Home electrification is an essential component to reducing carbon emissions. By replacing fuel-burning appliances with electric products, often including heat pump technologies, buildings have the ability to run on clean, renewable energy.
The goal of the EAS-E Prize is to support a suite of design solutions, tools, and/or technology innovations that make electrification more affordable and accessible in existing U.S. homes. Through this prize, the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office aims to create more opportunities and successes for electrification of the U.S. housing stock with a focus on equitable solutions for all homeowners—not only through affordability, but also by enabling solutions specific to dwellings more common in low-income and under-resourced communities. In some homes, load reduction strategies (e.g., building envelope upgrades) can also improve the reliability, affordability, and performance of electrification upgrades.
Design solutions/tools and technology innovations are eligible for the prize, with the goal to spur an ecosystem of products and approaches that work for every homeowner ready to make the switch. Low-power electrification solutions that limit the electricity demand of individual appliances or the whole dwelling (e.g., by avoiding electrical panel upgrades or controlling coincident loads) are strongly encouraged, because of their potential benefits to the project cost and speed of installation and their wider grid impacts. The innovations developed and launched in response to this prize will benefit the broader housing retrofit market by advancing building electrification solutions that are fast, easy, and scalable.
The EAS-E Home Electrification Prize consists of two phases:
Phase 1. Concept Paper. This phase is focused on presenting the proposed solution(s), comparing them with current practice, forming a capable team, identifying market opportunities, outlining risks, and describing the intended Phase 2 demonstration. Up to five Phase 1 winners will receive a $5,000 cash prize each and will be eligible to compete in Phase 2. Additionally, Phase 1 winners will each receive a $75,000 voucher to work with DOE national laboratories and/or “Connectors” from the American-Made Network that qualify as Voucher Service Providers.
Phase 2. Demonstration. In this phase, winning competitors from Phase 1 will finalize their teams, complete solution design documentation, evaluate the size of the potential market and the commercial viability of the solution, and demonstrate functional prototype solutions. Pilot demonstrations should show that the technology is reliable and capable of broad application, and that it makes a substantial difference in the economic viability of electrifying the homes in question. Up to three prizes will be awarded under Phase 2, with a top prize of $1 million. The remaining prize pool will be shared equally between the other Phase 2 winners.
The competition is open to individuals; private entities (for-profits and nonprofits); nonfederal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities; and academic institutions. More information can be found in the official rules document.
The EAS-E Home Electrification Prize is administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO), under the authority of the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010, as amended (15 U.S.C. 3719).