CEE CARD Grants: Helping utilities bring energy savings to Minnesotans

May 14, 2018

Alex-and-Lauren.JPGThe Minnesota Department of Commerce has announced a total of $1,580,238 in conservation research funding for nine projects in which CEE will either participate or lead.

The newly awarded funds will support research to advance the energy efficiency field and help utilities bring enhanced energy savings to Minnesota consumers, often in partnership with like-minded organizations that complement our efforts to provide practical energy solutions for homes, businesses, and communities.

This announcement follows a competitive review process through the department’s Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) grantmaking program. By design, CARD projects quantify the savings, cost effectiveness and field performance of advanced technologies; characterize market potential of products and technologies in the State; and investigate and pilot innovative program strategies. Completed CARD projects provide utilities with informative and timely information to enhance energy efficiency program designs within their Conservation Improvement Program portfolios.

For its 2017 cycle of general topic CARD grants, the Department of Commerce awarded a total $2.4 million for 13 projects, including $1.5 million for the nine projects affiliated with CEE.
Below is the complete list of this year’s CEE-connected CARD projects. In each case, the "CARD Grant Total" represents the full amount awarded by the Department of Commerce to that project lead, with lesser funds to be paid by the project lead to sub-contractors. For the first five projects, CEE is the project lead and official grantee; for the final four projects, another organization is project lead and CEE will serve as a sub-contractor. CEE and its research associates will also self-fund elements of research not covered by CARD. 
The Operation and Control of Lighting, Plug Loads, and other Power over Ethernet (PoE) Technologies Using Network Switches in Small Commercial and Institutional Buildings

This project will demonstrate the use of IT network switches to power and control lighting, HVAC and other end uses in commercial and institutional buildings, to cut energy use in buildings. The Power over Ethernet technologies will be used in four sites, including office spaces, classrooms, and public buildings. The data gathered will be analyzed to identify energy savings and the economic benefits of the technologies tested. (Note: This project also receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office.)

  • CARD Grant Total: $104,975
  • Project Lead: CEE
  • Project Manager: Lester Shen, Director of Innovative Technologies (CEE)
  • Duration: Feb. 2018 – Dec. 2020
  • Sub-contractors: LHB Architects, Wold  Architects
  • Project Page

Field Study of Stand-alone Dehumidification and Efficiency Opportunities in MN Single Family Homes

In response to the growing need to characterize stand-alone dehumidification in Minnesota, this project will measure in-field energy performance and determine how effective these units are at solving moisture issues in homes. The data gathered will inform a guide to help utilities and consumers make better choices about dehumidification.

  • CARD Grant Total: $257,780
  • Project Lead: CEE
  • Project Manager: Josh Quinnell, Senior Research Engineer (CEE)
  • Duration: Jan. 2018 – Mar. 2020
  • Sub-contractor: Leede Research
  • Project Page

Expanded Scope Commercial Boiler Tune Ups

Commercial boiler tune-up programs have traditionally relied on burner air-fuel ratio adjustments to achieve energy savings. This project will develop and field test a method that focuses on optimizing boiler temperature settings and staging controls to save energy. Industry interviews and field tests will be conducted in 20 buildings, providing valuable data about energy savings, costs and implementation challenges, as well as other key issues.

  • CARD Grant Total: $250,960
  • Project Lead: CEE
  • Project Manager: Russ Landry, Senior Mechanical Engineer (CEE)
  • Duration: Feb. 2018 – Dec. 2020
  • Sub-contractor: Mulcahy Co. 
  • Project Page

Pay-For-Performance: A Development Tool to Incentivize Ongoing Building Performance

This paper will use interviews with building owners, investors, architects, and utilities to identify the challenges and opportunities related to the pay-for-performance approach and its implementation in Minnesota. Interviews, literature reviews, and case study data from pilot programs in other states will be used to characterize the market.

