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American-Made Challenges

 90,143

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:
Judging
prize:
$22,000,000+

This challenge is closed

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Summary
Timeline
Updates33
Resources
Forum36
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
Updates33

Challenge Updates

Happening Tomorrow - Phase 2 Rules Modification #3 Overview Webinar

May 21, 2024, 9:11 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The Prize Administrators have completed a third modification of the Buildings Up Prize Phase 2 Rules. The modification was posted on May 13 along with related updates to the Critical Success Factor (CSF) Checklist. This modification aims to simplify the Phase 2 submission for teams!

The Prize Administrators will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, May 22 @2pm ET to overview the modifications made to the rules and answer questions!

Use this link to register for the event: https://nrel.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_nUwSkW0YTByei0mL1vY7mQ#/registration

OR check out the updated Buildings UP Training Series Schedule, which contains the registration link for this webinar. Please email buildingsup@nrel.gov if you have any questions or concerns


Phase 2 Rules Modification 3 Posted on May 11

May 11, 2024, 1:39 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The Buildings UP Phase 2 Rules Modification 3 was posted today along with related updates to the Critical Success Factor (CSF) Checklist

Phase 2 rules modifications can be quickly referenced on page 2-3 of the Rules document, and all of the most recent modifications are highlighted in blue throughout the document. 

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

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

 

 


Last Chance: Phase 3 Rule Feedback - Due April 14th

April 12, 2024, 6 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

This is your last chance to provide feedback on the Phase 3 rules! 

The Rules for Phase 3 of Buildings UP are available for public comment here on HeroX: https://www.herox.com/BuildingsUP/resource/1761

Kindly submit your feedback by Sunday, April 14th, using the following form:   https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=fp3yoM0oVE-EQniFrufAgKc_UWlz-D1JqxcsGyi2qVFUQ0JIVEhYUENIQzA3VTZVN08wTVc0OFFCWC4u


Reminder: Phase 3 Rules are available for public comment on HeroX!

April 8, 2024, 5:41 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

A friendly reminder that the Rules for Phase 3 of Buildings UP are available for public comment here on HeroX: https://www.herox.com/BuildingsUP/resource/1761

Your feedback is critical to our success! Please provide us your thoughts by April 14 via this feedback form: https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=fp3yoM0oVE-EQniFrufAgKc_UWlz-D1JqxcsGyi2qVFUQ0JIVEhYUENIQzA3VTZVN08wTVc0OFFCWC4u

Thank you!


Phase 3 Rules are available for public comment on HeroX!

March 27, 2024, 9:12 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The Rules for Phase 3 of Buildings UP are now available for public comment here on HeroX: https://www.herox.com/BuildingsUP/resource/1761

We appreciate your feedback throughout this process, and in response to your requests for more time to review and provide comments, we have extended the Phase 3 Rules review period to April 14.

Please use this link to provide feedback: https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=fp3yoM0oVE-EQniFrufAgKc_UWlz-D1JqxcsGyi2qVFUQ0JIVEhYUENIQzA3VTZVN08wTVc0OFFCWC4u


Resources
Forum36
Teams2K
Entries

Application Support Submission Form - Feb 15 Deadline

Electromaim
by Dylan Kassin
West Anniston Building Electrification Project
by Tycoma Miller's team
EnergyWorks KC: Public Library and Patron Edition
by Mary English
RACER-Renewable Ambassador Clean Energy Retrofits
by Pam Stuckey
Reducing Energy Burden on Orlando Households
by Mira Tanna's team
Our High School Needs Better Air Quality!
by Jill Ansel
HVAC Training Building Energy Upgrade
by Allen Mort
Historic Perry Center Reimagined as Community Hub
by Patty Rose's team
One-Stop Shop for Affordable, Green Retrofits
by Evanston Green Homes Pilot Program
Anza Electric Cooperative Building Up Initiative
by Kevin Short's team
Solar Sanctuaries and Creation Care Kitchens
by Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions' team
Equitable Net Zero Transition via Augmented HVAC
by Shantonio Birch
Electrify Everything!
by Erin Ferrell
Owner
by Skilled trades
Trinity River Bldgs Up Aggregated Efficient DERs
by Trinity River BU Collaborative
Heat Pump Adoption through Automated System Design
by Marisa Reddy's team
view all

Phase 1 Concept Submission Form

view all

Application Support Submission Form - March 15 Deadline

CA Faith Resiliency Hubs Efficiency Upgrades
by California Interfaith Power & Light
Electrify Everything with Elephant Energy
by Ruth Guan's team
Green and Healthy Homes: Equity Focused Retrofits
by City of San Luis Obispo
Community Energy Challenge: Upgrade Northwest WA
by Mark Schofield
Support needed, please help
by Blue Marble Solar
Community Capital Advisors
by Robbin Meneses's team
Building UP Communities to Accelerate to Zero
by Dave Low
Diversity in Automated Buildings Initiative
by Diversity in Automated Buildings Laboratory
I Heart My Home CT: Your Home Energy Coach
by Team I Heart My Home
EnergyWorks KC: Public Library and Patron Edition
by Mary English
Future: Streamlining the retrofit process for all
by FUTURE - Home appliances for low-income families
retrofitMAINE: a rural focused retrofit initiative
by retrofitMAINE
Accelerating Climate Resiliency Centers @ HBCUs
by Dr. Green Power
Trinity River Bldgs Up Aggregated Efficient DERs
by Trinity River BU Collaborative
Healthful Housing
by Kim Henderson
Accelerating Industrial Energy Efficiency
by Michael London
view all

Application Support Submission Form - April 26 Deadline

Energy Efficiency Hub
by Joe Mullarkey's team
Home automation by electrification
by Jeff Ackley
Make small disadvantaged business energy efficient
by GP4A
Commercial Clean Energy ARISE in Diamond Square
by Purvette Bryant
Sabathani Community Center Power Up Project
by JB Consulting
Scaling Green Jobs Training workforce development
by Green Jobs Training
From Mill to Still-1875 Hydro Dam Put Into Reuse
by Caroline Delaney
Building Up Communities to Accelerate to Zero
by Dave Low
Black Churches in Oakland: Endangered to Reslience
by Green The Church
PBC Green Team Future of Clean Energy
by Sheila Curry Campbell's team
Owner-Occupied Multifamily Pilot Program
by Centennial Parkside and Partners
Connected Energy Concierge for Small Business
by CLEAResult Team
retrofitMAINE: a rural focused retrofit initiative
by retrofitMAINE
Preparing for Climate Change & Affordable Housing
by The Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta, GA
Sensors Improving HVAC Efficiency and Comfort
by Amy Droitcour
Better renewable energy to America
by Lequita Stone
view all
FAQ