American-Made Challenges



Identify ideas and practices for measurable energy savings at U.S. manufacturing plants to stimulate innovation at other facilities.

This challenge is closed

Up to $75,000 in total prizes

This challenge is closed



Individuals Taking Energy Action in Manufacturing (ITEAM) Prize

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Individuals Taking Energy Action in Manufacturing (ITEAM) Prize competition seeks to identify and attract attention to a wide range of ideas and practices that are driving measurable energy savings at U.S. manufacturing plants to stimulate innovation at other facilities. To do so, DOE is launching the ITEAM Prize competition as a means to:

  1. Find individuals who were responsible for creative, specific, and innovative ideas and practices that led to significant, measurable energy savings at their manufacturing facilities; and
  2. Encourage those individuals to widely share their ideas and practices for the benefit of U.S. Manufacturing facilities nationwide.

Each winner will be awarded a cash prize of $5,000. DOE will select up to 5 winners in each category of small, medium, and large manufacturers, for a total of up to 15 winners. In addition to the cash prize, the winners will be recognized at the annual Better Buildings Summit and will have their winning ideas and practices highlighted on the Better Buildings Solutions Center. Applicants will have the option to decline the cash prize if selected and still be recognized as a winner and participate in the events and activities described in the prize rules.

Through the prize, DOE is seeking to recognize and bring attention to employees on the plant floor all around the country who not only recognize the importance of saving energy, but are making it happen, strengthening their company’s competitiveness and driving cost savings in the process. By sharing successful strategies and examples of leadership, manufacturers can drive energy productivity improvements and accelerate the adoption of energy efficient technologies. Through this prize competition, DOE is seeking to recognize leaders who are responsible for creative, specific, and innovative projects to drive measurable energy savings in their manufacturing plants. Applications will be evaluated on demonstrated energy savings, with additional credit being given for successful strategies to engage other workers on the manufacturing floor. Energy efficiency is contagious; through this prize, DOE will recognize their leadership and amplify the success of their projects.



Small Manufacturer


DOE will make up to five $5,000 awards in this category.


Medium Manufacturer


DOE will make up to five $5,000 awards in this category.


Larger Manufacturer


DOE will make up to five $5,000 awards in this category.



Eligibility is subject to verification before monetary prizes are awarded. To be eligible to win an ITEAM Prize, Participants must comply with the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Participants must have complied with all requirements set forth in the Official Rules for ITEAM.
  2. Individuals must be a United States citizen or a U.S. permanent resident, and be 18 years or older.
  3. The manufacturing facility where the idea or practice is being implemented must be located in the U.S. This includes the 50 U.S. states and 6 territories.
  4. The manufacturer/entity must be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States.
  5. DOE employees and DOE support service contractors, individuals who have been employed by DOE, or working for DOE as a support service contractor within six months prior to the submission entry deadline are not eligible to participate.
  6. Non-DOE Federal entities and Federal employees are also not eligible to participate.
  7. Employees of any co-sponsor organization for the ITEAM Prize competition are not eligible to participate.
  8. Participants may not be a Federal grantee using Federal funds to participate.
  9. Federal contractor Participants may not use Federal funds from a contract to participate in the ITEAM Prize competition or to fund efforts in support of an ITEAM Participant.
  10. Prize Administrator employees directly involved in the administration of this prize competition are not eligible to participate.

A Participant will not be disqualified for using Federal facilities or consulting with Federal employees during a competition if the facilities and employees are made available to all entities participating in the competition on an equitable basis.

Eligibility is not limited to individuals employed by manufacturers participating in DOE technical assistance programs like Better Plants, 50001 Ready, Industrial Assessment Centers, etc.

Individuals may submit an entry on their own behalf. DOE will also accept an entry from a U.S. manufacturing facility that identifies an individual employee taking energy action at its manufacturing facility. However the prize itself will only be issued to the individual responsible for the winning ideas and practices that led to significant, measurable energy savings at the manufacturing facility, and not to the manufacturing facility.

By uploading an entry, a Participant certifies that it complies with the eligibility requirements described above. As soon as DOE becomes aware that a Participant is not eligible to win the ITEAM Prize, the Participant may be disqualified.



How To Enter

Before submitting, please familiarize yourself with the full rules and guidelines for this competition. By submitting, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions defined in that rules document.




Participants will be scored based on their responses to the following:

Energy Savings and Impact (50/100 points)

Engineering-based results are acceptable, but true metered data is preferred. The submission will be evaluated, in part, on the magnitude of the energy and energy cost savings. Please detail any impacts beyond the direct energy savings from the projects (increased awareness and engagement, replicability for other plants, auxiliary benefits beyond energy savings).

Initiative/Leadership (30/100 points)

Participants should show how their actions made the process or facility more energy efficient or increased productivity since when the project was completed (no earlier than October 5, 2018). Participants are encouraged to add in personal anecdotes such as how working with and engaging other plant manufacturing staff increased energy savings were realized and how the action will continue to lead to savings. In addition, please share content about the facility and the energy-related components of the project (e.g., why it was selected/implemented? How does it fit into a broader sustainability strategy?), what was the process for identifying the opportunity, defining the project, and deciding to proceed? Also, describe what your organization’s goal or desired outcomes for the project, barrier(s) to implementation and what were your solution(s) to implementing the project? Please detail the extent to which the individual had to overcome significant obstacles (e.g., economic, technological, management support, etc.) to implement the project. Please explain, to the extent possible, how the project or practice described in the submission catalyzed greater engagement amongst other employees at the company.

Innovation (20/100 points)

Please articulate how this represents a new way of doing business for the individual, plant or the manufacturer. Where applicable, please describe the new technology and the impact it is having. How imaginative or creative is the practice or project? How replicable is the project?

While the scores of the judges will be carefully considered, it is important to maximize the impact of the prize competition. Some factors outside the control of the Participants and beyond the scope of the judges’ review may be needed to accomplish this goal. The following is a list of such factors. In addition to the judges’ scores, the below program policy factors may be considered in determining winners:

  • The extent the ideas or practices have the potential to accelerate positive economic impact in a variety of manufacturers;
  • The degree to which the projects represent a diversity of technologies employed in the projects, diversity of types of manufacturers, and/or geographic diversity; and
  • The degree to which the project and/or the individual’s efforts have the potential to attract widespread attention and to encourage third parties to further develop the ideas or practices.

Challenge Updates

Winner Announcement - Updated to 8/3

July 31, 2020, 1:01 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Hello participants,


Please be advised that the Individuals Taking Energy Action in Manufacturing (ITEAM) Prize winner announcement has been moved to the first week of August. We look forward to announcing the winners soon!


Thank you, 

The ITEAM Prize Administrative Team

Webinar Recording Link Available

May 8, 2020, 6:04 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Hi Innovators,

The ITEAM Prize:Tips for Crafting a Strong Submission webinar recording is now available. It provides important background information on the rules, outlines some best practices for applying, and answers other questions about the prize. Please be sure to check it out if you missed it:

As always, you can reach out to with any questions you have about the prize. 

-The ITEAM Prize Administration Team

Upcoming Submission Webinar

April 29, 2020, 1:58 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Hi Innovators,

Looking for tips to craft a strong submission for the Individuals Taking Energy Action in Manufacturing (ITEAM) Prize? We’ve got you covered! We’re hosting a webinar tomorrow, April 30, at 2 p.m. ET to give you some best practices for applying and answer your questions about the rules.


Register today:


-ITEAM Prize Team