DOE Seeks Green Building Innovations

FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking market-ready technologies to help stanch the annual hemorrhaging of billions of BTUs by the nation's commercial buildings.

The agency's Building Technologies Office is seeking to develop a "pipeline of high-impact, cost-effective, energy-saving and underutilized commercial building technologies," according to a seven-page Request for Information issued March 6.

Although the RFI is not a funding opportunity, DOE BTO recently also issued a Commercial Building Technology Demonstrations Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0001084 that does seek to support such technologies. A webinar explains the grant opportunity; the deadline for concept papers is March 31, 2014.

Viable, But Underused

Specifically, the new High Impact Commercial Building Technology Deployment RFI is hunting for technologies that are within one year of market availability, but are "underutilized due to barriers such as perception of risk, gaps in information and data on performance and cost."

The RFI was issued by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE).

The purpose of the RFI is to "solicit feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on issues related to cost-effective, market-ready, high-impact commercial building technologies," according to EERE.

The office is specifically interested in information related to available 'high-impact technologies, potential host sites for technology demonstrations, and market interest in technologies."

Scope and Selection

The RFI casts a wide net, suggesting innovations in any of these general categories: "lighting, daylighting, shading, fenestration, envelope measures, building automation, energy management information systems, boilers, chillers, motors, pumps, fans, packaged units, plug load management and control, occupant engagement, process loads/infrastructure, food service equipment, office equipment, audits and retro-commissioning, etc."


The RFI seeks new technologies from across the building spectrum, from fenestration and envelope measures to lighting and building automation.

The agency is seeking to connect with developers and suppliers; technology demonstration host sites; and technology providers.

Technologies will be evaluated based on:

  • Market demand;
  • Existing resources related to the technology;
  • Regulatory environment;
  • Manufacturing capacity;
  • Cost effectiveness, including installation, operations and maintenance;
  • Energy footprint; and
  • Technical savings opportunity.

What's at Stake

Commercial buildings consume 18 Quads of primary energy annually, DOE reports. A Quad is equal to 1015 BTU, or roughly the equivalent of:

  • 8 billion U.S. gallons of gasoline
  • 293 billion Kilowatt-hours; or
  • 36 million tonnes of coal.

The RFI announcement is here, and the full RFI is available here. The deadline is 5 p.m. (ET) May 30, 2014.


Tagged categories: Building Envelope; Construction; Energy efficiency; Government; Government contracts; Market; U.S. Department of Energy

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