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Robot Inspecting Attic


New Innovations Bolster American Workforce & Advance Building Envelope Retrofits

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced 10 winners for the first phase of the Envelope Retrofit Opportunities for Building Optimization Technologies (E-ROBOT) Prize, a $5 million competition focused on fast-tracking advanced robotics solutions for building envelope retrofits. Each finalist will win a $200,000 prize and move on to Phase 2, where they will build a prototype of their solution and compete for part of the $2 million prize pool. Phase 2 teams will pitch their innovation and demonstrate their prototype at the conclusion of the competition.

Buildings account for 35% of CO2 emissions in the United States. The American-Made E-ROBOT Prize incentivizes the development of robotic innovations that can help the American workforce improve the efficiency of our buildings through faster, safer, and more accessible building-envelope retrofits.

“There are more than 125 million existing residential and commercial buildings across the country,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Secretary for EERE. “Current retrofit techniques are often disruptive to homeowners or occupants and pose potential health and safety hazards to workers. By pairing robotic experts with building scientists, the E-ROBOT Prize will help us discover holistic solutions that allow workers to safely reach more homes and businesses with minimal disruption, or even perform activities that were previously impossible, while helping create new jobs and generate energy savings opportunities.”

Combining advanced retrofit capabilities with collaborative robotics will improve the safety and productivity of the American buildings workforce, yielding new employment opportunities for workers in construction, skilled trades, and engineering professions.

From attics to crawl spaces and wall cavities to exterior facades, E-ROBOT Prize Phase 1 winners are transforming the existing building space with a sweeping portfolio of innovations that demonstrate the promise of advanced robotics for building envelope retrofits. Read a full description of each Phase 1 winner here.

E-Robot Prize Finalists

Apellix Techstyle Materials

Drone for Applying Multifunctional Control Layers

Jacksonville, Florida


Revolutionizing Robotic Retrofits

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Friendly Robots Company

The Mayfly and the Aardvark

Berkeley, California


Robotic Assisted Exterior Insulated Finish Systems

Westport, Connecticut

New York University


New York, New York

Northeastern University

Precise Air-Sealing Robot for Inaccessible Spaces (PARIS)

Boston, Massachusetts


Robotic System for Air Sealing and Insulating Attics

Berkeley, California


The R-STRIPE Deep Energy Retrofit System

Chester, Connecticut


Drone Thermography for Building Envelope Retrofit

Berkeley, California



Tucson, Arizona

wall-EIFS from Jonathan Bean on Vimeo.

Funded by the Building Technologies Office (BTO), the E-ROBOT Prize aligns with the Advanced Building Construction (ABC) Initiative, which is taking buildings in a new direction. By integrating high-performance, energy-efficient, low-carbon technologies into state-of-the-art construction methods, ABC is transforming the way buildings are designed, constructed, and renovated, putting the U.S. on the path to a carbon-free buildings sector by 2050. Innovations in robotic technologies will complement the existing workforce while creating new employment and business opportunities for Americans in construction, skilled trades, and engineering professions. Visit the American Made Challenges website for more information and official prize rules.

The American-Made Buildings Prize is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

EERE’s mission is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050, and ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.

Article courtesy of Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy


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