American-Made Challenges


Buildings Upgrade Prize

Supports actionable and scalable solutions to advance energy efficiency and efficient electrification upgrades in existing U.S. buildings.
Open for Phase 1 Applications
Upcoming Webinars & Recordings


Read the full Buildings UP rules in English or Spanish

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. 

Upcoming Webinars and Office Hours

  • June 13: 2 p.m. ET | Buildings UP Informational Webinar and Prize Overview. Register Here
  • June 15: 7:30-9 p.m. ET | Buildings UP Office Hours: General Support/All Webinar Topics. Register Here.
  • June 26: 12:30-2 p.m. ET | Buildings UP Office Hours: Application and Prize Deep Dive. Register Here

See the full schedule on the Upcoming Webinars Tab. 

Prize Structure 

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. 

Application Support Prize

Up to 50 winning teams will be awarded $5,000 and up to 10 hours of technical support through the Application Support Prize. Applicants are intended to be those who might not otherwise have the staff capacity, time, or expertise to submit a full Phase 1 submission. The primary competitors for the Application Support Prize are first-time applicants for BTO funding and community-based organizations (CBOs) representing or serving areas with equity-eligible buildings. Application Support Prize submissions will be reviewed and awarded monthly from February through May 2023, until funds are expended.


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


Who Is Eligible To Compete? 

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. More information can be found in the official rules document (English / Spanish). 



(see detailed timeline for exact times and dates)

  • January 18, 2023: Prize Announcement
  • January 18, 2023: Application Support Prize Opens
  • February 18, 2023: Phase 1 Opens
  • March–May 2023, Application Support Prize Winners Selected Until Funds Are Expended
  • July 18, 2023: Phase 1 Concludes
  • September 2023: Phase 1 Winner Announcement
  • October 2023: Phase 2 Opens


Please review the official rules document (English / Spanish). for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at 



Challenge Updates

Phase 1 Rules Modification #3 Posted: Required Number of Buildings and Concept Plan Requirements

June 5, 2023, 11:28 a.m. PDT by Becky Talley

The official rules for the Buildings Upgrade Prize have been modified, including clarifications around the number of buildings that must be included in the Concept Plan. Please refer to the modifications by page below.

  • Page 9: Added Section 2.6 Applications Not of Interest program goal to emphasize that Concept Plans must include a building upgrade zone of more than 1 building for the full-scale initiative, include the minimum technology, and be relevant to the overall goals of the program.  
  • Page 25: Added two questions to the Team Information Questions to confirm the number of buildings and minimum technologies included in your pilot and full-scale building initiative.  
  • Page 27:  Added clarifying text to indicate Teams should describe the building upgrade zones for the pilot and full-scale building upgrade initiatives.  
  • Page 34: Updated language in Appendix A.3 for Equity-Centered Innovation Pathway teams to have the ability to split prize awards between multiple entities.  

To see a list of all modifications, refer to page 2 of the Official Rules.

You can learn more about Buildings UP during our upcoming Informational Webinar on June 13 at 2 p.m. ET. Join the U.S. Department of Energy and America-Made prize administrators as they present everything you need to know about competing in Buildings UP. This webinar will include timelines, deliverables, and prize rules, as well as a live Q&A.

In addition, you can drop by any of our upcoming Office Hours sessions (next one is June 15)  to get answers to all of your questions about the prize! 

Announcing the Final Round of Buildings Upgrade Prize Application Support Prize Winners

May 17, 2023, 12:45 p.m. PDT by Becky Talley

Congratulations to the third and final round of Buildings UP Application Support Prize winners. The 27 teams selected will each receive a $5,000 cash award and up to 10 hours of technical support. 

  • LDF-Chippewa Housing Authority, Wisconsin
  • Sabathani Community Center (Sabathani/SCC), Minnesota
  • Green The Church, California
  • Centennial Parkside Community Development Corporation, Pennsylvania
  • passivhausMAINE, Maine
  • green | spaces, Tennessee
  • Louisiana Homebuyer Education Collaborative, Louisiana
  • New North Caroline Project, North Carolina
  • Cherry Hill Strong, Maryland
  • A.M.E. Sixth District Church Georgia, Georgia
  • Associacion de Residentes de La Margarita Inc., Puerto Rico
  • One Earth Collective, Illinois
  • 2C Mississippi, Mississippi
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens CDC, Inc., New York
  • We Want Green Too, Michigan
  • Rise UP Reach Out Inc., Florida
  • Community Power, Minnesota
  • Blueprint 15, Inc., New York
  • Hope Enterprise Corporation, Mississippi
  • First Alliance Consulting LLC, Virginia 
  • Green Built Alliance, North Carolina
  • She Built This City, North Carolina
  • Sun-I LLC, Mississippi
  • LIFT JAX, Inc., Florida
  • Tampa Bay Community Development Corp d/b/a Suncoast Housing Connections, Florida
  • The Climate + Energy Project, Kansas
  • Renewable Ambassador, Nevada

If you have been named as a winner, the NREL team will be reaching out this week with instructions on how to receive your award and be connected to our partners at Elevate for technical assistance. 

A total of 50 Application Support Prizes of $5,000 and 10 hours of technical assistance were awarded across three rounds to help new and under-resourced teams complete Phase 1 applications. All Application Support Prizes have been awarded at this time. 

All teams preparing for the full Phase 1 submission can visit the Upcoming Webinars & Recordings tab to register for informational and training webinars, office hours, teaming events, and more which provide all the details and resources you need to help you successfully develop your team’s Buildings UP Phase 1 submission. 

