Frequently Asked Questions

Select a FOA to view questions and answers for the specific funding opportunity. Alternatively select "Non-FOA related items" to view system FAQ items.

Question 1: Are concept papers or full applications published?
Answer 1: Generally, EERE does not publish concept papers or full applications. EERE may publish the “Summary for Public Release” that accompanies full applications. EERE may publish or release additional information, as required by law or as appropriate. To safeguard your trade secret, privileged, and confidential information, we strongly encourage you to comply with the marking requirements of Section IX of the funding opportunity announcement.
Question 2: Where Can I find a a Guide to Submitting Concept Paper and Full Applications?
Answer 2:

Click Here for the Guide to Submitting Concept Papers and Full Applications.

Question 3: How do I know if I was successful in uploading my concept paper or full application?
Answer 3: All applicants will receive an automated response when their concept paper or full application is successfully uploaded. This automated response serves as a confirmation of receipt by EERE. Please retain this automated response for your records.
Question 4: How do I submit a concept paper or full application?
Answer 4: All applicants are required to submit their concept papers and full applications through EERE's eXCHANGE system. On EERE's website, click "Apply" next to the funding opportunity to which you wish to apply. Click "login," and follow the instructions for the submission of concept papers and full applications.
Question 5: How long does it take to upload a concept paper or full application?
Answer 5: The time required to upload a concept paper or full application will vary, depending on the applicant’s internet connection, internet and data server traffic, and other factors. EERE strongly recommends that applicants upload their concept paper or full application at least 5 hours before the final deadline. EERE encourages applicants to submit their concept papers and full applications as soon as possible. Applicants should not wait until the last day or the last hour before the deadline to submit their concept paper or full application. Internet and data server traffic can be heavy on the ultimate due dates, and especially in the last several hours. Applicants should allow sufficient time to resolve any technical difficulties or seek assistance from EERE with uploading their application (EERE-ExchangeSupport@hq.doe.gov).
Question 6: I did not submit a concept paper prior to the deadline. Can I still submit a Full Application?
Answer 6: Parties who failed to submit a timely and responsive Concept Paper during the Concept Paper phase of the funding opportunity are not allowed to submit Full Applications. EERE will not accept or consider such Full Applications.
Question 7: If a team includes a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), are the costs incurred by the FFRDC included in the team’s share of total project costs?
Answer 7: No. The value of a FFRDC’s contributions typically are considered to be part of the government’s share of the total project costs, rather than part of the recipient’s cost share.
Question 8: If I am to upload an SF-424A for each budget year and one for the total, with the same level of detail for all subawardees with an award value of greater than $100,000, how can I upload this information when I am only able to upload one file to the portal?
Answer 8: Create a separate tab for each year and total within the SF-424A Excel file, and upload this one file to the eXCHANGE system.
Question 9: If I have questions relating to the submission of concept papers and full applications through EERE's eXCHANGE system, who do I contact?
Answer 9: For questions relating to the submission of concept papers and full applications through EERE's eXCHANGE portal, please contact us at EERE-ExchangeSupport@hq.doe.gov. 
Question 10: Is there a way I can respond to comments received on our Concept Paper?
Answer 10: At present, EERE does not accept or consider responses to reviewer comments on Concept Papers. Please note that EERE considers reviewer comments within the context of the merit review process, but reviewer comments are not determinative of EERE's selection of Concept Papers or Full Applications.
Question 11: Is there someone at EERE I can talk to about my concept paper or full application?
Answer 11: No. Once EERE publishes its funding opportunity, EERE staff may not answer questions relating to the funding opportunity. All questions must be directed to the applicable FOA email address.
Question 12: May an applicant submit two proposals that are interrelated?
Answer 12: Yes. However, applicants should understand that the proposals will be evaluated independently of one another.
Question 12: Can devices utilizing ocean water for energy conversion be included?
Answer 12: Please see the Q&A log of the FOA in Exchange at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/FAQ.aspx?FoaId=b90bb713-09f9-48d4-ae03-37263f4b0c5a and reference question #9.
Question 13: Our Concept Paper was discouraged, can we still submit a Full Application?
Answer 13: Applicants that are discouraged during the Concept Paper phase may submit a Full Application, which will be evaluated through a merit review process. The purpose of the Concept Paper phase is to save applicants the time and expense of preparing a Full Application for technologies that are unlikely to be selected for award. Should you decide to submit a Full Application, please be aware that your Full Application is unlikely to be selected for award.
Question 14: What wage rates should be used in the proposal?
Answer 14: Generally, salaries should be in line with industry standards. However, "wage rates" for laborers and mechanics performing construction, alteration and repair work must comply with the requirements set forth in Davis-Bacon Act. Please contact us at the applicable FOA email address if you have any questions relating to the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act.
Question 15: Please advise on how we submit our application through the EERE Exchange as this is not a familiar process.
Answer 15:

