ARPA-E Archived Funding Opportunities

DE-FOA-0001580: Request for Information (RFI) on Occupancy Sensors and Controls

ARPA-E seeks input from the sensor systems and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) communities regarding the development of next-generation occupancy sensors for use in building control systems that facilitate reduced HVAC energy use nationwide. ARPA-E’s interest also extends to the integration practices of these sensors into current building control systems, and the employment of real-world validation techniques to prove the functionality and cost of such new technologies. Consistent with the agency’s mission, ARPA-E is seeking clearly disruptive, novel technologies, early in the R&D cycle, and not integration strategies for existing technologies.

With enhanced occupancy sensors, building control systems can more effectivity optimize heating and cooling strategies to satisfy individual occupant comfort and reduce energy use and emissions. In order to have a significant impact, these sensors need to be extremely low cost, easily retrofitted into current buildings, and compatible with existing equipment. ARPA-E desires input from a broad range of disciplines and fields, including, but not limited to: sensor development; distributed sensing systems; automated buildings; HVAC control systems; control algorithm development; human factors; and others. This includes input from the end-users of such technologies in the HVAC space, such as HVAC system fabricators, building managers, energy utilities, and the like. ARPA-E is particularly interested in how next-generation occupancy sensing technologies will help to realize the promise of minimizing the energy used to heat and cool buildings – especially existing buildings - through more effective automation technologies informed by occupancy detection.

Please carefully review the REQUEST FOR INFORMATION GUIDELINES below, and note in particular: the information you provide will be used by ARPA-E solely for program planning, without attribution. THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ONLY. THIS NOTICE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT (FOA). NO FOA EXISTS AT THIS TIME. Respondents shall not include any information in their response to this RFI that might be considered proprietary or confidential.


Responses to this RFI should be submitted in PDF format to the email address by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on May 20th 2016. ARPA-E will not review or consider comments submitted by other means. Emails should conform to the following guidelines:

Please insert “Responses for RFI for FOA DE-FOA-0001580” in the subject line of your email, and include:

  • Your name;
  • Title;
  • Organization;
  • Type of organization (e.g. university, non-governmental organization, small business, large business, federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), government-owned/government-operated (GOGO), etc.); 
  • Email address, telephone number, and area of expertise in the body of your email
  • Responses to this RFI are limited to no more than 10 pages in length (12 point font size);
  • Responders are strongly encouraged to include preliminary results, data, and figures that describe their potential methodologies


  • RFI on Occupancy Sensors - 05.02.2016 - updated (Last Updated: 5/2/2016 03:33 PM ET)

Previous Versions

  • Request for Information (RFI) on Occupancy Sensors and Controls - 04.08.2016 (Last Updated: 4/8/2016 10:34 PM ET)

Contact Information

    Please submit your comments in PDF format by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on May 20, 2016. ARPA-E will accept responses to this RFI immediately.

Submission Deadlines

  • Concept Paper Submission Deadline: TBD
  • Full Application Submission Deadline: TBD