSHA or overlooked for jobs from insurance companies. During class, the instructor will teach you step-by-step how to create a written respiratory protection plan for your company.

Additionally, students in the Health and Safety Technician (HST) course receive instruction on respirators. They can even take a "fit" testing in class if they plan to use a respirator on the job site. This test ensures that the respirator fits correctly so that it best protects the user. If you're just starting out in mold remediation, this course will save you time and money by helping you determine what kind of respirator you need and how to use it correctly.

Lastly many of the IICRC Certification Tracks to get your Master Certification require the HST training. These IICRC Journeyman and Master tracks are a great way to set yourself apart from the pack and designate your expertise in the cleaning and restoration industry.

This course gives a lot of value for its cost, so it should be on the list for any restoration professional.

Legal and Marketing Tactics:
This course teaches students how to manage and promote their restoration business. Even though this class is free, it is packed with valuable information that shouldn't be overlooked.

On the legal side, participants of this class have the opportunity to sit down with experts and get critical information on difficult legal topics of the industry. Your company can benefit from this class if you've ever asked yourself:
  • "How do I get paid for my work after my client's insurance claim has been denied?"
  • "How do I write an official service agreement?"
  • "How do I draft an assignment of benefits?"
  • "Is this legal issue outside of what I'm licensed to handle?"
On the marketing side, participants of this class will learn how to better manage their restoration business through social media marketing. If your company is new to social media marketing, you'll have the opportunity to sit down with experts and discuss ideas tailored to your company.

Usually, you'd have to pay for this type of consulting; however, this course is offered for free. If you're just starting your cleaning and restoration business, consider this resource.

Water Damage Business Marketing Strategies Online:
This course is another marketing course, but its provided completely online to accommodate busy water damage restoration professionals and goes into great depth on selling and marketing tactics to grow your business.

The main overlooked benefit of this course is that if you're brand new to marketing, you'll learn a variety of strategies. This course covers outbound cold-calling, inbound social media marketing, word-of-mouth marketing from other professionals, and organic face-to-face meetings. You'll be able to choose which strategies work best for your business and learn how to implement them. Since this class is specifically tailored for restoration businesses, you'll get useful and relevant tools that you can start using right away.

There's more to running a restoration business than just cleaning. Grow your business by growing your skill set with these underrated cleaning and restoration classes today.

To learn more about all of Zack Academy's cleaning and restoration courses, visit Zack Academy.