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Low-cost, High-R Insulation


b.      Low-cost, High-R Insulation

This subtopic solicits proposals for development of low-cost, high-R factor insulation (targeting under $0.05/inch*R and no greater than $1/square foot per inch) using readily available and scalable manufacturing processes.


Proposed solutions should be compatible with existing tooling at the construction site or incorporate a substantial change in installation method that yields lower overall cost, labor effort, and installation time.

High R-value per inch insulation materials that could reduce the cost and complexity of envelope retrofits could make façade retrofits of existing buildings much more feasible and accessible. For more information, applicants should read BTO’s DRAFT: Research and Development Opportunities Report for Opaque Building Envelopes report [1].


Proposals for sustainable insulation material innovations must meet the cost target and have an R-value/inch of 8 or greater are of interest. Potential areas of for research and development include, but are not limited to, the following:

·         Development of durable aerogel insulation using continuous, high-throughput production methods (e.g., in bead form, 3D printing, etc.) at atmospheric processing conditions and in practical building insulation form factors. Aerogels often are very brittle, use very expensive material feedstocks, and utilize complex and expensive manufacturing processes. DOE seeks innovations that result in significant cost reductions of 3-5 times compared to current aerogel costs.

·         Development of durable, ultralow-cost vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) using high-throughput production methods. VIPs are often regarded as one of the most promising state-of-the-art building insulation solutions given their potential to achieve ultra-low thermal conductivities. While commercially available, VIPs are very expensive, relegating them to niche applications. To make VIPs truly affordable for the building sector, costs need to be cut by a factor of >3-5 times current VIP cost. Dialing back the thermal performance (e.g., to whole panel thermal resistance of R10-15/inch), for instance, could offer extra degrees of freedom on the material, barrier film, vacuum creation, and processing side to enable new cost curves and deliver truly low-cost VIPs.

·         Development of novel form insulation (spray foam and rigid foam board) that offer improved insulation values at comparable costs.


Questions – Contact: Sven Mumme,

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