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Questions and Answers
What is the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing
What are PATH'S goals?
What does that mean in "real-life" terms?
Briefly, how is PATH going to achieve those objectives?
Who are PATH's Partners?
How is PATH managed?
What commitment do PATH Partners make to each other?
How are the Federal Partners contributing to the PATH effort?
Why is PATH necessary? Can't private industry "advance technology"
on its own?
How did PATH originate?
How can one learn more about PATH?
||What is the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing?|
||The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing is a public/private initiative which seeks to speed the creation and widespread use of advanced technologies in order to radically improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance and affordability of our Nation's housing. |
PATH is a voluntary partnership in which leaders of the home building, product manufacturing, insurance and financial industries join forces with representatives of federal agencies concerned with housing. By working together, PATH partners improve the quality and affordability of today's new and existing homes; strengthen the technology infrastructure of the United States and help create the next generation of American housing.
The PATH program spurs housing industry design and construction change by providing the latest information on innovative building materials, processes and systems; showcasing innovative housing projects that can serve as models for builders and homeowners across the country; promoting focused, cooperative housing research among industry, government and university partners; and tackling institutional barriers to innovation -- from risk and liability concerns to the lack of effective product evaluation systems.
||What are PATH'S goals?|
||During the next decade the partnership will encourage the development of innovative housing components, designs and production methods and reduce by 50 percent the time needed to move quality technologies to market. These technologies will make it possible to produce housing that is affordable and attractive. At the same time, these new technologies will by 2010: |
reduce the monthly cost of new housing by 20 percent or more;
cut the environmental impact and energy use of new housing by 50 percent or more and reduce energy use in at least 15 million existing homes by 30 percent or more;
improve durability and reduce maintenance costs by 50 percent; and
reduce by at least 10 percent the risk of loss of life, injury and property destruction from natural hazards and decrease by at least 20 percent work-related illnesses and injuries in residential construction.
||What does that mean in "real-life" terms?|
||PATH will change the way Americans live. Expected results from the PATH effort are increased housing affordability; increased durability; lower construction costs; improved energy efficiency; fewer construction injuries; less disaster losses; and accelerated development and increased market acceptance of new housing technologies. The technology development and utilization process, itself, will also insure that the American housing and construction industry will be a dynamic economic force far into the 21st Century. |
It will also mean more money in the pockets of the average American homeowner. For instance, the average American household spends $940 a year on home maintenance and repairs and improvements. A 50 percent savings in residential maintenance costs means $470 a year more in the homeowner's pocket or $39 more a month.
In addition, the average new house energy bill is $1,500 a year. A 50 percent cut in the average new house energy bill reduces that annual cost to $750. Monthly savings for the home owner will be $62.50. Approximately 200,000 new homes are built each year. Multiplying the $750 savings per home by 200,000 results in $150 million dollars saved in energy costs each year.
A 30 percent cut of the average $1,500 energy bill of 15 million existing homes will save the consumer/homeowner approximately $450 a year or $14,000 during the life of a 30 year mortgage. Monthly savings for those home owners will be $37.50. The total annual energy savings in dollars for 15 million existing homes ($450 X 15 million) is $6,750 billion a year savings.
By the year 2010, PATH technologies will save consumers $18 billion a year in energy costs and reduce annual carbon emissions by 39 million tons, equivalent to the amount produced each year by more than 30 million cars.
||Briefly, how is PATH going to achieve those objectives?|
||PATH offers technical assistance to individual builders and remodelers who are willing to evaluate specific promising innovative technologies in their housing. Manufacturers participating in the PATH initiative can ask for feedback on changes needed to improve their products' ability to meet PATH goals. |
PATH promotes the general use of new housing technologies through pilot projects and demonstration programs with builders across the country. Currently it is working with builders and city officials in Denver, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Tucson interested in incorporating appropriate technologies in local housing developments and it is looking for additional sites.
PATH's website (www.pathnet.org) serves as an Internet gateway to the latest housing information -- offering links to housing industry technical resources; descriptions of federal housing programs; and news of housing technology advances made by private and public sector partners. With the NAHB Research Center toolbase Online, PATH also offers in-depth descriptions of more than 132 innovative materials, products and systems considered to have less than five percent of their potential market share. PATH also promotes and spotlights with toolbase case histories of field applications of new housing technologies.
PATH tackles institutional barriers to the acceptance of innovation such as liability concerns, the lack of a clear national system for the evaluation of new products and systems, the prescriptive nature of codes and local code approvals, regulatory confusion, inadequate training, and risk aversion. With experts, PATH develops strategies for overcoming these roadblocks to progress.
