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Building Envelope Innovation Prize – Secondary Glazing Systems

Open Date:


Close Date:


Eligible Recipients:

  • Educational Institutions
  • General Public
  • Local Governments
  • Native/Tribal Entities
  • Non-profits
  • Private Sector
  • State Governments

Program Purpose:

  • Efficiency and Weatherization
  • Energy Infrastructure

Reserved for Energy


Upcoming Milestones:

This prize closes and re-opens with each of its phases.


Building Technologies Office (BTO)

Funded by:

U.S. Department of Energy


The Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the American-Made Building Envelope Innovation Prize—Secondary Glazing Systems, which will offer up to $2 million to encourage production of high-performance, cost-effective secondary glazing systems to improve efficiency of commercial windows.

Sponsored by DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO), the inaugural Building Envelope Innovation Prize targets novel solutions for commercial window upgrades to enable equitable decarbonization and optimize building envelopes for electrification. Secondary glazing involves installing an additional windowpane on an existing window to improve insulation.

Secondary glazing systems currently on the market can improve energy efficiency without needing to remove existing windows, but the potential of this technology has not been fully realized. The goal of this prize is to spur development of next-generation secondary windows that increase building resilience and comfort and decrease energy consumption—all while being highly cost-effective.

Improved window energy efficiency will lead to more attainable building electrification, as smaller heat pumps will be able to serve the building’s reduced energy needs. The Building Envelope Innovation Prize aims to fund development of promising, cost-effective, market-ready secondary glazing system solutions across three phases:

Phase 1: Design Concept

  • Teams will provide an innovative concept narrative and design drawings for a secondary glazing system prototype, including details on cost and energy performance.
  • Up to five semifinalists will be selected, each receiving $50,000.
  • Phase 1 awards will be based on energy and technical performance modeling, cost metrics, and construction plans.
  • Teams can only join during Phase 1

Phase 2: Prototype

  • Semifinalist teams selected from Phase 1 will submit a secondary glazing system prototype and technical narrative as well as secure an equity-focused pilot demonstration partner.
  • Phase 2 focus areas will include market readiness, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to be deployed.
  • Up to three finalists will be selected, each receiving $200,000.
  • Phase 2 awards will be based on prototype construction, as well as thermal and optical performance tests run by a national laboratory.

Phase 3: Commercialization

  • Finalist teams selected from Phase 2 will work with their equity-focused pilot demonstration partners and submit plans for commercialization.
  • Phase 3 will focus on commercial viability—including price point, ease of installation, etc.
  • Up to two winners will be selected. First place will receive $750,000; second place will receive $400,000.
  • Phase 3 awards will be based on prototype durability testing results, rigor of commercialization plans, and implementation of equity-focused pilot demonstrations in low-income multifamily or underserved public sector buildings.

Phase 2 and Phase 3 will not accept new competitors.

Related Resources

Additional information is available on the Resources page.

Funding Details

Funding Source:
Funding Type:
Direct Award
Total Amount Available:
Limit per Applicant:
Estimated Awards:

Applicant Guidance

Contact Information

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