JUMP into STEM
JUMP into STEM is an online competition for students at U.S. colleges and universities that aims to attract innovative student teams from a variety of majors and backgrounds to the building science research profession. Winners receive paid summer internships at either Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) or at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Learn more about JUMP into STEM.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is a collegiate competition, initiated in 2002, that inspires student teams to design and build highly efficient buildings powered by renewables, while optimizing for key considerations including affordability, resilience, and occupant health. The winners are those teams that best blend architectural and engineering excellence with innovation in how their building interacts with the world around it. Learn more about the Solar Decathlon.
Advanced interoperable lighting systems have the potential to better manage lighting energy use, integrate with other building systems, streamline maintenance and operations, and even respond to electric grid signals, increasing the value and resiliency of buildings. The Lighting Prize (L-Prize), a successor to the first Lighting Prize, seeks to unlock the additional potential to combine high-luminaire efficacy with exceptional lighting quality, data-driven control and functionality, innovative design, construction, and grid flexibility for the future of illumination in commercial and institutional buildings. Learn more about the L-Prize.
Envelope Retrofit Opportunities for Building Optimization Technologies (E-ROBOT) Prize
The E-ROBOT Prize seeks to catalyze the development of minimally invasive, low-cost, and holistic building envelope retrofit solutions that make retrofits easier, faster, and more accessible for workers. E-ROBOT is part of the American-Made Challenges series and offers participants cash prizes, as well as access to the American-Made Network, consisting of pioneering makerspaces, energy incubators, universities, and 17 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories. Successful competitors will provide solutions to advance robot technologies and the energy-efficiency retrofit industry. Learn more about the E-ROBOT Prize.
IoT-Upgradeable Lighting Challenge
More than 30% of lighting energy use can be saved when lighting controls are installed. Installing IoT sensors can help make buildings smart, and when combined with existing light fixtures, provide an ideal platform for integrating advanced controls to further promote energy savings. The DOE-sponsored IoT (Internet of Things) Upgradeable Luminaire Challenge invites end users and manufacturers to be recognized for their participation and creative input regarding the widespread adoption of IoT-Upgradeable Luminaires. Learn more about the Internet of Things Upgradeable Lighting Challenge.
Building Envelope Campaign
The Building Envelope Campaign (BEC) helps building owners and managers create more energy-efficient buildings by improving the performance of building envelopes in both new and existing buildings. This will be achieved by setting goals for building envelope performance, determining available energy savings, and providing technical support to building owners and managers. Learn more about the Building Envelope Campaign.
Manufacturing Innovator Challenge
In 2019, DOE launched a Manufacturing Innovator Challenge for Sustainable Manufacturing of Luminaires. The majority of LED Luminaires still use aluminum and other energy-dense structural and thermal materials in their design and manufacturing processes. Through the Challenge, DOE sought new concepts in LED luminaires designed to be manufactured with sustainable, recycled materials that offer potential for reduced parts and manufacturing costs. In November 2019, DOE announced the winner: A Bamboo Pendant by Koerner Design. The design incorporates bio-derived and biodegradable, low-toxicity, sustainable materials and is applicable to net-zero-energy buildings. The winning entry embodies DOE priorities to increase material and energy efficiency while improving building occupant comfort and quality of life. Learn more about the Sustainable Manufacturing of Luminaires Challenge.
The Integrated Lighting Campaign
The Integrated Lighting Campaign helps facility owners and managers take advantage of the savings opportunities and benefits of advanced lighting controls and integrated lighting systems. Building on the success of the Interior Lighting Campaign (2015-2019), the Integrated Lighting Campaign provides participants with guidance, technical assistance, and access to resources, as well as recognition for innovative lighting projects.
Past Prizes, Challenges and Competitions
The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign
The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign was a program led by the U.S. Department of Energy that encouraged the use of a wide variety of commercially available Energy Management and Information Systems (EMIS) technologies and ongoing monitoring practices to help uncover energy-saving opportunities and improve building performance.
Rooftop Unit Challenge
In January 2011, DOE joined industry partners in the Better Buildings Alliance to release a design specification for 10-ton capacity commercial air conditioners, also known as rooftop units (RTUs). The specification was a part of the High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge initiative, to urge U.S. manufacturers to build and deliver innovative, competitively priced, energy-saving rooftop units that meet the Better Buildings Alliance-driven requirements of a high-performance specification. In May 2012, Daikin's Rebel rooftop unit system became the first to meet the challenge. In May 2013, Carrier became the second manufacturer to meet the RTU Challenge with their WeatherExpert unit. There are now a total of five companies that offer RTUs that meet the RTU Challenge performance specification. Learn more about the Rooftop Unit Challenge.
Low-Cost Wireless Metering Challenge
DOE issued the Low-Cost Wireless Metering Challenge encouraging manufacturers to produce a cost-effective, accurate, wireless system capable of measuring various electric loads within a building and wirelessly communicating the data. Although commercial buildings spend more than 120 billion dollars annually on electricity, much of that energy is not measured or managed. Data provided by submeters can provide visibility on energy use to building owners and operators, allowing them to strategically implement energy-efficiency measures that can save money. Unfortunately, the technology for submetering has been cost-prohibitive, putting savings out of reach in many circumstances. On May 15, 2017, DOE recognized wireless technology company Meazon for their exemplary performance in meeting the specifications. Although Meazon is the only company to meet the specification so far, the performance specification stands as an opportunity for other organizations to enhance the market for low-cost submetering. Learn more about the Wireless Metering Challenge.