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Minnesota Department of Commerce awards $2.3 million in CARD grants for energy conservation

April 03, 2013

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN – Twelve 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 today by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER). The grants, totaling $2.3 million, are funded by the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) Grant Program and administered by DER.

“These grants will go to energy savings and efficiency projects from improving technologies in windows and heat pumps, to implementing energy efficiency innovations in restaurants and dairy co-ops,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.  “Energy savings help Minnesota consumers and businesses keep more money in their family and business budgets, and help with Minnesota’s energy conservation efforts.”

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.

Grant projects were chosen from 64 proposals submitted in May 2012 through a competitive grant process. The grant projects selected are varied and fall into one of three funding topics; for instance, one project will motivate manufacturers to invest in energy efficiency, another will look at energy conservation measures in restaurants, and another will identify opportunities to reduce duct leakage in large commercial and institutional buildings. 

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

  • Center for Energy & Environment, Minneapolis
    Reducing the Energy Cost of Effective Ventilation in Multi-Unit Buildings
    Grant: $148,348
  • Center for Energy & Environment, Minneapolis
    Condensing Boiler Optimization
    Grant: $209,232

  • Center for Energy & Environment, Minneapolis
    Saving Energy by Reducing Duct Leakage in Large Commercial & Institutional Buildings
    Grant: $380,155

  • Gas Technology Institute, Des Plaines, IL
    Advanced Heat Recovery System Field Deployment
    Grant: $743,603

Testing or Demonstration of Innovative Program Implementation Strategy

  • Michaels Energy, Inc., La Crosse, WI
    Cost-Effective Recommissioning of Restaurants
    Grant: $276,410

  • The Minnesota Project, Saint Paul
    Dairy Cooperative Partnerships for Improved Efficiency Program Adoption
    Grant: $210,232
  • University of Minnesota—MN Technical Assistance Program, Minneapolis
    Motivating Manufacturing Energy Efficiency: E2 Assessments and GreenLean(SM) Training with Directed Implementation Assistance
    Grant: $177,488

White Papers addressing Specific Problems, Underutilized Opportunities, or Potential for Pioneering Technologies or Concepts

  • Center for Energy & Environment, Minneapolis
    Window Retrofit Technologies for Increased Energy Efficiency without Replacement
    Grant: $47,224

  • Center for Energy & Environment, Minneapolis
    Heat Pump Water Heaters: Savings Potential in Minnesota
    Grant: $25,941
  • University of Illinois at Chicago, Energy Resources Center, Chicago
    Increasing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Opportunities to Aid Minnesota’s Energy Savings Goal: Analyzing Net Metering Rules and Standby Rates
    Grant: $23,040

  • University of Minnesota – MN Technical Assistance Program, Minneapolis
    Researching Energy Conservation Potential at Minnesota Data Centers
    Grant: $46,781

  • The Weidt Group, Inc., Minnetonka
    Integrating Benchmarking and the Green Button Initiative into Utility CIPs to Capture Greater Energy Savings
    Grant: $50,000

More information about the CARD Grant Program, including a link to reports on previous CARD grant projects, is available here.