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American-Made Challenges

 83,918

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
Updates31
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
Updates31

Challenge Updates

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


Phase 2 Rules Modification 2 Posted on March 15!

March 15, 2024, 2:45 p.m. PDT by Sarah Truitt

We heard your feedback and in response have issued Modification 2 to the Official Rules for Phase 2 of Buildings UP. The Official Rules document is located on the Resources page of HeroX- https://www.herox.com/BuildingsUP/resource/1762 

Join DOE and NREL on March 21st from 2-3 PM Eastern to learn more about the modification. 

Register here- https://nrel.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_EKZUr0A_Qx26y1FIUKp2kg#/registration 

This rules modification required updates to the following templates:

  • CSF Checklist
  • Tech Demo Plan
  • Pilot Initiative Implementation Plan

The old templates have been replace with the updated forms on HeroX (under Resources). 

The modification also generated two new templates (all templates are optional for teams to use)

  • Phase 2 Technology Relevance Report- Prior Tech Demo
  • Phase 2 Technology Relevance Report- Three Prior Installations

The new templates will be posted the week of March 18, 2024 under the Resources tab. 


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!


Resources
Forum35
Teams2K
Entries
FAQ