GFO-20-305 – The Next EPIC Challenge: Reimagining Affordable Mixed-Use Development in a Carbon-Constrained Future

Departmental Grant ID:
Portal ID:
Closed (43 total applications submitted)
Opportunity Type:
  • Grant
Last Updated:



The purpose of this solicitation is to fund a design-build competition that will challenge multi-disciplinary project teams to design and build a mixed-use development – using cutting-edge energy technologies, tools and construction practices - that is affordable, equitable, emissions-free and resilient to climate change impacts and extreme weather events.


Climate change and housing affordability present two of the most significant challenges facing California. The deadly and destructive fires of the past few years, as well as findings from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, have highlighted the dire impacts expected from climate change on California if greenhouse gas emissions are not dramatically reduced. To avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, California has set aggressive policy goals to decarbonize its energy sector by 2045. Building decarbonization – primarily achieved through energy efficiency, onsite renewable generation and storage, and full end-use electrification – is a key strategy for realizing the state’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A number of California’s local governments are already pursuing ordinances that would require all new and existing buildings to be zero-emission by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

Through its research and development investments, the CEC has supported the development of a number of promising technologies that can help support the feasibility of a zero-emission mixed-use development. Many of the technologies have benefits beyond their energy and emission savings that can help facilitate their market adoption. For example, advancements in solid-state lighting and heat exchangers are enabling lighting and HVAC products in novel new form factors; potentially opening a new set of design options for architects to increase the aesthetic appeal and functionality of buildings. In addition, market actors and stakeholders are pursuing promising innovations in architecture, planning, policy, technology, construction, and financing. To address both greenhouse gas emissions and rising housing costs, technology and non-technology innovations across these sectors will need to come together into new models capable of disrupting the housing sector so that all Californians have access to safe, healthy, affordable, and desirable living environments.

This solicitation will be conducted as a two-phase design-build competition. The CEC may consider adding a third-phase grand prize challenge that will be awarded to the best of the four Build Phase projects to scale their design across the state. There is currently up to $12,000,000 available for the Design Phase portion of this solicitation. There is an additional $36,000,000 in funding available for the Build Phase of this competition contingent upon approval of the CEC’s 2021-2025 EPIC Investment Plan. This would result in a total of up to $48,000,000 planned for grants awarded under this solicitation.




Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Applicants:

  • Business
  • Nonprofit
  • Public Agency
  • Tribal Government

The Concept Application of this solicitation is open to all public and private entities with the exception of local publicly owned electric utilities.   The Design Phase of this solicitation is only open to Applicants who passed the screening criteria shown in Section IV.E from Concept Application Phase. The Build Phase of this solicitation is only open to awarded Recipients from the Design Phase.

Eligible Geographies:

At least 25% of available Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) technology demonstration and deployment funding must be allocated to project sites located in, and benefiting, disadvantaged communities; and an additional minimum 10% of funds must be allocated to projects sites located in and benefiting low-income communities.

Matching Funding Requirement:

Match funding is not required for this solicitation.  However, applications that include match funding will receive additional points based on the proposed total match (cash + in kind) contributions relative to the total amount of EPIC funds requested during the scoring phase.

Important Dates

The date (and time, where applicable) by which all applications must be submitted to the grantmaker. Time listed as “00:00” equates to midnight.
The date on which the grantor expects to announce the recipient(s) of the grant.
Week: August 9, 2021
The length of time during which the grant money must be utilized.
Until funds expire 

Funding Details

The total projected dollar amount of the grant.
A single grant opportunity may represent one or many awards. Some grantors may know in advance the exact number of awards to be given. Others may indicate a range. Some may wish to and wait until the application period closes before determining how many awards to offer; in this case, a value of “Dependent” will display.
Grant opportunities representing multiple awards may offer awards in the same amount or in varied amounts. Some may wish to wait until the application period closes before determining per-award amounts; in this case, a value of “Dependent” will display.
Certain grants require that the recipient(s) provide a letter of intent.
Certain grants require that the recipient(s) be able to fully or partially match the grant award amount with another funding source.
The funding source allocated to fund the grant. It may be either State or Federal (or a combination of both), and be tied to a specific piece of legislation, a proposition, or a bond number.
  • State

Funding Source Notes:

This solicitation will award projects funded by the EPIC, an electricity ratepayer surcharge established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in December 2011.

The manner in which the grant funding will be delivered to the awardee. Funding methods include reimbursements (where the recipient spends out-of-pocket and is reimbursed by the grantor) and advances (where the recipient spends received grant funds directly).
  • Reimbursement(s)

Funding Method Notes:

Funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis (where the Recipient pays out-of-pocket and is reimbursed by the grantor).

How to Apply

State agencies/departments recommend you read the full grant guidelines before applying.


For questions about this grant, contact:
Phil Dyer, 1-916-891-8474,