American-Made Challenges



Catalyze the development of building envelope retrofit solutions that make retrofits easier, faster, safer and more accessible for workers.
Judging Closed
$5 Million Dollars in total Cash Awards and Network Support

Challenge Overview

Prize Overview

As part of the American-Made Challenges series, the Envelope Retrofit Opportunities for Building Optimization Technologies (E-ROBOT) Prize unites the world’s best-in-class research base with the unparalleled entrepreneurial support system of the American-Made Network. Consisting of pioneering makerspaces, dozens of energy incubators, universities, and 17 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, the Network is primed to create a sweeping portfolio of innovations to demonstrate the promise of advanced robotics for building envelope retrofits.



Advancements in robotics allow workers to reach places or perform activities that were previously impossible. For example, robots can safely enter small spaces and cavities, such as ductwork, to perform air-sealing or other efficiency activities. Robots can complement and support the existing workforce by creating new employment and business opportunities while also helping to ensure quality and consistency when installing energy efficiency measures.

The overarching goal of E-ROBOT is to catalyze the development of minimally invasive, low-cost, and holistic building envelope retrofit solutions that make retrofits easier, faster, safer, and more accessible for workers. Successful competitors will provide solutions that provide significant advancements in robot technologies that will advance the energy efficiency retrofit industry and develop building envelope retrofit technologies that meet the following criteria:

  • Holistic: The solution must include mapping, retrofit, sensing, and inspection.
  • Low cost: The solution should reduce costs significantly when compared to current state-of-the-art solutions. The target for reduction in costs should be based on a 50% reduction from the baseline costs of a fully implemented solution (not just hardware, software, or labor; the complete fully implemented solution must be considered). If costs are not at the 50% level, there should be a significant energy efficiency gain achieved.
  • Minimally invasive: The solution must not require building occupants to vacate the premises or require envelope teardown or significant envelope damage.
  • Utilizes long-lasting materials: Retrofit is done with safe, nonhazardous, and durable (30+ year lifespan) materials.
  • Completes time-efficient, high-quality installations: The results of the retrofit must meet common industry quality standards and be completed in a reasonable timeframe.
  • Provides opportunities to workers: The solution enables a net positive gain in terms of the workforce by bringing high tech jobs to the industry, improving worker safety, enabling workers to be more efficient with their time, improving envelope accessibility for workers, and/or opening up new business opportunities or markets.

The E-ROBOT Prize provides a total of $5 million in funding, including $4 million in cash prizes for competitors and an additional $1 million in awards and support to network partners. 

Through this prize, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will stimulate technological innovation, create new opportunities for the buildings and construction workforce, reduce building retrofit costs, create a safer and faster retrofit process, ensure consistent, high-quality installations, enhance construction retrofit productivity, and improve overall energy savings of the built environment.


Prize Structure

The E-ROBOT Prize is made up of two phases that will fast-track efforts to identify, develop, and validate disruptive solutions to meet building industry needs. Each phase will include a contest period when participants will work to rapidly advance their solutions. DOE invites anyone, individually or as a team, to compete to transform a conceptual solution into product reality.


Challenge Guidelines

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



Updates 12

Challenge Updates

E-ROBOT Phase 1 Contest Now Closed

May 12, 2021, 6 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry to the E-ROBOT Phase 1 contest! Phase 1 is now closed to submissions. We received many entries and are excited to see all the creative ideas out there! 

We hope to announce Phase 1 winners later this summer—stay tuned for the latest updates! 

Last Chance to Submit for E-ROBOT Phase 1

May 12, 2021, 6 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Today is your last chance to submit your innovations, ideas, and technologies to Phase 1 of the E-ROBOT Prize! Submissions are due on HeroX by 5 p.m. ET. We highly recommend getting all materials submitted before then—don’t get bogged down by a network failure or long upload time and miss the deadline!

If you experience technical difficulty uploading your submission, please reach out to the prize administrators as soon as possible - We will be closely monitoring the inbox all day to help with submission uploads. However, we do recommend submitting well before the cutoff time.

Your idea could change the building retrofit industry as we know it, and all you have to do is apply. This is your last chance to compete for a piece of $4 million in cash prizes in the E-ROBOT prize. Don’t miss out—submit your robotic building retrofit innovation no later than 5 p.m. ET today!


Correction on 5/10 Update  - There was an error in the update that was sent on 5/10 which stated incorrectly that the deadline was 3pm ET. The deadline for Phase 1 of the E-ROBOT Prize is 5 p.m. ET today (5/12)

Deadline Approaching: E-ROBOT Phase 1 Submission Deadline This Week – May 12

May 10, 2021, 1:03 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

The Phase 1 E-ROBOT submission deadline is this Wednesday, May 12th at 3 p.m. ET. We highly recommend getting all materials submitted before then—don’t get bogged down by a network failure or long upload time and miss the deadline!

The submission process is easy. Here’s what you need:

  1. Cover page 
  2. Summary slide 
  3. 90 second–2-minute video  
  4. Technical narrative 
  5. Design specifications 
  6. Optional: Letters of commitment or support 

Don’t forgot – the final Team-Up Tuesday event is happening tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET. At the event, Power Connectors and NREL Prize Administrators will be in attendance to answer any last-minute questions that you might have. 

Need more help? There are still a few timeslots available for 1:1 Power Connector feedback sessions ahead of the submission deadline. Appointments are first come, first served. 

Now Streaming: Building Retrofit Technology Scaling Opportunities & Trends

May 5, 2021, 3:31 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge



Did you miss the E-ROBOT Prize Building Retrofit Technology Scaling Opportunities & Trends panel discussion on April 15? Don’t worry—you can now view the recording to hear about the latest building retrofit technology directly from the experts. Panelists include: 

  • Amy Egerter, Manager, Carbon-free Buildings, RMI
  • Brett Webster, Manager, Carbon-free buildings, RMI
  • Diana Fisler, Principal, ADL Ventures
  • Jason LaFleur, Sr. Program Manager, GTI Energy
  • Marcus Bianchi, Sr. Building Energy Research Engineer, NREL 
  • Meghan Duff, Sr. Associate, R&D projects, AEA.

E-ROBOT Prize Phase 1 Deadline Approaching! 

Phase 1 submissions for the E-ROBOT Prize are due on May 12, by 5 p.m. ET. Take advantage of the support available from AMC Power Connectors ADL Ventures and Newlab by securing a 30-minute one-on-one submission feedback session now.

Sign-Up Now: E-ROBOT One-on-One Feedback Sessions

April 21, 2021, 3:28 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Dear E-ROBOT Innovators, 

Looking for feedback on your Phase 1 Submission? 

AMC Power Connectors ADL Ventures and Newlab will be available at select times between April 18-May 11 for one-on-one feedback on your E-ROBOT Prize Phase 1 submission. Be sure to secure a 30-minute meeting time now, and remember that Phase 1 submissions for the E-ROBOT Prize are due on May 12!


Forum 17
Teams 391