A multi-agency initiative will use up to $129.7 million over five years to create a regional research center that will develop new building efficiency technologies and work with local partners to implement the technologies in area buildings.
As part of the plan, an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) is centered around an Energy Innovation Hub focused on developing new technologies to improve the design of energy-efficient building systems. This Energy Innovation Hub, one of three proposed by the Administration and funded by Congress in the FY10 budget, will bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers, ideally working under one roof, to conduct research and work to solve priority technology challenges that span work from basic research to engineering development to commercialization readiness.
The E-RIC will work to disseminate new technologies into the local marketplace and share best practices with the private sector. It will be supported through agency investments in technology and business development, and will include support for workforce education and training.
"Through the Energy RIC, the SBA will help entrepreneurs and small business owners take the best research and commercialize it to grow the 'green building' industry into an economic powerhouse that will put people to work, save consumers money and help our environment," said U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills.
The E-RIC chosen under the funding opportunity will be based at a university, DOE national laboratory, nonprofit organization, or private firm, partnering closely with local or state government officials, and leveraging existing expertise of local architects, builders, and manufacturers. With this specialization, the regional economy could support other businesses that address the full production lifecycle for building technologies and thus create more jobs.
The Dept. of Energy is providing up to $22 million for this project in the first year, with up to $100 million over the next four years. To encourage regional cooperation, the Dept. of Commerce’s (DOC) Economic Development Administration will make available up to $3 million in Public Works and Economic Development funds and up to $2 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance funds for the winning Proposal. The DOC Manufacturing Extension Partnership will make available up to $500,000 for a one-year award, with the possibility of renewal for up to two additional years, to support the services of an existing DOC-funded MEP Center. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will make up to $300,000 in the first year, with three one-year options for renewal grants up to $300,000 per year, available to provide the services of an existing SBA-funded Small Business Development Center to the Regional Innovation Cluster.
The Funding Opportunity Announcement and more information can be found on the Energy Regional Innovation Cluster page.