Building Envelope Call for Innovation

Novel Building Envelope Design for Increased Thermal Performance


In 2014, more than 40% of US primary energy and 70% of electricity was consumed in residential and commercial buildings, resulting in annual energy costs of more than $430 billion. The envelope of the building, which refers to the external walls, windows, roof, and floor of a building, is the thermal barrier between the indoor and outdoor environment and one of the primary determinants of energy use to maintain indoor comfort. In fact, approximately 35% of this consumption, equating to almost 15% of overall primary energy usage, is used to maintain a comfortable indoor environment, and thus directly related to the performance of the building envelope.

The building industry strives to produce cost-effective and eco-friendly technologies that improve the performance of building envelopes, while also considering the overall building health. It is crucial that innovative techniques and materials be developed that: reduce the amount of energy lost through the building envelope, contribute to improved occupant comfort, and have low product and installation costs. Such energy, comfort and cost considerations will best enable contractors and builders to provide customers with high-performing, sustainable buildings.

The Challenge

The challenge is to develop a new material or an installation method that uses readily available products to improve the thermal performance and air tightness of a wall assembly, without compromising the durability of the wall assembly. Innovative ideas on the designs of a wall assembly or the materials are welcomed. Examples of innovative materials include but are not limited to: phase change materials, vapor open materials, and integrating materials into wood sheathing / studs to increase their R-value. Examples of innovative wall assemblies could potentially provide thinner profile with higher R-value components, easier insulation installation methods with lower thermal bridging effects, among others.

The solution should comply with the following design criteria:

  • Focuses on new construction for residential applications;
  • Minimum U-Value (inverse of R-Value) equivalent to the residential requirements of IECC 2015;
  • Materials and/or methods should reduce the likelihood of improper installation and thermal bridging impact;
  • Cost effective materials and designs meeting a simple payback calculation of under 10 years; and
  • Materials should be non-toxic and eco-friendly.

This JUMP Call for Innovation requires only a written proposal. Review and consideration of ideas does not require submitters to provide ideas with documented Intellectual Property (IP). If you are concerned about protecting the potential of your IP, Select the "On" option under "Only Allow Moderators and Admins to see my idea" on the "Submit Your Idea "page. This will not permit the JUMP community to comment, discuss, or vote on your idea.

The Award

Cash award of $5,000; will be sponsored by an Industry Leader in the Envelope Space for the top selected technology submission. The idea submitter will also be invited to discuss future collaboration with the Industry Partner and ORNL technical experts.
Depending on the needs identified ORNL may provide in-kind technical support of $10,000 - $20,000 to enable ORNL staff to provide prototype development, testing, 3rd party validation, or other defined needs.
Additionally, Successful JUMP participants looking for funding and incubation support may be invited to participate in the Clean Tech Open Accelerator Program based on technical and market merit.

Idea Submission Deadline
Idea Submission Period Ends: Sunday June 11th, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST