The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced nearly $4.5 million for 13 grants to small businesses to develop energy-efficient technologies in the buildings sector with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation. These building energy-efficiency projects—among a total of 263 grants DOE-wide—help small business with promising ideas that could improve building energy management, advance solid-state lighting manufacturing processes, reduce HVAC energy consumption through exciting membrane technology, promote healthier indoor air quality through sensor development, and much more.
Funded through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, companies competing for these grants were encouraged to propose innovations to meet ambitious cost and performance targets. They were selected based on scientific and technical merit, as well as the commercial potential of the project proposed to continue their research and development.
These are the 13 small business projects awarded in building energy efficiency:
- From Sacramento, California: Lucent Optics Inc. is developing an ultra-thin flexible lighting panel that combines the energy efficiency and low cost of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with the ultrathin form factor and flexibility of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).
- From Torrance, California: Intelligent Optical Systems Inc. is developing optical sensors to measure humidity that will have unprecedented long-term stability at costs comparable to those of existing sensors.
- From Torrance, California: Luminit LLC is developing an innovative and low-cost light shaping technology to significantly increase the energy efficiency of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).
- From Evergreen, Colorado: EverSealed Windows Inc. is developing a highly efficient and reliable Vacuum Insulating Glass Unit (VIGU or VIG) that employs a flexible edge seal and bonding technology for use in any window, door or skylight.
- From Rockledge, Florida: Mainstream Engineering Corp. is developing a novel heat exchanger to reduce the cost of geothermal heat pumps while increasing their efficiency.*
- From Marlborough, Massachusetts: Aspen Products Group Inc. is developing a unique energy recovery ventilator that employs high performance water-permeable membranes.
- From Durham, New Hampshire: Ground Energy Support LLC is developing methods for demonstrating performance of geothermal heat pumps systems, looking to overcome barriers preventing the development and adoption of a widely available energy resource.*
- From Whippany, New Jersey: Mechanical Solutions Inc. is developing an innovative, high-efficiency radon fan for immediate application in the radon mitigation market.
- From Rochester, New York: OLEDWorks LLC is developing a prototype product that combines the unique beauty of paper-thin, curved sheets of light in an easy-to-use modular lighting system to accelerate OLED lighting market growth.
- From Cincinnati, Ohio: Melink Corp. is exploring the development of geothermal seasonal energy storage based on innovative phase change materials that could dramatically lower the cost of storing energy.*
- From San Antonio, Texas: Leaptran Inc. is developing an open-source management system for control of energy storage in solar-powered buildings that will enable buildings to respond to grid requirements collectively and interactively.*
- From Poulsbo, Washington: Battery Informatics Inc. is developing software that will improve the economics of using battery energy storage for energy management of buildings.*
- From Pewaukee, Wisconsin: V-Glass LLC is developing a Vacuum Insulating Glass Unit (VIG) with tiny wire whiskers as pane spacers for superior insulating performance and lifetime.
For more information about EERE’s SBIR/STTR efforts, see www.energy.gov/eere/sbir.
Note: An asterisk indicates a joint topic by multiple EERE offices. Funding may be provided from one or more offices. The Building Technologies Office has joint topics with the Geothermal Technologies Office and the Solar Energy Technologies Office.