All application submissions are to be made via the EERE eXCHANGE at http://eere.energy.gov/financing/exchange.  To gain access to the EERE eXCHANGE, the applicant must first register and create an account on the main EERE eXCHANGE site. This account will then allow the user to register for any open EERE FOAs that are currently in eXCHANGE. It is recommended that each organization or business unit, whether acting as a team or a single entity, utilize one account as the appropriate contact information for each submission.

The applicant will receive an automated response when the preliminary or full application is received; this will serve as a confirmation of EERE receipt – please do not reply to the automated response. The applicant will have the opportunity to re-submit a revised preliminary or full application for any reason as long as the relevant submission is submitted by the specified deadline. A “User Guide” for the EERE eXCHANGE can be found on the EERE website http://eere.energy.gov/financing/exchange/Manuals.aspx after logging into the system.

Questions related to use of the EERE eXCHANGE website should be submitted to:  EERE-ExchangeSupport@hq.doe.gov.

Questions related to the Funding Opportunity Announcement should be submitted to  the applicable FOA email address and should be submitted not later than 3 calendar days prior to the preliminary application or full application due date.  Questions submitted after that date may not allow the Government sufficient time to respond.  Answers to questions will be posted on the Exchange website under this FOA.  Applicants are encouraged to review the posted questions and answers daily.

Question 16: I've tried 6 times to fill out your funding page Titled General after logging in and get this error message every time. Please let me know whats going wrong and help me correct this problem so I may complete your application for funding.
Answer 16:

Please submit questions related to the use of the EERE eXCHANGE website to: EERE-ExchangeSupport@hq.doe.gov

Question 17: Does the terminology “the maximum amount for the individual award” mean the value of the DOE cost share that may be provided apart from the recipient cost share proposed? That is, can the total proposed project value be up to a DOE cost share up to $2.5M per year plus the appropriate recipient cost share (20% for Phase 1 and 50% for Phase 2)?
Answer 17: The term 'maximum amount for the individual award' only refers to the cost share contributed by the Department of Energy.
Question 18: Will we be accepting email submissions of LOIs if the Exchange website is having technical problems? Will we require some evidence that they have contacted Exchange support?
Answer 18: All Letters of Intent must be submitted using the eXCHANGE system.  In the event that an applicant encounters an error submitting a Letter of Intent to the eXCHANGE system, such as the one described, and they are unable to successfully complete their submission prior to the closing, the applicant should immediately submit their application via e-mail to the FOA mailbox.  Along with the required submission documents, the applicant should provide a detailed description of the error encountered, including screen shots showing the error, as appropriate.  DOE will evaluate acceptance of the application on a case-by-case basis.
Question 19: Is an electronic signature acceptable for documents?
Answer 19: The documents, that require a signature, must be signed by an Authorized Representative of the organization.
Question 20: Since some of our partners do not lobby, should the SF LLL be submitted or not?
Answer 20: If any funds other than Federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with the grant/cooperative agreement, the organization must complete and submit Standard Form - LLL, "Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying.”
Question 21: For an industry/university led proposal, is there restrictions on how much can National Lab get?
Answer 21:

There can be only one lead (prime Applicant). The FOA does not specify any percentage limitation for budget and/or work distribution among the team members that are eligible applicants.  It is the Prime's responsibility to determine proper distribution of work and budget and justify it.

