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American-Made Challenges

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Buildings Upgrade Prize

Supports actionable and scalable solutions to advance energy efficiency and efficient electrification upgrades in existing U.S. buildings.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Phase 2 Rules Posted!
prize:
$22,000,000+

This challenge is closed

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Summary
Timeline
Updates27
Resources
Forum35
Teams2K
Entries
FAQ
Summary

Overview

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 2 Prize Structure 

Phase 2: Plan

Teams may apply to one of two pathways: Equity-Centered Innovation or Open Innovation. 

Equity-Centered Innovation Pathway 

Teams will propose a plan to deliver scalable and replicable upgrades to buildings in disadvantaged communities, low- and moderate-income households, and underserved commercial, nonprofit, and public buildings. Phase 2 Equity-Centered Innovation winners will each receive a $400,000 cash prize.

Open Innovation Pathway

Teams will propose a plan for replicable and scalable solutions that addresses a geographic area or building type. Phase 2 Open Innovation winners will each receive a $200,000 cash prize.

Subsequent phases are planned to offer similar prizes, subject to future funding.

 

Who Is Eligible To Compete? 

Phase 2 is open to Phase 1 winners only. 

 

Timeline 

  • December 12, 2023: Phase 2 Rules Posted
  • Phase 2 Plan Prize submission period: June 2024 through June 2025- Quarterly submission deadlines are June 17, 2024; September 16, 2024; December 16, 2024; March 17, 2025; and June 16; 2025 at 5 PM Eastern Time. Submissions must be received no later than Jun 16, 2025, at 5 PM Eastern Time. 
  • Phase 2 Plan Prize winning teams announced, prizes awarded: Quarterly during the Phase 2 submission period beginning in June 2024. Prizes are awarded approximately 30 to 60 days after the Phase 2 submission is received.
  • Phase 2 Innovation Bonus Prize winners announced, prizes awarded: Phase 2 concludes when all teams have won a Phase 2 Plan award or 18 months have passed since the Phase 2 announcement and rules posting, whichever occurs first. Winner announcements are estimated for summer/fall 2025. Prizes are awarded approximately 30 to 60 days after the Phase 2 submission period closes.
  • Access to technical assistance and Regional Navigators begins for winning teams in November 2023 and continues through Phase 2.
  • Team webinar trainings begin in January 2024.

Guidelines

Phase 2 is open to winners of Phase 1. Please review the official rules document for Phase 2 here: https://www.herox.com/BuildingsUP/resource/1620 

If you have any questions, please email us directly at 

 

Timeline
Updates27

Challenge Updates

Phase 2 Rules Modification 1 and two templates posted.

Jan. 17, 2024, 3:53 p.m. PST by Sarah Truitt

A modification to the Phase 2 Rules was posted today along with two templates, the Critical Success Factor (CSF) Checklist and the Pilot Initiative Implementation Plan Administrative Budget and Staffing Workbook. 

All official prize documents are on the Resources Tab of this website:

https://www.herox.com/BuildingsUP/resources

Additional Templates will be posted on the Resources Tab of HeroX and linked to from the Community Site as they become available (generally rolled out as webinar trainings take place addressing the associated topic areas). 

 

Thank you!


Phase 2 Rules Posted!

Dec. 12, 2023, 1:42 p.m. PST by Sarah Truitt

Please review the official rules document for Phase 2 here: https://www.herox.com/BuildingsUP/resource/1620 


Phase 1 Winners Announced for Buildings Upgrade Prize

Oct. 11, 2023, 11:31 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office announced 45 teams as finalists for the Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP). Buildings UP provides $22+ million in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams developing scalable and replicable initiatives for widespread energy efficiency and efficient electrification building upgrades. 

The Phase 1 winners, representing 32 states, were chosen in two prize pathways: Equity-Centered Innovation and Open Innovation. 

Thirty-nine teams in the Equity-Centered Innovation Pathway were selected to move onto Phase 2 of the prize. Each team will receive a $400,000 cash prize, as well as technical assistance.

