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American-Made Challenges -- Buildings UP: The Buildings Upgrade Prize
Upgrading existing buildings to efficiently run on clean energy will help address climate change. Building upgrades may include transitioning to efficient electric equipment, including heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, and improving building efficiency through measures such as insulation and air sealing. Together, efforts will help reduce carbon emissions and energy costs, while improving indoor air quality and occupant comfort.
Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office (BTO), Buildings UP aims to build capacity to rapidly and equitably transform U.S. buildings. Teams will submit innovative concepts to leverage the billions of dollars available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), utility rebate programs, and many other funding sources, capitalizing on this once-in-a-generation opportunity to equitably transform a wide variety of buildings across diverse geographies. As teams progress through the prize, they will receive cash prizes and technical assistance to help bring their ideas to life.
Phase 1: Concept
Teams may apply to one of two pathways: Equity-Centered Innovation or Open Innovation.
Equity-Centered Innovation Pathway
Teams will propose a concept to deliver scalable and replicable upgrades to buildings in disadvantaged communities, low- and moderate-income households, and underserved commercial, nonprofit, and public buildings. Phase 1 Equity-Centered Innovation winners will each receive a $400,000 cash prize.
Open Innovation Pathway
Teams will propose a concept for replicable and scalable solutions that addresses a geographic area or building type. Phase 1 Open Innovation winners will each receive a $200,000 cash prize.
Winners of both pathways will be eligible to advance to Phase 2 and access technical assistance.
Deadline for Phase 1 Concepts: July 18, 2023
The competition is open to community-based organizations, local governments, tribes, building owners, utilities, nonprofit organizations, energy efficiency program implementers, and other organizations. Multi-stakeholder teams are encouraged to apply. Application support is available for new and under-resourced teams.