Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Oak Ridge, TN
-- Lighter Than Air (LTA)
-- Southern Company – Atlanta, GA
-- New York State Energy Research and Development Authority – Albany, NY
DOE Total Funding: $500,000
Cost Share: $125,000
Project Term: June 1, 2020 – January 31, 2022
Funding Type: Advanced Building Construction FOA Award

As part of the ABC FOA topic Integrated Building Retrofits, this project is one of a cohort of Phase 1 projects that will design and prototype a technology or approach that provides a deep energy-saving retrofit solution for one or more building energy systems. Once completed, BTO will conduct a competitive review of this project, along with all Phase 1 projects, to down-select recipients for Phase 2 awards that focus on a whole-building deep energy retrofit solution. Phase 2 awardees will develop and field-validate their retrofit solution from Phase 1 on at least two occupied, operational buildings.

Project Objective

Building envelope retrofits tend to be cost-prohibitive and technically challenging. The market barrier to envelope retrofitting is mainly cost, rather than a lack of advanced technologies. This project will develop an insulation-inflatable technology that will significantly reduce the cost and improve the performance of insulation retrofits. This insulation-inflatable technology will revolutionize insulation retrofits in low-income residential buildings by being easily applied in a matter of four days from start to finish with basic installation equipment, minimum disruption to occupants (or traffic) and requiring only a small truck for transportation.

The proposed transformative inflatable wall technology will lower the cost of envelope retrofitting and decrease installation time. Initially, this project will target manufactured homes because of the likelihood of a fast payback period, low up-front costs, and quick installation. The solution will be extended to other building types later. The payback period will be shortest in cold climates (less than one year) because of the increased importance of insulation.

Project Impact

The proposed technology will improve the building envelope retrofit process in the following ways:

  • Reduce the cost of material and transportation by using an innovative permanent inflatable insulation technology
  • Decrease time of production by use of automation in surveying buildings and producing inflatables
  • Decrease time of installation by use of a simple adhesion and zipper technology for application to building
  • Reduce cost of insulating buildings


DOE Technology Manager: Sven Mumme
Lead Performer: Ayyoub M. Momen, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related Publications

The schematic representation of the installation process.