Question 22: Are industry participants allowed to use DOD labs (vs. DOE FFRDC’s) as subcontractors under this solicitation? If so, will the DOD lab receive their funding directly from DOE, as is the case with DOE FFRDCs?
Answer 22:

While the eligibility language does not explicitly list Laboratories of Federal agencies other than DOE as eligible entities, DOE's intent is to have the funding opportunity announcement open to all types of entities, including other Federal agency Laboratories. While non-DOE Laboratories are not excluded from eligibility, the Laboratory must establish that it is authorized to carry out the activities under the proposed project and accept funds from another agency. If a non-DOE Laboratory applies as a lead applicant, the Federal agency sponsoring the Laboratory must authorize in writing the use of the Laboratory on the proposed project and this authorization must be submitted with the application.  The following wording is acceptable for this authorization: “Authorization is granted for the _____________ Laboratory to participate in the proposed project.  The work proposed for the laboratory is consistent with or complementary to the missions of the laboratory and will not adversely impact execution of the DOE assigned programs at the laboratory. THIS LABORATORY IS AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM THE WORK PROPOSED IN THE APPLICATION SUBMITTED UNDER DOE FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT # DE-FOA-0000560 BY THE FOLLOWING STATUTORY AUTHORITY [insert Statute name, citation, and section]____________.”  DOE reserves the right to contact the applicant to further clarify whether the applicant has the necessary authority.

DOE will fund the Laboratory through an interagency agreement with the agency.

 

Question 23: I am working on the SF-424 application and cannot seem to find the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for this announcement. Can you please let me know what the number is?
Answer 23:

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number for this announcement is: 81.087

Question 24: Should the required summary slide be captured and uploaded in portrait format or in landscape?
Answer 24:

The summary slide should be captured and uploaded in landscape format.

Question 25: Last year, when we submitted a concept paper to DOE, during the upload, we were suddenly asked to provide detail funding information. We had anticipated that for an invited proposal, but not for the concept paper stage. We complied as best we could. Should that happen again, what procedure should we follow since we are not prepared to submit funding information at this time?
Answer 25:

To DOE, any numbers provided at the concept paper stage are estimates and may not be as accurate as those provided in the full application. Therefore, applicants should provide the amount of information available at the time of submission.

Question 26: Could you please tell me if the title in the concept paper can be slightly different (may be removing 1 or 2 words) than the title in the LOI? Please note that the PI and topic area remains the same.
Answer 26:

Yes, changes to the title are allowed.

Question 27: Is the reference section included in the 3-page limit?
Answer 27:

References are not required for at the concept paper stage.  If references are included in the concept paper submission, then they would be included in the three page limit.

Question 28: Will the concept paper reviews (and documents) be internal to DOE only, or will they be made public?
Answer 28:

The concept paper review is internal to DOE but is subject to the same Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests as all other DOE activities.  In the event of a FOIA request the applicant will be contacted and allowed to redact sensitive information.

Question 29: Full application due by 5-28-13 The web site describes what must be included in the full application but I don’t see similar instructions for the letter of intent. Could you explain further? What feedback will be given to submitter of a the letter of intent? DOE’s likely interest? A list of competing letters of intent?
Answer 29: The instructions for the Letters of Intent are included in the FOA. The purpose of the letters of intent is to allow DOE to gauge the response to the FOA and allow better review (of the concept paper and full application) planning.  The Letter of intent is not reviewed and no feedback from DOE will be provided.  However, a Letter of Intent must be submitted in order to submit a Concept Paper or Full Application.
Question 30: Will you please let me know when the DOE will provide notice of whether the applicant is encouraged or discouraged to submit a full application for DE-FOA-0000823.
Answer 30: At this time, DOE plans to notify applicants about concept papers within the week of April 22nd
Question 31: We missed the deadline to submit our concept paper, due to our local internet problem. We are wondering whether there is a way to make up.
Answer 31:

Unfortunately, we are not able to accept late concept paper submissions.

