Department of Energy Invests in Building Energy Innovation

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Published On
Oct 2, 2020

Buildings have become a prime target in the pursuit of greater energy efficiency.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes their importance and has announced a new funding opportunity. The hefty investment will encourage the development of innovative technologies that help buildings reduce energy consumption and increase the nation’s overall energy resiliency.

On September 25, the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Building Technologies Office announced the Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies 2020. It will provide $80 million in funding for projects that improve energy efficiency in buildings.

The goal is to enhance the flexibility of energy demand in buildings and improve grid reliability. Additional goals include developing next-generation technologies, advancing building construction, increasing affordability and improving occupant comfort.

The DOE notes that the nation's 119 million residential and 5.6 million commercial buildings combined account for nearly 40% of the nation’s total energy demand. That is more than the industrial or transportation sectors, which account for 32% and 28% of demand, respectively. The DOE adds that buildings account for roughly 74% of all electricity use in the United States and an even greater share of peak power demand in some regions.

The DOE hopes to drastically reduce power demand by investing in “cutting-edge, energy-saving building technologies, systems, and practices.” These technologies will improve building energy efficiency "without sacrificing occupant comfort or product performance.”

The funding opportunity will support innovative technologies in many areas. They include thermal storage, advanced HVAC systems, next generation refrigeration, improved compressor design, next generation lighting, whole-building electric load optimization, building construction, retrofit technologies and workforce development.

The deadline for submittal of concept papers is Nov. 5.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at

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