City & County of San Francisco
Notes and Questions and Answers from the Pre-bid Conference
Regarding Request for Proposals (RFP) for
Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Climate Professional Services,
Date: Wednesday, 08 July, 2009
Location: The Eco-Center, 11 Grove St, San Francisco CA 94102
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Number of Attendees: seventy-six (76), excluding Departmental Staff
Mr. Cal Broomhead and Ms. Ann Kelly introduced the Department’s Energy Programs
and members of the staff then gave a brief overview of the RFP before taking questions.
The $25 million RFP will be used to support the Department’s energy efficiency,
renewable energy, and climate programs and activities over the next 5 years. Over
$17 million will be direct pass-through incentive dollars to pay for the cost of installing
energy-efficient and renewable products and equipment in facilities throughout San
Francisco. Funding will come from California ratepayers through the Public Goods
Fund (currently obtained through a contract with PG&E), Stimulus Package funding,
foundations, and other sources such as the Dept. of Energy, EPA, and state agencies.
The Scope of Work covers current activity, expected new projects, and allows for
unknown opportunities that may arise in the future.
The RFP is divided into 2 parts. Part I represents direct administrative and technical
support for active programs that include processing incentive applications and issuing
payment to installation contractors or building/businesses owners participating in the
programs. Part I also involves a great deal of data entry, tracking and reporting,
contractor oversight, and quality control. The scope for Part II lists a number of diverse
categories of expertise, which, in all likelihood will take a team of consultants under a
prime contractor to meet the multiple qualifications. In order to be considered the team
must have proven expertise in eight (8) of eleven (11) specific categories (B through L)
in Part II.
Firms may submit proposals for Part I only, Part II only, or for both Part I and II. In the
latter case, where submission requirements may be repeated (e.g., team resumes,
references), proposers should submit only one copy and indicate clear cross-
reference(s) it in the appropriate section(s).
II. Questions & Answers
[Questions were presented verbally and in writing at the Bidders Meeting. Some
written questions were turned in after the meeting and more follow-up questions have
been received by email. The list below includes all questions received through
Friday, July 10, 2009. Some have been expanded/edited for clarification]
Q1: How was Ecology Action tied into what you are doing?
A: Ecology Action was a contractor managing a Small Business Direct Install
(SBDI) program for the Department. Their contract is about to expire, and SBDI
has been rolled into the commercial component of our Commercial and
Multifamily PLUS incentive program, which is a consolidated framework that will
continue. All of these components operated under the umbrella “SF Energy
Watch.” [see next question]
Q2: Currently what energy efficiency programs are operating, and which vendor is in
charge of implementing the program?
A: Currently, our Department operates the SF Energy Watch Program in
partnership with PG&E, which is funded by utility ratepayer dollars through the
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The budget for this year is about
$6.7 million, which covers incentives, Dept. staff, and consultant fees.
Consultants now supporting the program include ICF, which has a primary
implementation role and is responsible for payment of incentives, and HDR/BVA,
which provides as-needed technical support for SF Energy Watch and for
renewable and other Dept activities. As mentioned above, Ecology Action was
primary implementer for an SBDI program element, and that role included
payment of incentives. Currently all incentives are paid out by ICF. Dept. staff
have assumed other roles such as direct marketing and sales, energy audits,
specifying upgrades, assigning installers, and inspecting completed projects.
Q3: What’s the scope of work being done by staff employees and what is expected of
A: The Energy/Climate Group of the Department has the equivalent of 12 FTE
staff. Among a long list of responsibilities, they are involved in policy
development, program management and implementation, marketing, writing
project proposals, and designing programs, Often staff will need support in any or
all of these areas [as indicated in the Scope of the RFP]. For Part II, work would
be for the short-term and for projects that involve specialized tasks beyond the
expertise and/or capacity of the staff. It would not be realistic for the City to hire
new staff for a specialized project of limited duration. For such projects, the
department will set the goals and objectives for work orders to be issued to a
prime contractor on an as-needed basis.
