WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $34.5 million in funding to support building technology research and development (R&D). Buildings are the single largest energy-consuming sector in the U.S. economy, representing approximately 75% of the nation’s electricity use and 40% of its total energy demand, resulting in Americans spending nearly $400 billion each year to power homes, offices, schools, hospitals, and other commercial and residential buildings.

The Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) is issuing two funding opportunities: Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) 2018 and Solid-State Lighting Research. These funding announcements will further the Administration’s goal to drive U.S. technology leadership in solid-state lighting as well as develop innovative energy saving technologies, systems, tools, and models that could lead to significant reduction in building energy consumption by supporting innovative research in several topic areas.

BENEFIT 2018 will fund up to $19.5 million for approximately 15-25 cost-shared projects focused on early-stage R&D to enable the development of novel technologies that can improve efficiency, reduce the energy costs of the nation’s buildings, and facilitate interaction with the electricity grid. Under this funding opportunity, BTO is interested in six topic areas:

  • Topic 1 – Advanced Separation Technologies for Building Energy Efficiency
    Development of Innovative separation technologies, such as membranes and ad/ab-sorption technologies, capable of significantly improving building energy efficiency in HVAC, water heating and appliances, and building envelope applications.

  • Topic 2 – Advanced Building Materials
    Development of smart, tunable, and highly insulating building envelope materials to enable significant reductions in cooling and heating loads.

  • Topic 3 – High-Performance Windows
    Development of highly insulating R7 to R10 window technologies, as well as advanced coatings for dynamic glazing.

  • Topic 4 – Novel Approaches for Cyber-physical Systems in Buildings
    New and enhanced synergies at the nexus of building energy modeling and Sensors and Controls that together cover portions of the building cyber-physical space.

  • Topic 5 – Integration Research of Advanced Commercial Energy Efficiency Packages
    Testing of next-generation building systems and equipment that improve efficiency across two or more building end uses in real-world operating conditions.

  • Topic 6 – Advancements in Natural Gas and Other Fuel-driven Equipment
    Innovative solutions that significantly improve the energy efficiency of natural gas and other fuel-driven equipment and achieve a coefficient of performance of greater than 1.0.

Concept papers for BENEFIT are due no later than June 8, 2018 and full applications are due August 23, 2018. BTO will host a webinar for this funding opportunity on May 8, 2018 (register here).

The second funding opportunity, Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Research, will fund up to $15 million for  approximately 10-15 cost-shared projects to conduct early-stage, innovative research to drive further breakthroughs in solid-state lighting technology. This funding will accelerate the development of high-quality light-emitting diode (LED) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) products with the potential to reduce lighting energy use for American families and businesses and to enhance U.S. global competitiveness. Under this funding opportunity, BTO is interested in four topic areas:

  • Topic 1 – Core Technology Research for LEDs, OLEDs, and Cross-Cutting Lighting Research
    These projects will develop innovative advancements in the underlying science for SSL technology, demonstrating scientific principles, technical application, and application benefits related to physiological impacts of light and light utilization efficiency.

  • Topic 2 - Proof-of-Concept and Prototype Development for LEDs and OLEDs
    These projects will pursue early-stage research to contribute to the development of SSL prototypes as well as advanced proof-of-concept SSL materials, devices, and luminaires. Research in this area will focus on high-efficacy LED prototypes, advanced LED lighting, LED power electronics, OLED light engines, OLED prototype lighting platforms, and OLED panel light extraction and utilization. 

  • Topic 3 - Advanced Fabrication R&D
    These projects will focus on the underlying chemical and physical aspects of SSL fabrication, exploring LED advanced fabrication approaches, OLED substrate and encapsulation fabrication, and OLED panel fabrication. 

  • Topic 4 - Innovative Lighting in a Limited Mock Field Application
    These projects will assess innovative lighting system solutions in limited mock field application settings. The technical resources and data sets developed will ultimately help researchers refine or refocus early-stage research and development of SSL-based devices, luminaires, and systems.

Full applications for SSL are due June 18, 2018. BTO will host a webinar for this funding opportunity on May 7, 2018 (register here).

For more information on both of these funding opportunities visit the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange website.