DOE Initiates $2 Million Prize to Accelerate Energy-Efficient Commercial Secondary Glazing Systems

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The U.S. Department of Energy launches the American-Made Building Envelope Innovation Prize—Secondary Glazing Systems, offering a $2 million incentive to drive the production of high-performance, cost-effective secondary glazing systems for enhanced commercial window efficiency.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has introduced the American-Made Building Envelope Innovation Prize—Secondary Glazing Systems, a groundbreaking initiative offering up to $2 million in prizes to stimulate the development of high-performance and cost-effective secondary glazing systems. Aimed at improving the efficiency of commercial windows, this prize is sponsored by DOE’s Building Technologies Office in collaboration with the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA), the National Glass Association (NGA), and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).

Secondary glazing involves the addition of an extra windowpane to an existing window, enhancing insulation. While currently available secondary glazing systems can enhance energy efficiency without the need for window replacement, the full potential of this technology remains untapped. The prize aims to catalyze the development of next-generation secondary windows that not only increase building resilience and comfort but also reduce energy consumption in a highly cost-effective manner.

The prize will be awarded across three phases, beginning with Phase 1 focusing on the design concept. Teams participating in Phase 1 will have the opportunity to receive awards of $50,000 based on their innovative concept narratives and design drawings. Subsequent phases include the prototype phase, where semifinalist teams can secure up to $200,000, and the commercialization phase, where finalists can compete for awards totaling $1.15 million. The entire initiative seeks to drive the development of market-ready, cost-effective secondary glazing system solutions.

NGA officials stress the significance of energy-efficient systems, citing the potential to reduce energy usage significantly. They express excitement about the DOE’s initiative, recognizing its potential to boost the industry’s response to this opportunity and align with sustainability goals.

Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, emphasizes the urgency of addressing single-pane windows in U.S. commercial buildings, which account for approximately 40%. The prize aims to overcome the challenges of full window replacements, providing an efficient and cost-effective alternative through widely adopted secondary glazing systems.

Marc LaFrance, Windows Technology Manager for DOE’s Building Technologies Office, notes that while existing secondary glazing systems are cost-effective, their adoption remains limited. The prize aims to enhance access to efficient retrofit technologies by reducing both product and installation costs, fostering equitable technology adoption.

The Design Concept phase is open for innovative submissions until June 13, 2024, and interested applicants must join by that date. The subsequent phases will not accept new competitors.

Source: with additional information added by Apazone

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