The Green Building Alliance (GBA) in Pittsburgh, PA has announced a total of $240,000 in Product Innovation Grants for five Pennsylvania projects that seek to develop and introduce new and enhanced green building products. Founded 16 years ago, GBA is a non-profit organization that advances economic prosperity and human well being in western Pennsylvania by driving market demand and facilitating green building practices and products that have minimal impact on the natural environment.
These five most recent grants are represent the third round of Product Innovation Grants awarded since GBA initiated its Green Building Products Initiative in 2006; in total, 15 Pennsylvania recipients have received more than $800,000. Previous grants were awarded in December 2007 and June 2008. GBA’s fourth and final round of Product Innovation Grants will be disbursed in June 2009.
Awarded through a competitive selection process, GBA’s Product Innovation Grants expedite the commercialization of new and revised building products within the green building market. “Despite a down economy, the green building market represents a significant economic opportunity for Pennsylvania,” said Jeaneen Zappa, director of green business development at GBA. “With the eighth largest number of LEED(R) certified buildings in the U.S., Pittsburgh continues to be a green building thought and practice leader. For the past two years, our Product Innovation Grant projects have included collaborations between private sector companies and university teams all over Pennsylvania.”
In this third round of GBA Product Innovation Grants, the five out of 13 proposals selected to receive grants are:
- $100,000 for commercialization of plastic composites that use renewable and recycled raw materials and achieve greater thermal insulation and lower embodied energy (a project of Bedford Reinforced Plastics, Inc. and the University of Pittsburgh)
- $80,000 to develop an energy efficient air conditioning system that will employ a natural refrigerant with no global warming or ozone depletion impacts, thus consuming substantially less electricity than conventional systems (a project of Thar Technologies, Inc. and Carnegie Mellon University)
Three $20,000 Proof of Concept grants:
- Development of a Web portal resource for architects and engineers that will feature sustainability and performance measures for building facade materials and assemblies that optimize natural resource flows (a project of Carnegie Mellon University)
- Use of residual silt from water treatment as a growing medium for landscapes and green roofs (a project of GTECH Strategies)
- A wearable bio-sensing comfort controller that will measure a person’s comfort level and then maximize it by adjusting their immediate thermal environment (a project of Carnegie Mellon University)
Next Round Now Open
A Request for Proposals for the fourth and final round of Product Innovation Grants has now been released, with a deadline of April 3, 2009. Awards will be announced in June 2009. Submission information is on the GBA Web site.
Proposals are assessed based on the criteria of green building leadership, technical merit, commercialization plan viability, partnership resources, and potential market impact. Grant award decisions are made at the discretion of GBA on the recommendations of the Product Innovation Grant Review Committee, which is comprised of individuals with a variety of relevant experience, expertise, and backgrounds, including consultants, manufacturers, investors, economic development stakeholders, and academic researchers. Participation on the Review Committee is kept confidential.
The Product Innovation Grants are a component of GBA’s Green Building Products Initiative economic development program, which serves all of Pennsylvania. Funding for the Initiative is provided through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority; The Heinz Endowments; and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.