Media: Researching energy efficiency’s future in Minnesota (Finance & Commerce)

Mar 2, 2021

From Finance & Commerce: 

President Joe Biden and Gov. Tim Walz want to combat the global climate crisis with bold renewable energy investments combined with energy efficiency directives. Energy efficiency standards will likely increase under Biden. In Minnesota, Walz wants to strengthen the state’s Conservation Improvement Program, which helps consumers and businesses save on energy. 

Understanding how different strategies and products can help reduce energy demand through efficiency is the focus of the Commerce Department’s “Conservation Applied Research and Development” (CARD) program, part of the Division of Energy Resources....

Last year, the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) released a study of how a pay-for-performance utility program model might work in Minnesota. The model compensates building owners for energy performance over time instead of savings rebates now used by utilities.

CEE Research director Dave Bohac said his organization has done more than 40 CARD studies and delivers efficiency programs on behalf of utilities, notably Home Energy Squad, sponsored by CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy. The reports give utilities and their clients a sense of what technologies and products unlock the greatest energy savings.

A CEE report on dehumidifiers revealed that smaller units consume less energy than larger capacity models. The Home Energy Squad, he said, now recommends homeowners looking to buy dehumidifiers consider small capacity units to save energy, Bohac said.

CARD projects focus on emerging technologies where there is limited information on their installed performance in buildings. CEE studied whether cold climate residential air source heat pumps, popular in more moderate climates, could work in Minnesota....
 

Read the full article from Finance & Commerce