Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) announced its Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) – 2022/23 funding opportunity announcement (FOA). This FOA will invest up to $45 million across five topic areas to research and develop high-impact, cost-effective technologies and building retrofit practices that will reduce carbon emissions, improve flexibility and resilience, and lower energy costs. BENEFIT 2022/23 will spur innovations in air conditioning, space heating, water heating; thermal and battery storage; plug loads and lighting; and the building envelope that have significant potential for equitable carbon savings, through building electrification, energy efficiency, and demand flexibility with utmost affordability at its core.

Residential and commercial buildings are the single-largest energy-consuming sector of the U.S. economy, representing approximately 39% of U.S. total energy consumption and 74% of its electricity use, which makes buildings responsible for 35% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. It is estimated that one-third or more of the energy used by buildings is wasted, and with it as much as $150 billion annually. To change this, BTO works to reduce the energy intensity and related carbon emissions of homes and commercial buildings by applying cost-effective technologies and practices, and this FOA will drive innovations that can lead to the deployment of clean energy technologies, which are critical for climate protection.

These efforts work to decarbonize buildings, and while most of the building stock can be decarbonized by 2050 using current technologies, new technologies are still required to decarbonize significant building segments, as well as to ensure that decarbonization can also reduce customer energy burdens. Technology advances can reduce the total cost of decarbonization, and technology deployment initiatives can identify technology gaps and needs. The long-term RDD&D investments this FOA makes will reduce the cost of building decarbonization and increase the quality of life for building occupants.

BTO has issued the BENEFIT FOA on a regular basis since 2014. The 2022/23 BENEFIT FOA will invest up to $15.35-$45.2 million to allow all interested parties to pursue innovations in the following topic areas.

  • Topic 1: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and Water Heating: Technologies with improved materials, components, equipment design and engineering, lower cost manufacturing processes, and easier installation.
  • Topic 2: Thermal Energy Storage (TES): Development and validation of next-generation plug-and-play TES products with improved cost and performance and ease of installation to accelerate adoption of TES in HVAC applications.
  • Topic 3: Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS): Development, validation, and demonstration of product innovations that reduce the cost of BESS integration, improve the coordination between distributed BESS and the electrical grid, as well as help meet building decarbonization targets.
  • Topic 4: Plug Loads/Lighting: Integration of plug load controls with connected lighting systems in commercial buildings with minimal cost and complexity to support building electrification.
  • Topic 5: Opaque Building Envelope: Development, validation, and demonstration of high-impact, affordable. opaque building envelope retrofit and diagnostic technologies.

To apply to this FOA, applicants must register with and submit application materials through EERE eXCHANGE, EERE’s online application portal, at Applicants must submit a concept paper by 5 p.m. ET on February 7, 2023 to be eligible to submit a full application.