For tasks in Part I, which address ongoing support for existing and possibly new
incentive programs, contractor will be fully engaged in implementation activities
in conjunction with the staff and will be responsible for the continual processing
of applications and incentive payments.
Q4: What’s the RFP budget breakdown of incentives and professional fees?
A: Currently, approximately 3/4 of the Part I budget would be distributed as
incentive payments to program participants, and 1/4 of it is would be available to
pay the contractor for its scope of work: database management, quality control of
installed systems, and engaging and supervising installation contractors.
Part II, which is much broader in scope, does not contemplate any incentive
payment passthroughs, although the City reserves the right to include in any
issued work orders under Part II tasks relevant for incentive- based programs
other than processing and payment of incentives.
Q5: How many vendors will be selected to participate?
A: For Part I, just one (1) prime contractor--perhaps with limited subs--shall be
selected. Because a majority of the budget is in incentives, it is desirable to
maintain payment records under one contract. In Part II, due to the diversity of
the scope of work, up to three (3) prime contractors and their teams may be
selected depend on the ability and capacity of the various proposers to meet
expected needs in a timely fashion.
Q6: What is the current database being used, and will there be a need for an update?
Is the E3 Calculator being used?
A: Currently, we use Energy Orbit which was built on a SalesForce CRM
platform. We are in the process of replacing it with Sugar CRM. Regardless of
the platform, the database must keep track of a vast amount of information to
meet required reporting to the CPUC, PG&E, and City officials. As new projects
and needs arise, we may need design updates, but hope not to have to change
the database platform again any time soon.
The E3 Calculator data is built into the reporting templates provided by PG&E;
the SF Energy Watch database supports the fields in the template but does not
do E3 calculations.
Q7: What vendor are you working with for the transition from Salesforce.com to Sugar
A: Levementum (email@example.com; 96 W Boston Street, Suite 203, Chandler , AZ ,
Phone: (602) 220-1437 / Fax: (602) 297-6766)
Q8: What sectors does the SF Energy Watch Program serve? How is the Program
distinguished from those of the SFPUC?
A: The SF Energy Watch program serves small and medium businesses and
multifamily sites in San Francisco. Potentially, the Program may expand to
include single family residences, specifically focusing on home performance
testing, but this depends on available funding.
The SFPUC, which is a water and power agency, handles energy efficiency
projects for the municipal sector. The City is not a PG&E electric customer, so is
not eligible for Public Goods Fund incentives on electric retrofits. Our staff
coordinates with the SFPUC on gas projects, which are eligible for incentives
from the Energy Watch Program. SFPUC also administers water conservation
programs that are outside the scope of this RFP.
Q9: Are all the programs already in place?
A: Yes, they are.
Q10: This question concerns Part II, Project Design. Specifically, how much Project
Design is going to be assigned to the contractors?
A: We do not know at this point. We anticipate funding for new programs that
may require expertise that the staff or City sources cannot provide.
Q11: Will the contractor do the training? What activities will contractors be involved in?
A: For Part I the contractor will be involved in identifying and helping to recruit
lighting, refrigeration, and HVAC installation contractors to participate in the
program. There will be a need to conduct training with respect to program design
and program procedures.
Q12: Are we (bidders) expected to identify contractors up front in our proposals?
A: You should identify subcontractors that are part of your team for Part I
and Part II. You may, but are not required to, include qualified installation
contractors as part of your team. The successful bidder for Part 1 will be able to
identify, or coordinate with independent installation contractors as part of the
work order process under Part 1.
Q13: For Part II, do we need to submit a fee schedule for each task?
A: For both Part I and Part II, there is a required fee proposal showing hourly
rates by various job classifications for both the prime contractor and each
subcontractor. In the past we have provided a sample of typical job types and
will provide this template to everyone to serve as a guideline. There is no fee
proposal by task. Budgets for tasks will be issued in work orders.