Six teams in Phase 1 Open Innovation Pathway were selected to move to Phase 2. Each team will receive a $200,000 cash prize, as well as technical assistance.

Please see the list of winning teams below, and learn more about each team's concepts on the Teams tab. You can also read the official winner announcement on energy.gov

Congratulations to our Phase 1 Winners! 

  • Appalachian Voices, Boone, NC  
  • Blueprint 15, Inc, Syracuse, NY  
  • Centennial Parkside CDC, Philadelphia, PA  
  • City of Everett, Everett, MA  
  • City of Las Cruces, Las Cruces, NM 
  • City of Olympia, Olympia, WA 
  • City of San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA  
  • CLEAResult Consulting Inc., Austin, TX 
  • Climate + Energy Project, Hutchinson, KS 
  • College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME  
  • Community Housing Partners Corporation, Christiansburg, VA 
  • Community Power, Minneapolis, MN 
  • County of Ventura, Ventura, CA 
  • Ecolibrium3, Duluth, MN 
  • Energy Smart Colorado, Inc., Frisco, CO  
  • Evanston Development Cooperative, Evanston, IL  
  • Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, Reston, VA  
  • Green The Church, Oakland, CA  
  • Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Inc., Baltimore, MD  
  • Groundswell Inc., Washington, DC 
  • Hijra House Association, Pass Christian, MS  
  • Hope Village Revitalization, Detroit, MI  
  • Imani Works, Inc., Chicago, IL 
  • IMPACT Community Action, Columbus, OH  
  • Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government, Louisville, KY 
  • Metropolitan Energy Center, Kansas City, MO  
  • Native Village of Kotzebue, Kotzebue, AK 
  • New North Carolina Project, Concord, NC  
  • New Sun Rising, Millvale, PA  
  • passivhausMAINE, Freeport, ME  
  • Peak Harvest Service, LLC, Venice, FL  
  • Red Feather Development Group, Flagstaff, AZ  
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Rosebud, SD 
  • Rural People's Voice, Winthrop, WA 
  • San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco, CA
  • Shifted Energy, Inc., Honolulu, HI  
  • Slipstream Group, Inc., Madison, WI  
  • Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments, Moab, UT 
  • The Alaska Center, Fairbanks, AK 
  • The U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, DC 
  • Together New Orleans Sponsoring Committee/Together New Orleans, New Orleans 
  • TRC, Portland, OR  
  • Urban Green Council, New York, NY  
  • West Anniston Foundation, Anniston, AL  
  • Zero Home Corporation, Golden, CO  

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) is a capacity-building prize focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in existing buildings through energy efficiency and efficient electrification. It supports innovative initiative models, leveraging billions in federal funding for energy efficiency and efficient electrification to accelerate building upgrades and achieve greenhouse gas reduction, equity, economic development, and health goals.


Buildings UP Phase 1 Winner Announcement Anticipated in October

Sept. 22, 2023, 1:58 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Thank you to all of the Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) applicants for submitting your initiatives to support the transformation of existing U.S. buildings into more energy-efficient and clean energy-ready homes, commercial spaces, and communities. 

Phase 1 winners are anticipated to be announced in October. We will post a list of the winners to this HeroX page and also notify all applicants via email once the announcement is made.

Thank you all very much for your patience, and we look forward to the next steps of this groundbreaking prize!

 


Deadline Alert: Buildings UP Applications Due Today!

July 18, 2023, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Buildings Upgrade Prize applications are due today by 5 p.m. ET!

  • View the Official Rules before submitting to ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria and understand the requirements of the submission materials. 
  • View Buildings UP Quick Start Guide
  • If you have any questions, contact the prize administrators at .

Don't miss you chance to compete for your share of $22M+ in cash prizes and technical assistance to support actionable and scalable solutions that advance energy efficiency and efficient electrification upgrades in existing U.S. buildings. 

Submit your application before 5 p.m. ET. 


Resources
Forum35
Teams2K
Entries
FAQ