The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced nearly $2 million for 13 new building technology projects led by small businesses with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation. These awards are for $150,000 each and will help small businesses with promising ideas to boost the efficiency of buildings.

This small business solicitation sought applications in three building technology areas: 1) technologies for sensing and managing indoor air quality in buildings, 2) high-efficiency materials for solid-state lighting, and 3) energy efficient solid-state lighting luminaires, products and systems. Companies competing for these grants were encouraged to propose innovations to meet ambitious cost and performance targets.

The small businesses receiving the building technology awards are located in eight states: California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Utah. The selected funding recipients in the three topic areas:

Technologies for Sensing and Managing Indoor Air Quality in Buildings

As buildings become more airtight, management of indoor air quality becomes increasingly important. These projects are focused on improving air quality in existing buildings:

  • Dioxide Materials (Boca Raton, FL) will develop a technology for low-cost, high-accuracy whole-building carbon dioxide monitoring for demand control ventilation.
  • Intelligent Optical Systems Inc. (Torrance, CA) will develop optical sensors for relative humidity that have unprecedented long-term stability at costs comparable to those of existing sensors.
  • KWJ Engineering Inc. (Newark, CA) will develop a novel CO2 air quality sensor for use with energy-efficient commercial and residential green building ventilation control systems.
  • Mechanical Solutions Inc. (Whippany, NJ) will develop an innovative, high-efficiency radon fan to replace current highly inefficient fans. The more cost-efficient fan will encourage more homeowners to protect themselves from radon.  

High-Efficiency Materials for Solid-State Lighting

DOE has estimated that advancing energy-efficient electric lighting in U.S. buildings could conserve more than 50% of lighting energy with corresponding savings in electricity costs to building operators. These projects seek to bring us closer to that goal by developing new materials for use in solid-state lighting devices:

  • Lumisyn, LLC (Rochester, NY) will research high-performance colloidal nanocrystals to be used in LED products, potentially resulting in a factor of 1.4 increase in LED efficiency.
  • OLEDWorks, LLC (Rochester, NY) will investigate novel blue emitting organic light-emitting diode (OLED) materials that are critical to reducing the cost and improving the performance of OLED lighting panels.
  • PhosphorTech Corporation (Kennesaw, GA) will research hybrid down-converting structures for solid-state lighting. These materials can enable a new generation of SSL devices with high luminous efficacies, high color and thermal stability, and very high spectral efficiency.
  • SC Solutions Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) will develop an innovative temperature controller for the LED manufacturing process that has the potential to reduce manufacturing costs by as much as 20%.
  • UbiQD, LLC (Los Alamos, NM) will investigate extremely low-cost, efficient phosphors for solid-state lighting using low-toxicity quantum dots. Quantum dots are a promising solid-state lighting phosphor to create white light from blue LEDs.
  • Vadient Optics, LLC (Eugene, OR) seeks to demonstrate that inkjet‐print fabrication of nanocomposite optical inks allows for more efficient and more precise light extraction from LED lamps at a fraction of the cost of conventional techniques.

Energy-Efficient Solid-State Lighting Luminaires, Products, and Systems

These projects will develop advanced solid-state lighting luminaire designs, components, controls and systems that take full advantage of the unique performance capabilities of emerging SSL technologies, resulting in higher rates of growth and energy savings:

  • InnoSys Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT) will develop a next-generation installation/configuration software platform and a novel luminaire in order to lower barriers to the adoption of intelligent SSL devices.
  • Lucent Optics Inc. (Sacramento, CA) will develop and demonstrate an ultra-thin flexible LED lighting panel.
  • Lumisyn LLC (Rochester, NY) will improve the lifetime of its next-generation materials so that they can be used in LED products, resulting in an increase in LED efficiency by a factor of up to 1.3.

Funded by DOE's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, these Phase I selections explore the feasibility of innovative concepts that could be developed into prototype technologies. For information, visit the Building Technologies Office’s small business portfolio website, and read the peer review report.