Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) – Oak Ridge, TN
Project Term: Current – September 30, 2016
Funding Type: Direct Lab Funding


DOE aims to help technology innovators collect, share, and evaluate input from stakeholders and other members of the public regarding next-generation building technologies to determine which ideas should be developed further.

Announced at EERE’s Industry Day in September 2015, ORNL’s new crowdsourcing initiative JUMP (or, Join in the discussion, Unveil innovation, Motivate transformation, and Promote technology to market) is focused on cultivating innovation for energy efficient technologies, focusing on water heaters, sensors for HVAC systems, and a defrost system for refrigerators in its first year. JUMP is partnering with industry partners and ORNL to provide in-kind technical support and cash prizes, along with access to the Small Business Voucher program. JUMP will provide participants with coordinated access to leading industry partners to potentially collaborate to advance their design and/or possible funding opportunities.

DOE’s Lab-Corps program aims to accelerate the transfer of innovative clean energy technologies from DOE’s National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace. Lab-Corps aims to better train and empower national lab researchers to successfully transition their discoveries into high-impact, real world technologies in the private sector.  Lab-Corps, which builds on the National Science Foundation’s successful Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) model, is a specialized technology accelerator and training curriculum for the national laboratories that will enable lab-based teams to gain direct market feedback on their technologies and pursue the development of startup companies, industry partnerships, licensing agreements, and other business opportunities. Two researchers from ORNL will participate in this program and evaluate the market potential of a technology that improves the energy efficiency of existing building envelopes. 


Private companies and governments around the world have increasingly turned to crowdsourcing to enhance the early stage research and development work they conduct every day. Agencies such as NASA and the U.S. military, and companies such as Roche Diagnostics have used crowdsourcing to successfully solve pressing questions – often at a faster rate and lower cost than internal development alone. In a 2008 competition sponsored by Roche Diagnostics, the 113 answers to the 60-day challenge was estimated to represent 15 years of R&D work for a cost of $20,000. Other companies have seen a return on investment between 80 and 180 percent.

Projects such as JUMP and Lab-Corps also provide an opportunity for innovators to receive firsthand feedback about their ideas from end users, consumers, and purchasers. This unique forum allows for collection and filtering of ideas, to generate the best of the best in Technology to Market (T2M) ideas. These projects will also reduce the time necessary for innovative ideas to reach the market, enabling the greater spread of building-related energy-saving technologies.  


DOE Technology Manager: Karma Sawyer
Lead Performer: Melissa Lapsa, Oak Ridge National Laboratory