A separate fee proposal is required for Part I that provides the itemized cost of
processing, tracking, and recording incentive payments.
Q14: Does the City see a conflict of interest in a multiple team building plan? In other
words, can a subcontractor sign-up with more than one (1) prime contractor?
A: There is no conflict of interest if, as a subcontractor, your firm is a team
member with more than one prime contractor bidding on the RFP..
Q15: For Part II, are you looking for fixed fee or rate structure?
A: We are looking for hourly rates. (See Q13 above). [Rates will be weighted
and the proposal containing the lowest overall fees will receive a full 10 points;
the others will be scaled downwards and receive points as outlined in section
IV.4.b of the RFP, page 15.]
Q16: This question pertains to “technical services.” For example, if three (3) teams got
chosen to bid on a large commercial project, will the staff go out and say this is what we
need, and contractors will propose a fee in response, and go through negotiation? Also,
how much of that will be from the Part I Prime Contractor? Will the prime contractor
write the scope of work? Is a job going to happen by assignment or can vendors go out
and find some jobs?
A: All tasks will be issued through work orders to the prime contractor heading
the most appropriate team. The City does not currently anticipate that any scope
of work will involve consultant marketing or looking for work/projects independent
of specifically assigned tasks in support of a designated project.
For Part II, the Department writes the scope with a proposed budget and
presents it to the prime contractor whose team appears to be the most capable of
fulfilling the requirements. The contractor reviews it and responds. If the
response seems out of line with expectations, the Department may present the
scope and budget to another contractor, but there is no formal bidding on
projects after contracts are in place. Budget and/or scope adjustments may
follow before work orders are finalized.
The Part I Contractor will be issued work orders for program implementation
immediately following the execution of the contract. The budgets and timelines
may be amended during the course of the programs or new work orders may be
issued to keep pace with any new developments, including the addition of new
programs and new tracking criteria for payment of incentives and for reporting
Q17: For Part II, can the prime contractor add a subcontractor based on needs, such as
unforeseen project requirements?
A: Yes. Prime contractors must use the subcontractors listed on their proposals
for the purposes identified in the proposal, but may, with the City's permission,
add uniquely qualified subcontractors based on unanticipated case-by-case
needs of the Department. The last category in Part II (“M.Other Tasks”) is
included for this purpose.
Q18: Is there a need to have additional bids to add subcontractor(s)?
A: No. Prime contractors do not need to select additional subcontractors through
competitive bidding. The Department will determine if a new RFP needs to be
issued to accomplish work of scope and magnitude beyond this RFP.
Q19: What incentives do the prime contractors have to encourage them to utilize small,
local businesses as subcontractors?
A: This RFP is expected to include federal funds and therefore is subject to the
small business requirements of the US Department of Energy instead of the
City's Local Business Enterprise Ordinance. Successful bidders must
demonstrate positive efforts to utilize small businesses, minority-owned firms,
and women’s business enterprises whenever possible. The City’s Human Rights
Commission (HRC) maintains a list of Local Businesses Enterprises (LBE) that
bidders may find helpful in meeting this requirement..
This is consistent with criteria for Stimulus Package spending for workforce
development and job creation, particularly “green jobs.”
Q20: Are San Francisco HRC-certified firms required?
A: No. This RFP is governed by the USDOE small business requirements.
However, LBEs would be recognized as small businesses under USDOE
regulations. The LBE list is included in the document containing recipients of this
RFP, which has been shared with everyone on the list. An updated RFP list is
Q21: - The Climate Inventory and Certification scope is not clear. Please elaborate
(RFP page 8 of 23).
A: The City has conducted greenhouse gas emission inventories for both
municipal and community sectors; yet they are evolving constantly. The
Department is looking for a vendor to develop a system for regularized data
collection for both sets of inventories. The Department also wants to find another
vendor licensed to certify inventories with the California Climate Action Registry
and the Climate Registry (same contractor cannot both work on data collection
and certify municipal inventories).
