CHICAGO — At the third annual Clean Energy Challenge in Chicago April 4, the Chicago Lakeside Development, a joint venture of McCaffery Interests and U.S. Steel Corporation, presented early-stage startup SmarterShade with the Lakeside Award for clean-tech innovation and commercialization. The award is a $50,000 grant that can be used to enable further research, application and execution of SmarterShade’s go-to-market strategy.
Bend, Ind.-based SmarterShade developed a patented film-based daylight management platform that enables any window to go from clear to dark with the touch of a button for light, heat and privacy control. It can be applied as both a retrofit or new construction solution and results in energy-efficiency gains of up to 40 percent.
“Windows have traditionally been the weakest link to the building envelope in terms of energy efficiency,” said SmarterShade CEO Mike Stacey in a statement. “Traditional window treatments re-radiate heat into a room and have little to no impact on solar heat gain.”
Stacey also said that, according to the Department of Energy, ‘Smartglass’ or dynamic glazing solutions can save as much as $10 million annually on heating, cooling and lighting costs.
SmarterShade was one of 17 finalist teams to gather in Chicago at the Clean Energy Challenge. Each team presented their ideas to a panel of venture capitalists, energy executives and technology experts for funding opportunities. Previous challenge finalists have raised more than $30 million in funding, hired several employees and launched clean-tech pilot projects across the Midwest.
The challenge was hosted by the Clean Energy Trust, a Chicago-based public-private partnership formed to increase the development of Midwest clean energy businesses by encouraging networking between entrepreneurs, researchers and early-stage companies working toward sustainability. The Clean Energy Trust awarded a total of $300,000 in cash awards to student-led and early-stage startup companies to fund further research.
“The challenge is designed to uncover the very best in clean energy technology startups and kick start their development,” said Amy Francetic, executive director of Clean Energy Trust. “These prizes will help these entrepreneurs to move their technologies out of the laboratory and into the marketplace, helping the nation to continue to grow its burgeoning clean energy economy.”