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Building Envelope Innovation Prize - Secondary Glazing Systems

This prize encourages production of high-performance, cost-effective secondary glazing systems to improve efficiency of commercial windows.

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stage:
Judging Closed
prize:
$2,000,000

This challenge is closed

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Summary

Overview

The American-Made Building Envelope Innovation Prize will offer up to $2 million to encourage production of high-performance, cost-effective secondary glazing systems to improve efficiency of commercial windows.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office, the prize targets novel solutions for upgrading inefficient windows to enable building decarbonization retrofits and optimize building envelopes for electrification. The prize will help establish, support, and expand innovation in window systems and catalyze teams to rapidly develop and deploy cost-effective solutions in the secondary glazing systems market. Competitors will secure equity-focused pilot(s) in low-income multifamily or underserved public sector buildings as a component of their commercialization plans.

Background

Approximately 40%* of commercial buildings in the United States have single-pane windows, which result in unnecessary energy usage and uncomfortable occupants. 

Due to high costs and occupant disruption, only about 0.3%** of commercial buildings undergo full window replacements each year. Yet modeling shows high-performance windows could reduce window-related heating and cooling needs by almost 25%, helping the United States achieve a net-zero-carbon economy by 2050.

Cost-effective window solutions must be at the forefront to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings. Enter secondary glazing systems — window inserts that can be installed without replacing the existing glass or frames or altering the exterior appearance of the building envelope. The primary focus of this prize is to increase adoption of innovative secondary glazing system technologies in the commercial market.

Secondary glazing systems:

  • Can be installed without replacing existing windows or altering the building exterior
  • Can be half the cost of a window replacement—or less
  • Are less disruptive to install as current windows do not need to be removed
  • Increase resilience and comfort
  • Reduce building energy consumption

The American-Made Building Envelope Innovation Prize aims to fund promising secondary glazing system solutions to decarbonize buildings through increased energy efficiency.

 

Prize Structure

The Building Envelope Innovation Prize offers a total prize pool of up to $2 million across three increasingly competitive phases where each phase concludes with a prize award.

Phase 1: Design Concept

  • In Phase 1, teams provide an innovative concept narrative and design for a secondary glazing system innovation, including details on cost and energy performance.
  • Phase 1 awards will be based on energy and technical performance modeling, cost metrics, and construction plans.
  • Teams can join only during Phase 1, as Phases 2 and 3 will be down-select processes.

Phase 2: Prototype

  • In Phase 2, semifinalist teams must submit a secondary glazing system prototype, technical narrative and secure an equity-focused pilot. 
  • Phase 2 awards will be based on prototype construction, as well as thermal and optical performance tests run by a national laboratory.

Phase 3: Commercialization

  • In Phase 3, finalist teams will work with their equity-focused pilot demonstration partner(s) and submit plans for commercialization. 
  • Phase 3 awards will be based on prototype durability testing results (contingent on prize funding), rigor of commercialization plans, and implementation of equity-focused pilot in low-income multifamily or underserved public sector buildings.

More information can be found in the official rules, on HeroX (the official prize platform), or by emailing 

 

* U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). 2022. Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). "2018 CBECS Survey Data." https://www.eia.gov/consumption/commercial/data/2018/

** Ciraulo, Rebecca, Valerie Nubbe, Sasha Wedekind, Chelsea Jean-Michel, and Jared Stanley. 2021. Commercial Building Fenestration Market Study. Guidehouse, Inc. Prepared for the National Fenestration Rating Council.  https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1886333.


Guidelines

 

Who is the prize geared towards?

Window and glass manufacturers are encouraged to apply to the prize. 

 

Who is eligible to compete?

The competition is open only to private entities (for-profits and nonprofits), non-federal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities, academic institutions, and individuals. 

For additional eligibility considerations, 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 follow feature on the HeroX platform or reach out to envelope.prize@nrel.gov

 

 

Timeline
Updates12

Challenge Updates

🏗️ Envelope Prize Submissions DUE TODAY! 🏗️

June 13, 2024, 5:58 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Don’t miss this chance to win up to $1 million for your innovative SGS design concept. Follow the official rules and submit to HeroX by 5 pm ET for your chance to win a cash prize and move on to the next phase. We highly encourage teams to start their submissions early, allowing several hours before the deadline to avoid any technical difficulties. The portal for submissions will close at 5:00 pm ET. 

We can't wait to read your submissions. If you have any trouble accessing the system before 5 pm please email


Phase 1 Submissions Due Tomorrow!

June 12, 2024, 6:55 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Phase 1 submissions for the Building Envelope Innovation Prize: Secondary Glazing Systems are due tomorrow at 5:00 pm ET! Don’t miss this chance to win up to $1 million for your innovative SGS design concept. 

Successful submissions will include:

  • Cover page
  • Submission summary slide
  • Engineering drawings of SGS prototype
  • Design Concept narrative
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional)

We highly recommend reading the official rules carefully to understand the eligible SGS technologies and submission requirements. If you have questions, please reach out to the prize team at

We look forward to reading your submissions!


Office Hours Recording and FAQs Posted!

June 11, 2024, 3:01 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Thank you to those who joined office hours for the Building Envelope Innovation Prize - Secondary Glazing Systems!

Prize administrators and windows experts from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory reviewed the prize goals, requirements, and answered competitor questions live. View the office hours recording and presentation slides to find answers to your critical questions.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document is also available on HeroX, based on questions from the office hours and general email inquiries. 

We look forward to reviewing your Phase 1 submission by June 13, 5 p.m. ET!


Envelope Prize Submission Deadline Quickly Approaching!

June 4, 2024, 7:53 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The deadline to join Phase 1–Design Concept of the Building Envelope Innovation Prize is quickly approaching! Submit your novel SGS design concepts to HeroX by June 13 at 5 pm ET to be considered and have a chance to move on to Phase 2–Prototype with a cash award!

Phase 1 – Design Concept offers up to $50K in cash prizes for up to 5 winners.

Teams will develop novel SGS design concepts that meet the goals of innovating the commercial buildings industry and increase adoption of SGS technologies for commercial retrofits. The key goal of Phase 1 will be to have products with improved value propositions, leading to higher returns on investment. If you have questions about the submission requirements or process, please read the official rules and reach out to 

We look forward to reading your submissions! 


Envelope Prize Submission in TWO WEEKS!

May 30, 2024, 12:27 p.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Identify your opportunity and share your plans! The deadline to join the Building Envelope Innovation Prize: Secondary Glazing Systems is in just TWO WEEKS on June 13 at 5 pm ET. Prize organizers highly recommend starting your submission on HeroX early to avoid technical difficulties. Late submissions will not be considered!

Competitors in Phase 1–Design will identify an opportunity for innovative SGS technologies and make a plan to build and test a prototype of their SGS design concept. Successful submissions will include:

  • Cover page
  • Submission summary slide
  • Engineering drawings of SGS prototype
  • Design concept narrative
  • Letters of commitment or support (optional)

You can find the complete submission requirements in the official rules document. If you still have questions on how or what to submit, please reach out to .

Happy writing!


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