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Commerce awards $3.3 million in CARD grants for energy conservation


Fifteen research and development grant projects that will ultimately help Minnesota consumers and businesses save energy, cut energy bills, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions were announced recently by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. The grants, totaling nearly $3.3 million, are funded by the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program and administered by staff of Commerce’s Conservation Improvement Program.

The CARD Grant Program was created to help achieve the state energy conservation goal as established by the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. The Act established an energy conservation policy “to achieve annual energy savings equal to 1.5 percent of annual retail energy sales of electricity and natural gas” directly through utility conservation improvement programs and indirectly through energy codes, education, market transformation programs, consumer behavioral changes, and more.

The CARD grants will identify new technologies and strategies to maximize energy savings, improve the effectiveness of energy conservation programs, and document the carbon dioxide reductions from energy conservation projects.

Projects for the 2013 cycle of CARD grants were chosen from 47 full proposals submitted through a competitive grant process. The projects selected are varied and fall into one of five funding categories. For instance, the projects funded will help maximize energy efficiency on farms, optimize operations and savings for motels and public swimming pools, improve installation and maintenance of home heating and cooling systems, and target the commercial and industrial sectors with new energy efficient technologies. 
Grantees include a range of nonprofit and for-profit groups, many of which have years of experience working with utilities to help them achieve energy conservation goals. The grant funds are intended to benefit the State of Minnesota and Minnesota ratepayers specifically. All programs, products and services generated by the grants will be delivered to utility customers, end-users and trade partners located in Minnesota.

The CARD grantees and their projects, divided by funding topic, include:

Field Studies of New Technologies or Technology-Based Approaches to Whole Building Performance

Center for Energy & Environment, Minneapolis
Demonstrating Effectiveness of an Aerosol Sealant to Reduce Multi-Unit Dwelling Envelope Air Leakage
Grant: $280,996

Outsourced Innovation, Naperville, Ill.
Improving Energy Efficiency and Crop Production in Controlled Environment
Grant: $126,970

Energy Center of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
Commissioning of Demand Control Ventilation Systems in Cold Climates
Grant: $265,000

Sustainable Engineering Group, Madison, Wis.
The Energy Conservation Potential of Displacement Ventilation Technology in Minnesota Climate Conditions
Grant: $90,170

Franklin Energy Services, Port Washington, Wis.
Field Test of Large Battery Charging Technologies
Grant: $66,012

Gas Technology Institute, Des Plaines, Ill.
Field Study of High Efficiency Heating & Cooling Mixed-Air Rooftop Units
Grant: $236,382

Energy Center of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
Energy Savings from Institutional Tuning in Minnesota
Grant: $200,000

Test or Demonstrate Innovative Program Implementation Strategies

Michael’s Energy, La Crosse, Wis.
Mainstreaming Motel Optimization
Grant: $335,024

Energy Center of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
Research-Based Design of a Residential High User Program
Grant: $297,956

Test or Demonstrate Innovative Demand-Side Management Program Implementation Strategies Specific to Municipal and Cooperative Utilities

The Minnesota Project, Saint Paul
Maximizing Rural Electric Cooperative Farm Energy Efficiency Programming
Grant: $74,993

Weidt Group, Minnetonka, Minn.
Net Energy Optimizer for Commercial New Construction
Grant: $50,000

Quality Install and Quality Maintenance of Residential and/or Commercial HVAC Equipment

Center for Energy & Environment, Minneapolis
Improving Effectiveness of Commercial Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems
Grant: $379,478

Center for Energy & Environment, Minneapolis
Optimized Operation of Indoor Public Pool Facilities
Grant: $240,000

Energy Center of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
Improving Installation & Maintenance Practices for Minnesota Residential Furnaces, Air-
Conditioners & Heat Pumps
Grant: $437,950

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) White Paper Evaluating Regulatory Issues and Policies Specific to Minnesota, and a CHP Potential Study

FVB Energy Inc., Minneapolis
Two Combined Heat and Power Research Projects: Policy & Regulatory Issues Review
& Potential Study
Grant: $199,976