Q22: How can a vendor become eligible to work on climate inventory and certification?
A: Vendors must sign-up with the Climate Registry in order to certify.
Q23: Will the City be responsible for identifying new projects or will the contractor have
to “beat the bushes?” How large is the roll for consultants to find projects?
A: Please refer to Question 16.
For certain new programs, we envision a joint effort between staff and a
contractor/team. For example, the Department may start a new Home
Performance Testing Initiative. The contractor could be responsible for identifying
new customers. Also, the contractor may be required to assist in program design
and offering program training for new home performance contractors.
Q24: Page 10, Construction Management - What type of construction do you envision?
A: This generally applies to large commercial building retrofit projects.
Q25: Will these [construction management projects] require assistance from
Professional Engineers? Would it be a good idea to have an engineer on staff for this
task. for instance?
A: In most cases, the expertise of a professional engineer may well be needed
for this task in the scope of work.
Q26: On Page 12, Number 2, Items c and d seem similar, so please clarify. [This
question was raised several times for further clarification.]
A: The referenced #2 “Contractor/Sub-Contractor Qualifications” of the RFP is
an opportunity to provide up to 3 pages of convincing background and
experience on the Prime Contractor’s firm and each subcontractor’s firm that will
demonstrate how they will contribute to fulfilling the categories within the scope
of the RFP.
Section 2c asks that bidders match projects undertaken by each firm to the
various categories of the Scope of Work. This section offers an opportunity to
provide insights and issues (eg, lessons learned, resounding successes, etc.) on
what this experience will bring to undertaking similar tasks for the Department.
Samples of tasks and deliverables can provide evidence of the breadth and
depth of a firm’s qualifications in specific categories.
In Section 2d, bidders are asked to highlight 2 projects with more specific details
(including project staff). These can either be projects discussed before or
additional ones. The projects selected may be used to demonstrate other
qualifications bidders may want to emphasize, for example, the firm’s capability
for such things as responsiveness, meeting deadlines, staying within budget, etc.
Q27: This question is about the format. If a firm is proposing to bid on both Part I and
II, should the format be the same, or can the format show additional 3 pages per each
participating subcontractor. In other words, if my firm has ten (10) subcontractors, can
I add thirty (30) pages to my Response?
A: No matter which Part your company is bidding on, the format should stay the
same in order that all bidders are judged on the same basis. On the cover sheet,
explicitly specify which Part(s) you are responding to and which categories in
Part II. You must provide required background on all subcontractors and are
limited to three pages for each. If you intend to present exactly the same
information and project samples for a sub who will work on both Part I and Part II,
please provide a cross reference to the background page(s) rather than sending
duplicates in your submittal.
Q28: If a vendor is submitting a proposal on Part I or Part II only, should the format stay
A: Yes, the format should stay the same.
Q29: If a vendor is submitting a proposal for both parts, are two (2) separate proposals
A: No, not entirely. For example, Part I shall be judged (scored) separately
against other bidders for Part I (regardless of whether other bidders submitted for
Part II as well). The same rule applies for Part II bidders. If you are to bid on both
parts, please cross-reference any duplicative documents rather than submitting 2
copies of the exact same pages.
In preparing this RFP, we debated whether or not to release 2 separate RFPs or
only one. It was decided to issue a single RFP consisting of two parts to make it
easier on bidders who might want to bid on both, and to reduce the amount of
bureaucracy involved. We still believe this to be the case and hope these
clarifications will remove some of the confusion and truly make the process less
Q30: If my company is a subsidiary of another company, can my company be eligible
to apply as a subcontractor, working for another prime contractor? [This question was
referred to the City Attorney’s Office]
A: Prime contractors may select any subcontractors that are qualified
(and if applicable, licensed) to do the work for which they are included.
Q31: AECOM is in the unique position of being able to support most of the tasks
under Part II using its subsidiaries. Can we define “firms” as operating companies?
