Find Nonprofit and Small Business Grants

Advance Search

Only Available for Paid Subscribers
Clear Filters
Search Filters

Prizes to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, Tribes, Building Owners, and Utilities to Recognize Innovative Plans for Clean Energy Building Improvements

Buildings Upgrade Prize


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) - Building Technologies Office (BTO)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus

Important Dates
Deadline: 07/18/23 5:00 PM ET Save

Grant Description
Prizes to USA nonprofit organizations, CBOs, local government agencies, tribes, building owners, utilities, and other for-profits to recognize innovative plans that support clean energy building improvements. The purpose of the program is to encourage creative initiatives that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and efficient electrification. Building upgrades may include transitioning to efficient electric equipment, including heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, and improving building efficiency through measures such as insulation and air sealing.

In its first phase, Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) will award cash prizes and technical assistance to winning teams that develop innovative initiative models, leveraging billions in federal funding for energy efficiency and efficient electrification to accelerate building upgrades and achieve greenhouse gas reduction, equity, economic development, and health goals. 

Upgrading existing buildings to efficiently run on clean energy will help address climate change. Efforts will help reduce carbon emissions and energy costs, while improving indoor air quality and occupant comfort.

Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office (BTO), Buildings UP aims to build capacity to rapidly and equitably transform U.S. buildings. Teams will submit innovative concepts to equitably transform a wide variety of buildings across diverse geographies. As teams progress through the prize, they will receive cash prizes and technical assistance to help bring their ideas to life. 

Prize Structure:

Teams may apply to one of two pathways: Equity-Centered Innovation or Open Innovation. 

  • Equity-Centered Innovation Pathway:  Teams propose a new initiative or innovation to an existing initiative for delivering scalable and replicable building upgrades to buildings in disadvantaged communities, low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, and underserved commercial, nonprofit, and public buildings. For eligibility requirements of "equity-eligible" buildings, see p. 15 of the Official Prize Rules listed in Supporting Documents below.
  • Open Innovation Pathway: Teams propose a new initiative or innovation to an existing initiative that addresses a geographic area or building type and can achieve scalability and replicability of building upgrades. 

Winners of both pathways will be eligible to advance to Phase 2 and access technical assistance.

For examples of potential building upgrade solutions, see p. 7 of the Official Prize Rules listed in Supporting Documents below.

Buildings intended for upgrades may include one or multiple residential or commercial building types (e.g., single family; multifamily; manufactured housing; K–12 schools; higher education; commercial real estate; hospitality; health care; retail, food service, and grocery; local government buildings; state government buildings) and may be in a single community or include buildings across multiple geographic locations.

For Minimum Technology Requirements of eligible buildings, see p. 8 of the Official Prize Rules listed in Supporting Documents below.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
The competition is open to community-based organizations, local governments, tribes, building owners, utilities, nonprofit organizations, energy efficiency program implementers, and other organizations. Multi-stakeholder teams are encouraged to apply. Application support is available for new and under-resourced teams.

Buildings UP is open to teams of organizations that may include:
• Non-federal-government entities such as municipalities, states, counties, tribal governments, territories, public housing authorities, and/or regional planning organizations.
• Indian Tribes. For the purposes of this prize, the term “Indian Tribe” includes both federally recognized and non-federally recognized (e.g., state-recognized) Indian tribes.
• Community-based organizations (CBOs). (See p. 13 of Official Prize Rules listed in Supporting Documents below.)
• Nonprofit or for-profit organizations such as portfolio building owners/operators, utilities, building
upgrade service providers, unions, faith-based organizations, and other entities.

Private entities must be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States with majority domestic ownership and control. Academic institutions must be based in the United States.

For further eligibility details, see p. 14 of the Official Prize Rules listed in Supporting Documents below.

For ineligible organizations and applicants, see p. 14 of the Official Prize Rules listed in Supporting Documents below.

Pre-Proposal Conference
Prize Overview Webinar: June 13, 2023, 11 a.m. PDT
Following the main informational webinar, the funding source will be joined by their partners at Elevate to learn more about the Application Support Bonus Prize. This webinar will include timelines, deliverables, and prize rules as well as a live Q&A.
- Register here:

Office Hours:

During office hours sessions, prize applicants can drop in, learn more about topics related to the scoring criteria in the prize application, and ask any questions as they begin to prepare application materials. The sessions will include opportunities to ask questions related to previous Buildings UP training webinar topics, the application process, and any other clarifications that would be helpful as applicants work to prepare their application materials.

Office Hours Dates and times are as follows:
- 6/15/23, 7:30-9p p.m. ET - Buildings UP Office Hours: General Support/All Webinar Topics.
To register:
- 6/26/23, 12:30-2 p.m. ET - Buildings UP Office Hours: Application and Prize Deep Dive.
To register:
- 7/6/23, 3:30-5 p.m. ET - Buildings UP Office Hours: General Support/All Webinar Topics.
To register here:
- 7/11/23, 7:30-9 p.m. ET - Buildings UP Office Hours: General Support/All Webinar Topics.
To register:
- 7/13/23, 12-1:30 p.m. ET - Buildings UP Office Hours: General Support/All Webinar Topics.
To register:

For information on webinars and office hours, see


Pre-Application Information
You must post the final content of your Phase 1 submission or upload the submission form online
by 5 p.m. ET on July 18, 2023, before the prize’s Phase 1 submission period closes.

- May 16, 2023, 11 p.m. PDT: Open for Phase 1 Applications
- July 18, 2023, 2 p.m. PDT: Phase 1 Concept Prize submission deadline
- Sept. 28, 2023, 11 p.m. PDT: Phase 1 winning teams announced, prizes awarded (anticipated). Date subject to change.
- Oct. 10, 2023, 11 p.m. PDT: Access to cohort trainings, technical assistance, and Regional Navigators begins for winning teams (anticipated). Date subject to change.



Webinar recording:

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants
DOE will select 20–60 Phase 1 winning teams between the Equity-Centered Innovation and Open Innovation Pathways.

Estimated Size of Grant
Phase 1 Equity-Centered Innovation winners will each receive a $400,000 cash prize.

Phase 1 Open Innovation winners will each receive a $200,000 cash prize.

Application Support Prize: Up to 50 winning teams will be awarded $5,000 and up to 10 hours of technical support for this prize. Applicants are intended to be those who might not otherwise have the staff capacity, time, or expertise to submit a full Phase 1 submission. The primary competitors for the Application Support Prize are first-time applicants for BTO funding and community-based organizations (CBOs) representing or serving areas with equity-eligible buildings. These submissions will be reviewed and awarded monthly from February through May 2023, until funds are expended.

Contact Information
To apply, click the "Solve This Challenge" button on the Full Grant Text RFP.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message staff directly at

Grant News
Live Chat Chat Now