Technology research

We study installations of emerging technologies to look for missed opportunities, verify savings and establish best practices. Closing the information gap helps increase confidence in the expected performance of new technologies and approaches, increases savings and expands the market penetration.

Comfort study

What is the relationship between perceived comfort level and actual physiological data? Seventhwave is excited to participate in a research study to help answer this question. LEARN MORE

Plug load research

Plug load energy—from computers to copiers to water coolers—represents a relatively untapped energy savings resource in commercial buildings. And unlike most types of loads like lighting, heating, and other end uses, plug load energy use is increasing nationwide. The energy efficiency industry needs to do more to both identify and quantify strategies for reducing plug load.

Learn more about our commercial plug load study and related resources.

RTU research

Commercial roof-top units in Minnesota: characteristics and energy performance
RTUs are used in more than one third of U.S. commercial buildings, the highest of any cooling equipment type. Why? They are reliable and have a low capital cost, as well as established service and distribution networks. There is anecdotal evidence, however, that these systems operate inefficiently. To validate or refute this evidence, we conducted a multi-level field study sponsored by Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Services.

Demand control ventilation

DCV photo

Demand control ventilation (DCV) systems use sensors—generally either CO2 or occupancy sensors—to estimate the actual number of people in an area and supply only as much ventilation air as is needed at a given time. DCV has the potential to save a substantial portion of building energy use in extreme climates like the northern Midwest.

Read more about this project and access the final report, fact sheet and webinar.

Task tuning in commercial buildings

Seventhwave Madison office

Task tuning is one form of lighting control that can be used in commercial buildings to save energy. It involves dimming lights in a space so that the average illuminance at the working plane is appropriate for the type of use in that space.

The goal of this study was to quantify the magnitude of energy savings from task tuning by field monitoring commercial lighting systems in Minnesota, as well as document best practices and lessons learned along the way.

Read more about this project and watch our webinar on-demand.

Cold climate VRF systems

VRF diagram

Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems use variable speed, split heat pumps to provide space heating and cooling to a building's conditioned areas. Because of their lower capital cost as compared to water or ground source alternatives, the majority of VRF systems being implemented in cold climates today are air source. However, significant questions remain regarding how to design and operate air source systems at low outside air temperatures.

Read more about this project and access the white paper and VRF analysis tool.

Commissioning for optimal savings from daylight controls

daylighting photo
This project, funded by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, provided the opportunity to measure, analyze and demonstrate the importance of commissioning daylighting systems, with specific focus on the calibration and functional testing aspect of commissioning. Our goal was to determine the level of success being achieved, the amount of energy savings realized and the missed opportunities for additional energy savings.

Read more about this project and access the final report, fact sheet and webinar.

LED lighting controls and commissioning: the perfect brew

the perfect brewWe set out to determine just how much energy could be saved by lighting a parking structure with LEDs. Findings from our two-year study of The Brewery parking structure in Milwaukee suggest LEDs are a good fit; however, LEDs combined with motion detectors, commissioning and daylighting are an even better solution.

Read more about the project and download the final report.

Commercial drain water heat recovery performance

Funded by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, this study revealed that drain water heat recovery systems can save a significant amount of energy in the right setting. In commercial building retrofits the technology can be a challenge, but new construction applications show promise for easier installation.

Download the final report and watch the webinar.

Economic and environmental impacts of hybrid geothermal

With funding from the U.S. DOE, Alliant Energy and Madison Gas and Electric, we investigated the performance of three working hybrid system installations to compare their economic and environmental impacts with other HVAC systems. We used this data to determine what contributes to an effective hybrid design and to validate energy models of these systems. We developed documents and tools for HVAC system designers—including a freeware version of our model—to assess the benefits of applying the geothermal hybrid approach on their building projects.

Read more about this project and download the freeware tool.