Tennessee’s WAP Teams Up with TVA to Reduce Operational Friction, Serve More , by Frank Rapley

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), where I work as a senior manager, is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation. 

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) is Tennessee’s housing finance agency, created by the General Assembly in 1973. THDA was created to promote the production of more affordable new housing units for very low, low and moderate income individuals and families in the state, to promote the preservation and rehabilitation of existing housing units for such persons, and to bring greater stability to the residential construction industry and related industries so as to assure a steady flow of production of new housing units.

Tracking Data

Like many Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) administrators across the country, THDA struggled to keep up with the abundance of data tracking and processing required by the program. Without a sophisticated information technology system, THDA’s two full-time employees trudged through a laborious, manual process to effectively monitor the activities of their 14 community agency partners spanning Tennessee’s 95 counties. Real-time data was non-existent and tracking systems captured redundant information, sometimes requiring double (or even triple) data entry, making it difficult for staff to monitor program operations on a timely basis.

Through our work with THDA’s Weatherization Advisory Committee, we at TVA learned about this dilemma and offered to help find a solution. As the nation’s largest public power company, TVA’s EnergyRight administers home energy upgrade programs in association with 154 local power companies across the Tennessee Valley region. Having faced similar problems with our own weatherization efforts, we united with their program delivery partners and vendors to develop an advanced, cloud-based data-tracking and program administration platform, eScore. Building off the highly successful eScore platform, TVA created WAPez, a state-of-the-art, end-to-end system bringing all WAP data and processes together seamlessly for the State and its agency partners.

Our experience building the eScore platform gave us the confidence that we could create WAPez for Tennessee WAP. We expect the new system to generate the same dramatic increases in efficiency we experienced in our market-rate home retrofit program.

WAPez: A One-Stop Shop

WAPez brings automation, analytics and real-time monitoring to every stage of the WAP process, from application intake through auditing, work order development, inspection, invoicing and administration. It seeks to reduce or eliminate paper files, make field and office operations more efficient, provide transparency to program operations, and capture all program data in a single database. TVA enlisted the help of CLEAResult and Energy Datametrics, its program delivery and information technology partners, to work with THDA to create the platform.

The resulting system increases capacity through operational efficiencies and provides a direct view into the program at the subgrantee and state levels. Subgrantees have instant access to view their own performance and the State has instant access to view program operations as a whole. 

“I think WAPez is going to be a huge time-saver,” said Blake Worthington, housing program manager/energy for the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.  “Weatherization has a lot of moving parts. There is always something going on with every unit. Conditions in units change. So there has to be good, strong communication between auditors and the local sub-grantees, and the contractors and the clients. Ultimately we spend a lot of time, just given the nature of the program, following up and making sure everyone knows where we are with each project.”

Priority point calculation and other routine tasks have been automated. Auditing tools have been greatly enhanced. Gone are the days of clipboard audits and re-entry into the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Audit Tool (NEAT) and Manufactured Home Energy Audit (MHEA) software. Auditors use an Android-based tablet to capture all audit data in the field. The data is automatically uploaded to the cloud and transferred to the appropriate DOE tool. By the time the auditors get back to their offices, the reports are waiting for them. Auditors can also run the DOE tools outside the office. Similar efficiencies have been gained for each step in the WAP process.

All auditors’ tablets include access to the WAPez software, training documents, client education forms, and Standard Work Specifications Field Guide. Auditors and inspectors can take photos in the field on their tablets or take photos on a camera and upload those photos using the WAPez web portal back at their office. All audit information can be seen at the state level in real time.

Field Tested and DOE Approved

Prior to launching WAPez across the state’s community agencies, TVA and THDA conducted extensive field tests in Memphis and Chattanooga, Tennessee. During this test phase, 200 homes were weatherized using WAPez.

THDA then received approval from DOE to use the WAPez platform for its state program. WAPez does not contain a proprietary “black box” audit tool. Rather, it is a smooth interface with the existing DOE NEAT and MHEA tools. The goal was to make the tools already widely utilized by WAP auditors easier to use and navigate.

Following the field tests, CLEAResult conducted training with all subgrantee agencies’ personnel. The WAPez platform became fully operational across Tennessee in July 2018.

WAPez has provided transparency into WAP operations for the State of Tennessee, which has enabled more efficient operations and funding management. Ultimately, this state-of-art platform is helping more people get the weatherization services they need.

Frank Rapleyis a Tennessee Valley Authority senior manager.

learn more

To find out more about the Tennessee Valley Authority, go to www.tva.com/About-TVA.

To learn more about WAPez, visit http://wapmadeeasy.com.

Views: 215

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros Forum to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Forum

Foam/Fiberglass Hybrid Insulation

Started by Noah Ray Sanders in General Forum yesterday. 0 Replies

Drywall Gasket

Started by AJ Afkham in General Forum. Last reply by Michael Dunseith on Tuesday. 6 Replies

Baffles without soffit vents?

Started by Haley Keegan in Best Practices. Last reply by Haley Keegan Aug 12. 2 Replies

Looking to buy Minneapolis Duct Blaster

Started by Dimitri Mal in General Forum. Last reply by Diane Chojnowski Aug 12. 1 Reply

Water heater ventilation question

Started by Luis Hernandez in General Forum. Last reply by Minnie Coleman Aug 3. 24 Replies

Latest Activity

Steve Taylor replied to Steve Taylor's discussion Moving sale - reduced in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"I do still have it."
3 hours ago
Noah Ray Sanders replied to Steve Taylor's discussion Moving sale - reduced in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"Do you still have the DB with DG 1000"
3 hours ago
Chris Stratton posted a discussion

Okay to use 1" polyiso as a insulation base for 50 gallon heat pump water heater?

I am about to install a 50-gallon Rheem heat pump water heater in our garage at our house near…See More
4 hours ago
Noah Ray Sanders posted a discussion

Foam/Fiberglass Hybrid Insulation

Does anyone have any knowledge of installing fiberglass in the walls and foam insulating the attic…See More
yesterday
Diane Chojnowski's video was featured

2X CODE INSULATION - Simple Trick!

In this episode Matt is visiting a nearly 100 year old Bungalow being re-built to Passive House standards. Architect Trey Farmer is building his family home and has some great tricks to double the insulation of a standard code built home without…
Friday
Elmec is now a member of Home Energy Pros Forum
Friday
Ed Minch commented on Blake Reid's blog post Blower Door Testing in Hawaii
"Glad to see they went with 5 ACH50.  This is very easy to achieve in even small houses and…"
Thursday
Building Performance Institute shared Chris Dorsi's discussion on Facebook
Thursday

© 2019   Created by Building Performance Association   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service