Pittsburgh Green Building Alliance Gives 3 Grants

The Green Building Alliance in Pittsburgh has announced the second round of recipients for product innovation grants. The three are a partnership of Energy Wall L.L.C. and Pennsylvania State University, Drexel University, and Temple University. Aurora Sharrard, GBA’s research manager told CPN, “For the first round of grants that we awarded in December of 2007, we gave away $448,000 to a total of seven recipients. But this round was more competitive than the first. It is a peer review process, so to get through to the end is really an achievement.” The three received a total of $140,000.The Green Building Alliance–GBA–is a 15-year-old non-profit organization that works in Western Pennsylvania to foster green practices and products. According to a study and estimates done by the GBA, the green building product market will be worth $30 to $40 billion a year by 2010. The full grant of $100,000 was awarded to Energy Wall and Pennsylvania State for the project they have completed developing a passive heat and moisture membrane that allows fresh air into a building while reducing the use of energy. The money will help them to commercialize the technology and bring it into the marketplace. A proof-of-concept grant of $20,000 was given to Drexel University for their project recreating an already commercial use of flexible walls and floors, and making it accessible and sustainable for residential home owners. In other words, explained Sharrard, “you want to make your dining room bigger for Thanksgiving family dinners–so you could have a small home, with more flexible space, using this product.” Another $20,000 proof-of-concept grant went to Temple University for a responsive daylight panel that has phase-change material in it, so that windows grow lighter or darker depending on the light, while maintaining the thermal benefits of a traditional window. Rashida Ng, Assistant Professor at Temple University Architecture Department told CPN, “Sneha Patel and I are extremely pleased to have received the product innovation grant from the Green Building Alliance. Currently the most promising research on phase-change material within building applications is being done in Europe and Asia; this type of funding stimulates research in emerging material technologies within the United States.”The funding for the grants is from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority; The Heinz Endowments, and the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The next round of grants will be announced in December. The request for proposals just was released, and submissions are due on September 12th.