Upcoming Teaming Events:

  • Thursday, May 18, 2:30 – 4 p.m. ET: West Region Teams; Register 
  • Friday, May 19, 2:30 – 4 p.m. ET: Midwest Region Teams; Register
  • Monday, May 22 – 3-4:30 p.m. ET: South Region Teams; Register  
  • Tuesday, May 23, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET: Northeast Region Teams; Register 

Upcoming Office Hours:

  • Wednesday, May 31, 12:30 –2 p.m. ET: Choosing Your Building Upgrade Zone, Workforce Development, and Economic Inclusion; Register  

Note: Attendance is not required at Buildings UP webinars or related events in order to complete a Phase 1 submission, and attendance will not influence the scoring of your prize submission.

Regional Teaming Events this Week: West and Midwest Regions

May 17, 2023, 7 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

The Buildings UP team and our partners want you to have all the resources you need to submit a successful Phase 1 application by the July 18 deadline, and that includes making connections that can help you maximize your proposed programs! 

This month, join the Building Prize team for a series of interactive Buildings UP Teaming Events to connect with potential partners who will help you get the most out of your innovative ideas. Come and meet with fellow competitors working in your region to network and create new connections to support for Phase 1 application.

Events are organized by geographic region. This week we will host the following events: 

  • Thursday, May 18, 2:30 - 4PM ET: West Region Teams (AK, HI, WA, MI, OR, ID, WY, CA, NV, UT, CO, AZ, and NM) Register here
  • Friday, May 19, 2:30 - 4PM ET: Midwest Region Teams (ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL, MI, IN, and OH) Register here

Join us next week for: 

  • Monday, May 22 - 3-4:30pm ET: South Region Teams (TX, OK, LA, AR, MS, AL GA, FL, TN, KY, WV, NC, SC, VA, DC, MD, and DE) Register here
  • Tuesday, May 23, 10:30AM - 12PM ET: Northeast Region Teams (ME, VT, NH, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, and PA) Register here

Sign up today!

The Buildings UP Administration Team

Learn More about the American-Made Energizing Rural Communities Prize!

May 11, 2023, 4:44 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Hi Buildings UP community, 

We wanted to send along some information about another American-Made prize challenge which may be of interest to you: The Energizing Rural Communities Prize. Please see below for more information and if interested, please submit an application by May 24th! This is a separate prize from Buildings UP. 

The Energizing Rural Communities Prize is part of the $1 billion Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) Program, created by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED). The ERA Program supports projects that improve the resilience, reliability, safety, availability, and environmental performance of energy systems in rural or remote areas of the U.S. with populations of no more than 10,000 people.


The Energizing Rural Communities Prize has two tracks:

  • The PARTNER track—with a $10 million cash prize pool—will support plans to connect rural or remote communities to government funding, technical assistance, or a network of partners that can help implement clean energy demonstration projects.
  • The FINANCE track—with a $5 million cash prize pool—will support plans to access capital or to develop community ownership models to help finance clean energy demonstration projects in rural or remote areas.

To apply for this prize:

  • Go to the HeroX website [] and select ‘Solve this challenge’.
  • Note: selecting ‘Solve This Challenge’ does not mean you must submit your application at this time.
  • Create a free account and accept the terms of use.
  • Note: it is recommended that you use your legal name when registering your account.
  • Confirm your email.
  • Accept the prize specific agreement/terms.
  • Indicate whether you’ll be competing as a team.
  • This is a great way to identify your collective group or organization.

Be sure to check out the available resources:

• To review the Official Rules Document:

• To read the FAQ:

• To ask questions on the forum:

• To checkout the prize timeline:

• To register for upcoming webinars:


Be sure to submit your submission by May 24, 2023.

Make a Connection During Our Teaming Event Series

May 3, 2023, 7:15 a.m. PDT by Becky Talley

The Buildings UP team and our partners want you to have all the resources you need to submit a successful Phase 1 application by the July 18 deadline, and that includes making connections that can help you maximize your proposed programs! 

This May, join partner Browning the Green Space for a series of interactive Buildings UP Teaming Events to connect with potential partners who will help you get the most out of your innovative ideas.  

Events are organized by geographic region:  

 In addition, we are also hosting various upcoming webinars and events in May to ensure you have all the information you need to compete in the prize: 

Information Prize Overview Webinar 

U.S. Department of Energy and America-Made prize administrators will present everything you need to know about competing in Buildings UP. The webinar will include timelines, deliverables, and prize rules, as well as a live Q&A.  

Office Hours:  

Bring your questions to the Buildings UP Office Hours! The sessions will include opportunities to ask questions related to previous Buildings UP training webinar topics, the application process, and any other clarifications that would be helpful as applicants work to prepare their application materials.   

  • May 2, 12:30-2 p.m. ET—Buildings UP Office Hours: Community-Driven Planning, Funding, and Energy Efficiency Programs. Register Here 
  • May 15, 2:30-4 p.m. ET—Buildings UP Office Hours: Underserved Commercial and Drivers of Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing. Register Here  

Training Webinars (past webinar recordings are also available): 

Looking for resources to prepare for the full Phase 1 application? Join the upcoming training webinars hosted by our partners at R2E2. 

  • May 10, 1:30-3 p.m. ET—Choosing your Building Upgrade Zone: Structural Equity Considerations: Register Here 
  • May 11, 12-1:30 p.m. ET—Building Upgrades: An Opportunity for Workforce and Economic Inclusion: Register Here 

 Check out all upcoming events and webinars, learn more, register, and access recordings of previous events on the HeroX Upcoming Webinars & Recordings tab. 


Upcoming Webinars & Recordings