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.
Prize Announcements and Happenings
Seeking Technical Assistance Providers - Responses Due Feb. 9
NREL has posted a sources sought notice seeking Technical Assistance providers and Regional Navigators to support Buildings UP related program areas such as:
- Project financing
- Project aggregation and customer acquisition
- Equipment ownership structures
- Soft cost reduction
- Workforce training
- Contractor development
- Alignment with affordable housing constraints
- Community engagement
- Project delivery
A Sources Sought Notice (SSN) has been publicly posted here. As described in the SSN, if you are interested we encourage you to fill out the SSN Microsoft form by February 9, 2023. Only organizations that fill out the form are eligible to receive a formal Request for Proposal (RFP).
Join us for an informational webinar to learn more about Buildings UP :
- 2/2/23: Informational Webinar 12 p.m. ET - Register Here
- Following the main informational webinar, we will be joined by our partners at Elevate to learn more about the Application Support Bonus Prize.
- 2/8/23: SPANISH Informational Webinar 6pm ET
See full schedule of upcoming webinars here.
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.
(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 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 .