Could the subsidiaries be considered sub-contractors? [This question was referred to
the City Attorney’s Office]
A: A firm may include its own subsidiaries on its proposal, but, depending on the
facts, the subsidiaries may each be considered a City "contractor" rather than a
City "subcontractor" for purposes of the various City contracting requirements,
such as the City’s Equal Benefits Ordinance (EBO), minimum wages, etc.
Q32: If my company is a prime bidder, how would I learn about those willing to be
A: We encourage networking and will send a list with all of the Pre-bid
Conference attendees plus others who have received the RFP. People are
welcome to contact each other to build teams. We also encourage bidders to
contact the Human Rights Commission and use the City's LBE listings to
outreach to small business enterprises as required by USDOE.
Q33: Please clarify number 4, “References.”(Section IIIB, p.13 of RFP) It seems to be
similar to Items c and d of number 2?
A: References are always checked to verify performance and claims regarding
prior work. In this section you can use clients already referenced in your project
descriptions or you can use others. Note that this section calls for names of lead
project managers, and specifies recent clients.
Q34: What is the database you are using? How is it structured?
A: Again, the current database is Energy Orbit, built on a Salesforce platform,
which is proprietary. The new CRM, Sugar, is an open-source database. The
structure includes a calculator for energy efficiency savings and a database for
customer information / project tracking. We don’t expect any changes to Sugar
unless there is an obvious need.
Q35: Will a bidder need to have expertise and experience on this type of database in
order to bid?
A: No, any typical database experience would suffice
Q36: When will the winning bidder start work?
A: In the Fall, hopefully by November.
Q37: Should a bidder apply for a SF business permit at this point?
A: A bidder not otherwise required to have a SF Business Registration
Certificate does not need to obtain one in order to submit a bid. But, because a
successful bidder must be a qualified City vendor and have an up-to-date
business certificate and all required insurance before a contract can be
executed, bidders are encouraged to begin the process as soon as possible.
Please visit the City’s website for more information:
Q38: Page 11 of the RFP says e-mail only submission, while Page 13 of the RFP asks
for fee proposal in a sealed enveloped. Please clarify the method of submission.
A: Fee proposals shall be submitted in a sealed envelope, mailed or hand-
delivered to the Department, by the due date. The response to the RFP shall be
Q39: What is the current contract amount for ICF?
A: The current contract amount for ICF is $ 5,995,000, which was recently
amended from an original contract of $4,000,000.
Q40: What specifically is HDR working on?
A: HDR has worked on projects that include solar mapping, carbon fund
analysis, carbon emissions data management, research for residential and
commercial energy ordinances, HVAC audits, and green business certification
program database and technical support
Q41: You’ve asked for teaming on this RFP. Is this for administrative purposes or
A: Our goal is to have at our disposal the expertise necessary to meet the
broad range of energy and climate tasks that our Department is increasing being
asked to perform. Most firms simply do not possess this range of expertise, or if
they do, may have limited resources or capacity to respond in a timely fashion.
Our intent is to have several teams under contract to ensure we have both ample
expertise and capacity readily available. This also affords us the opportunity to
seek out funding for new and innovative projects with confidence that we will be
able to fulfill obligations.
Q42: Can you please confirm if the specified $25,000,000 contract amount is the total
to be allocated over the entire five year original term for all requested contractor
services under Part I and Part II for all three target areas? In other words, is the total
estimated budget (sans incentives) for all requested energy efficiency, renewable
energy and climate change contractor services not to exceed $8,000,000 over the five-
A: This is the amount and schedule we are working with at this time. We cannot
confirm that this won’t change as It is not possible to predict what will happen
over the course of the next five years.
III. Instructions for Additional Questions
Any further questions should be sent, in the form of an e-mail to the RFP e-mail
account: Energy.ClimateProposals@sfenvironment.org .
All questions will be answered via e-mail to the entire RFP list.
• Proposal Fee Template
• Updated RFP list