Question 32: I just submitted a concept paper for DE-FOA-0000823: Building Technologies Innovations Program. For Appendix D, Summary Slide, I only uploaded the pdf version of the slide. Should I have uploaded the powerpoint version instead? If so, please advise how I can do so now.
Answer 32: The PDF format of the Summary Slide is what was required
Question 33: Are you aware of any upcoming similar opportunities for a building technology that can result in large energy savings in the HVAC and reduced CO2 emissions?
Answer 33:

To find other funding opportunities you may be interested in applying for, please go to http://www.grants.gov.

Question 34: I have reviewed the Frequently Asked Questions page and note that readers are confused about the cost share aspects of the program. I gather that I am not alone in not completely understanding the FOA or Answer 2. I would appreciate it if you could try again with a further clarification of the FOA by responding to the following question: If the prime recipient of an award is a for-profit small business, and the prime recipient identifies sub-recipients which are Federal DOE labs, DOD labs, and/or non-profit Academic Universities, do the amounts of the award budgeted to the foregoing non-profit sub-recipients get deducted from the amount of the total award which will require the 20% cost share?
Answer 34:

It may be best to provide some examples:

 

Example 1:

When the Prime is a For-Profit and will be responsible for 40% of the project, and all subs are entities where the cost share is waived, then the Prime is responsible for cost sharing 20% of the 40% portion of the project that they are responsible for. 

 

Example 2:

When the Prime is a For-Profit (responsible of 50% of the project), one sub is a For-Profit (responsible for 30% of project), and a third sub is a university (responsible for 20% of project), then the cost required cost share would be as follows:

For-profit Prime 50% x 20%

For-profit Sub     30% x 20%

University Sub     20% x 0%

 

Question 35: There seems to be some ambiguity in the language of: 2. TOPIC 2: INNOVATIVE SENSORS & SENSOR SYSTEMS, under Topic 2 Successful Applicant Description. The instructions state that applicants "will develop open‐source hardware sensing solutions for buildings in one of three sub‐topic areas," but then state, "The solution should comprise the following components," implying we are to use all three. Should applicants focus on a single sub-topic area, or can we combine more than one in our concept proposal?"
Answer 35:

Applicants can either focus on a single sub-topic area, or combine more than one sub-topic area.

Question 36: "Would the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)’s in-kind work or cash funds could be recognized as cost share under the BENEFIT FOA? BPA is an independent Federal entity within the Department of Energy whose operations are funded by ratepayers, rather than taxpayers."
Answer 36: Yes, the cost share would be allowed since it is not derived from Federal funds.
Question 37: The FOA gives target energy savings numbers, (e.g. 250 TBtu) in several places. But, they don’t give a timeframe over which that number is to be calculated. The 250TBtu is too high for an annual number, but is it cumulative from 2015-2030? 2020-2030? What is the timeframe? Q: Over what time frame is the technical potential energy savings to be calculated? Also, the FOA does not prescribe any methods for estimating the technical potential. Q: Is there any required or preferred methods that must be followed for estimating the technical potential?
Answer 37: The target primary energy savings technical potential of 0.25 Quads is an annual number, effective in the year 2030.  FOA Appendix F describes an approach for calculating the primary energy savings technical potential.
Question 38: Is the FOA-1027 limited to small and medium commercial and residential buildings?
Answer 38: There is no restriction on the size or type of building specified in this FOA as pertains to topics 1, 2 and 4.  The question is not pertinent to Topic 3.
Question 39: We currently have a new technology that can leapfrog the other competitors on passive solar control film in terms of installed cost premium ($/ft2). According to our internal payback calculations, we believe that we can do better than the payback period stated in FOA for hot climate regions (e.g. southern region of U.S.) as well as meeting the visible transmission criteria. I understand that heating is a major factor in power consumption, but depending on the region cooling can also be a significant factor. Would this be something this FOA will be interested in?
Answer 39: The purpose of the BENEFIT FOA is to reduce primary energy consumption in US residential and commercial buildings, which includes reducing the energy required for either heating, cooling, or both.