DOE’s IMPEL+ Accelerates Technologies that Target America’s #1 Source of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Buildings

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES OFFICE 

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October 4, 2021

DOE’s IMPEL+ Accelerates Technologies that Target America’s #1 Source of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Buildings

 The DOE’s building-technology accelerator now welcoming applications from innovators seeking to bridge the chasm between invention and commercialization.


IMPEL+, the U.S. Department of Energy accelerator for building-energy technologies, is inviting innovators to apply to the expanded 2022 edition of the program, which is designed to spur technologies that slash buildings’ carbon footprints, from concept to market. IMPEL+, which stands for Incubating Market-Propelled Entrepreneurial Mindset at the Labs and Beyond, is funded by DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) and implemented by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). 

“Think of us as an early-stage incubator and accelerator for building-energy technologies,” said Mary Hubbard, BTO’s Technology-to-Market Manager. “For 2022, we are adding an all-star panel of mentors, including private-sector investors, public-sector leaders, technical subject-matter experts from across the DOE’s National Laboratory system, demonstration experts who will ensure equitable access to testing for building technologies, and entrepreneurs who have already brought building technologies to market.” 

IMPEL+ is also introducing a new “Partner Reverse Pitch” event, where state and federal funders, private investors, and national lab scientists will provide overviews on their platforms and opportunities to IMPEL+ innovators. As it has for the last two years, IMPEL+ will provide innovators with world-class pitch coaching and on-ramps to public and private pipelines that offer funding and access that can lead to commercialization. Apply here for this year’s program.

Join this year’s Kick-off Webinar to learn more. October 6, 2021, 3 – 4 p.m. ET. Register here.

This year, each IMPEL+ Workshop will be based on one of the themes below:

  • Decarbonize: For projects that radically reduce emissions for a zero-carbon built environment
  • Democratize: For projects that provide equitable wellness in a resilient, living environment
  • Digitalize: For projects that buildings, distributed energy resources, people, and organizations to smart analytics and critical energy information

“In the U.S., buildings are responsible for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions—more than any other sector,” said Dr. Carolyn Snyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at DOE. “President Biden has set a goal of cutting U.S. emissions in half by 2030 compared to a 2005 baseline, and meeting that target will require dramatic improvements in building energy efficiency and rapid deployment of grid-integration and clean-energy technologies for buildings. IMPEL+ is helping some of the most exciting, advanced building technologies get into the marketplace, where they can help slash emissions.” 

IMPEL+ innovators make connections that lead to grants, awards, and invitations to participate in next-step accelerators. These are a few of the game-changing innovations from the 2021 cohort that IMPEL+ has helped springboard toward commercialization: 

  • Josh Cable’s Inventwood was a part of a three-member team that received a $1.6 million award under the BTO BENEFIT FOA this August. Inventwood also received $500,000 from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to make lightweight 3D wood honeycomb structures that can be manufactured at one-fourteenth the cost and 10% of the CO2 emissions of their aluminum equivalents.
  • received a $206,000 DOE SBIR Phase I grant to develop machine-learning-based interface design and workflow automation that enables dramatic energy savings in commercial buildings. Tanya and her team received additional funding under a BTO CRADA award to work with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the company to develop an affordable control solution for grid responsiveness, reducing greenhouse gas and utility cost, and rapid adoption in the marketplace.
  • Bilal Sher of New York University EASEEbot team won $200,000 in Phase 1 of the American-Made Challenges’ E-ROBOT Prize. EASEEbot can fly around buildings and auto-generate a 3D model using advanced reconstruction as a non-invasive solution to locate and document moisture intrusion, thermal bridges, and air leaks in buildings.
  • Natalia Mykhaylova’s WeavAir won a Hype Sports Innovation Award for their sensor-enabled technology, which helps fitness centers and stadiums improve air quality while saving energy and operating costs.

“IMPEL+ provided a great network. Now I have a team of advisors in both the public and the private sectors, and I can ask them questions whenever I need to,” said 2021 IMPEL+ innovator Anna Dai of Varea Energy. Her company is developing software that helps commercial and industrial facilities save energy and water and reduce waste.

“Americans already spend about 90% of their time inside buildings. As climate change continues to amplify severe weather events, that number will only rise,” Reshma Singh, a Harvard trained architect and LBNL’s IMPEL+ Program Director said. “IMPEL+ is helping some of the brightest minds develop technologies that will reduce emissions from the buildings where we live and work, while also making them more climate-resilient, healthier, and more comfortable.”

IMPEL+ invites entrepreneurs, building technology professionals, small-business owners, researchers from national laboratories, university faculty members and graduate students, and other innovators to apply. Projects may include hardware, software, services, systems and solutions, and programs and policies, and are typically in the earlier stages of development.

Eligibility information and a link to the IMPEL+ application can be found at impel.lbl.gov. The application window will be open until all available innovator positions are filled.


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