PATH promotes focused, cooperative housing research among industry, government and university and national laboratory partners. The partnership promotes commercializing federal research and development.
||Who are PATH's Partners?|
||The federal agencies in PATH include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Housing Finance Board, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Department of Housing and Urban Development administers the PATH secretariat.|
Private sector members of PATH include representatives of builders, remodelers and developers; housing manufacturers; product manufacturers; financial and insurance organizations; distributors and retailers; university and research laboratories; utilities and labor organizations.
PATH is a low-cost/high-leverage technology partnership. The government's primary role is to act as catalyst, facilitator, and "remover of barriers." The industry itself will develop and deploy the technologies for the next generation of American housing.
||How is PATH managed?|
||The PATH program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Day-to-day management of the program is provided by a Director and his/her staff. The Director reports to the Assistant Secretary for Housing/FHA Commissioner. Leadership of the overall policy direction for PATH is provided jointly by HUD and the Department of Energy, in cooperation with the PATH Interagency Council (PIC), composed of senior representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Housing Finance Board, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The PATH Director serves as executive secretariat to the PIC. The PIC meets quarterly. The purpose of the PIC is to provide federal policy guidance; to monitor progress of PATH projects, including individual agency contributions to PATH; and to identify targets of opportunity for principals.|
In addition to the PIC, a federal agency working group -- comprising representatives of all the federal agencies participating in PATH -- facilitates day-to-day coordination of federal activities pertaining to the program. The working group supports the PIC in developing policy guidance for PATH; identifies individual agency contributions to PATH; establishes federal agency technical assistance teams for specific PATH projects; and promotes PATH goals and initiatives within individual agencies. The federal agency working group meet monthly and functions as a task force of the Construction and Building Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council, under the overall direction of the PATH Director.
A PATH Coordinating Council (PCC) -- made up of representatives from the home building, product manufacturing, insurance and financial industries in cooperation with PATH's federal agency partners -- provides general guidance to PATH management. The PCC meets three times per year, with at least one of the meetings organized for and attended by senior principals from the participating organizations. The purpose of the PCC is to provide private sector input to PATH programs, to participate in PATH initiatives and to stimulate industry to address PATH goals.
In conformance with Congressional direction, PATH developed a full operational plan, including specific and measurable goals. A draft evaluation report is due to Congress in April, 1999.
||What commitment do PATH Partners make to each other?|
||PATH Partners agree to |
make a good faith effort to offer housing products that meet PATH goals in large markets by 2010;
participate in the joint management of partnership;
share non-proprietary information about the costs, benefits and other characteristics of building innovations with the partnership; and
work with appropriate federal and state agencies to develop and implement tests of innovative products and systems.
||How are the Federal Partners contributing to the PATH effort?|
||PATH's federal partners contribute toward all the goals. For instance, the Department of Energy's Building America Program and the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Homes Program play a key role in advancing a multiple of environmental and energy efficiency technologies. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also active in the identification of high-priority technologies as well as field demonstrations of the technologies. The Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology has expertise in advanced insulation measurement, residential fire safety research, advanced building materials as well as codes and standards issues. The Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory provides expertise in engineered wood issues. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Labor are interested in everything from the construction of tornado safe room shelters in homes to worker training. |
Federal partners detail special personnel to the PATH campaign who coordinate programs and work together with the private sector to develop, demonstrate and deploy advance technologies that will improve the quality and affordability of today's new and existing homes; strengthen the technology infrastructure of the United States and help create the next generation of American housing.
||Why is PATH necessary? Can't private industry "advance technology" on its own?|
||No, not by itself. Despite the importance of the housing industry, expenditures on residential technology research and development is relatively low as a percentage of sales compared to other industries and in comparison to other industrialized countries. |
Emerging technologies that could be useful to the housing industry are also all too often not readily accepted. This is because housing, unlike other major engines of the economy, is extremely dispersed consisting of hundreds of thousands of separate companies. To introduce a new technology into this marketplace, let alone achieve any significant market penetration, is a time consuming and costly process -- one which discourages most attempts at true innovation and slows down those that do get past the prototype stage. It can take 10 to 25 years for a new housing product or technique to achieve full market penetration.
PATH concentrates on gaps; those areas where technology -- as a result of regulatory barriers, lack of information, or inadequate technical support -- is failing to reach the marketplace. By helping industry close these gaps, and get next generation technology into the market faster, the PATH will have a significant impact on improving the quality and affordability of U.S. housing.
||How did PATH originate?|
||The residential building industry is one of the largest and most important sectors of the U.S. economy. In recognition of the role of housing in the U.S. economy, the White House in 1994 convened representatives from all segments of the nation's construction industry to consider a broad set of National Construction Goals. Over the next three years the residential segment of the construction industry -- represented by home builders, code officials, product manufacturers and other interested parties -- developed a research plan for implementing National Construction Goals for the housing sector. PATH is the outgrowth of those proposals. PATH was officially launched on May 4, 1998.|
||How can one learn more about PATH?|
||For more information, contact PATH at: |