  • CARD Grant Total: $49,334
  • Project Lead: CEE
  • Project Manager: Megan Hoye, Engagement Manager (CEE)
  • Duration: Jan. 2018 – July. 2019
  • Sub-contractor: NRDC 
  • Project Page

Is it Time to Reconsider Minnesota Cooling Loads?: The diversity of potential residential cooling solutions and a best practices guide

In recent years Minnesota homes have increasingly relied on air condition systems to keep them cool in the summer. Currently, over 90% of these homes have cooling systems. While there have been innovations in the efficiency and design of these systems, the default system installed in many homes is outdated — a modern efficient system can reduce energy use by over 65%.This project will quantify the opportunity for more efficient cooling options in Minnesota and provide guidance for homeowners, contractors, and utilities.

  • CARD Grant Total: $49,946
  • Project Lead: CEE
  • Project Manager: Ben Schoenbauer, Senior Research Engineer (CEE)
  • Duration: Mar. 2018 – Nov. 2019
  • Project Page

Demonstration of Packaged Central Condensing Tankless Water Heating Systems in Multifamily Buildings

This project will provide a field demonstration of an emerging technology for high-efficiency generation of service hot water — the central condensing tankless water heating system. By eliminating large storage tanks, with high system turndown achieved through modular design, manufacturers have claimed energy savings of up to 40%.This evaluation of central condensing tankless water heating systems at two multifamily buildings in Minnesota will quantify their energy savings potential over conventional direct-fired gas storage, as well as indirect (with dedicated boiler) service hot water systems.

  • CARD Grant Total: $334,667
  • Project Lead: GTI
  • Project Managers: Ben Schoenbauer, Senior Research Engineer (CEE); Alex Haynor, Research Analyst (CEE)
  • Duration: Mar. 2018 – Sept. 2020
  • Project Page

Driving Wastewater Treatment Energy Efficiency through a Cohort Training and Implementation Plan

Wastewater treatment plants operate in over 600 communities throughout Minnesota. Effective and efficient wastewater treatment is critical to community health and economic development. This project will develop a training guide for a cohort-based energy efficiency program for small to mid-size wastewater treatment plants in Minnesota, to support greater efficiency levels in these facilities.

  • CARD Grant Total: $50,000
  • Project Lead: MnTAP
  • Project Managers: Audrey Partridge, Regulatory Policy Manager (CEE); Carl Nelson, Director of Program Development (CEE)
  • Duration: Through 2019
  • Project Page

Field Study of Tier 2 Advanced Power Strips

This study will quantify the energy savings of new Tier 2 advanced power strips, and complements a recently completed CARD funded study on plug load conservation strategies. Tier 2 power strips are new to the Minnesota market, and verified savings will be needed for both program development and user adoption. Another key goal is to test the installability of the technology, primarily from the standpoint of integration with existing IT systems.

  • CARD Grant Total: $105,978
  • Project Lead: Seventhwave
  • Project Managers: Chris Plum, Program Development Manager (CEE); Greg Marsicek, Energy Engineer (Seventhwave)
  • Duration: Mar. 2018 – Dec. 2018
  • Sub-contractor: LHB Architects
  • Project Page

Field and Market Assessment of Heat Pump Clothes Dryers

This project will support understanding of energy savings and consumer experience, related to this heat pump clothes dryer technology and its use in cold climates. The core of the project will include market research and a field study of 30 households. The field study will measure dryer usage and energy consumption in a conventional dryer and a heat pump or hybrid heat pump driver.

  • CARD Grant Total: $376,598
  • Project Lead: Seventhwave
  • Project Managers: Ben Schoenbauer, Senior Research Engineer (CEE); Scott Hackel, Principal and Director of Engineering (Seventhwave)
  • Duration: Mar. 2018 – Jan. 2020
  • Sub-contractor: Evergreen Economics
  • Project Page

About CEE

Center for Energy and Environment is a Minnesota 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes energy efficiency to strengthen the economy while improving the environment. Since the 1980s, CEE has provided a range of practical and cost-effective energy solutions for homes, businesses, and communities. Online at mncee.org.
Media contact

Tim Hanrahan, 612-244-2419, thanrahan@mncee.org