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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA awards $300,000 green technology contract to Oakland, Calif., small business

Contact Information: 
Michele Huitric (Huitric.michele@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $295,507 to Lucid Design Group, Inc., located in Oakland, to develop innovative technology to protect the environment. A total of about $2.4 million was awarded to eight small businesses nationwide; Lucid is the sole recipient in California.

Through this project, Lucid is focused on reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings by influencing people's behavior. With this award, it will further develop, test and commercialize low-cost high-tech approaches that can reduce electricity use in commercial buildings by providing real-time feedback to office workers. The technology seeks to reduce peak electricity demand and associated utility bill costs through ambient color-based visual messaging; balancing energy usage and occupant comfort.

"Lucid's project is a great example of how technology can be used to help protect the environment," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "Giving office workers immediate feedback on their energy use can help them to change their habits for the better."

Funded through EPA's Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR), the contracts provide companies up to $300,000 to further develop and commercialize their products and ideas. These phase II awards are only available to companies that previously submitted research proposals for their innovative technologies and were awarded phase I contracts of up to $100,000.

Lucid got its start as a competing team from Oberlin College in EPA's People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) grant competition. In 2005, the team won a P3 grant for their prototype, the Building Dashboard. This online tool tracks in real-time how much energy and water is being used in a building and provides visual insights that can influence occupants to change their habits. In 2014, Lucid received an SBIR phase I contract for their proposal to develop a software system to encourage behavior-based energy conservation in commercial buildings.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, which was enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs and promote U.S. technical innovation. To be eligible to participate in the SBIR program, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees.

For more information on EPA's SBIR Phase II recipients, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/615/records_per_page/ALL

Learn more about EPA's SBIR program at www.epa.gov/sbir