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PATH A Public-Private Partnership For Advancing Housing Technology
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Start of Main ContentPATH Technology Development with the National Association of Home Builders' Research Center

The NAHB Research Center is a major conduit for feedback from the private sector about PATH's activities. The Research Center is a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which has 200,000 members, including more than 50,000 who build greater than 80 percent of all U.S. homes. The Research Center has leveraged PATH resources with industrial funds to perform collaborative research projects, develop major dissemination tools, and increase general awareness of housing technologies among members of the housing industry. Research Center staff include scientists, engineers, economists, architects, and planners. Below are some of the projects that PATH and the NAHB Research Center have developed, broken down into three categories.

Alternatives to Wood
Advanced Residential Building Technology
Cooperative Research with Industry

Alternatives to Wood: Innovative Structural Materials and Design Research for Residential Construction

  • With funding from PATH, the NAHB Research Center provided thermal, acoustical, and fire testing information for light framed steel construction and continued to provide design information for light framed wood construction.

  • NAHB Research Center, with PATH funds, continued the following programs on thermal performance of steel framed homes and the efficient structural design of conventional homes, specifically focusing on connection requirements and wind-borne debris resistance. The energy use of steel framed houses was monitored for an extended period of time (up to 1 year), using nearly identical homes for a direct energy consumption comparison between wood and steel framed construction. Steel vs. Wood Cost and Short Term Energy Comparison, January 2001, is on HUD USER.

  • Continue researching engineering improvements to homes:

    • Coordinate the program's research activities and dissemination of findings to residential engineers and architects.

    • Evaluate connection requirements in conventional construction. Connection requirements are a key component of efficient conventional wood framed design. Little research has been conducted on design quality and performance needs with respect to building application and structural systems. Confusion exists with regard to both connection materials and construction methods. Recent code changes have made matters worse with little technical justification. Connections are also important to a home's performance against wind and seismic loads. See Economical ICF To Cold-Formed Steel Floor Connections, May 2001 on HUD USER.

    • Study the impact of wind-borne debris. Current wind debris test methods and missiles have been developed without sufficient scientific consideration of the primary sources (such as roof shingles) of actual debris in residential settings in hurricane prone areas. Selected test missiles (such as 2x4 studs propelled lengthwise) have not been correlated to the damage that occurs with a roof shingle impact.

  • Advance the practice of building with insulating concrete forms (ICFs).

    • Investigate the costs and attributes of ICFs (strength and risk) compared to traditional home building materials in high-wind and seismic conditions.

    • Develop efficient seismic wall construction provisions and lintel reinforcement details.

    • Update and expand the ICF prescriptive construction method.

  • Continue needed innovation in the design of conventional U.S. houses.

    • Enhance the dissemination of advanced design technology to the residential design community.

    • Develop technology to support an improved ground freezing depth map for efficient foundation design.

    • Investigate optimized design and construction strategies for site-built wood-framed shear walls.

    • Produce a simplified and efficient design load guide solely for use in residential building design.

Advanced Residential Building Technology

  • NAHB Research Center conducted Phase I and II of the Advanced Residential Building Engineering Design and Performance Assessment Program.

    • Conduct a housing performance assessment (pilot study) on product durability, homeowner maintenance, history of wind damage, occupant comfort/health, etc.

    • Publish the Whole Building residential design guide series advocating design of a home as a system of integrated components and inter related design objectives, such as durability relative to environmental factors.

    • Develop probability-based design principles for residential construction.

    • Advance an innovative concept for designing prefabricated, engineered shear walls for housing production to improve safety, affordability, and quality relative to high-wind and seismic performance.

    • Conduct cost and energy comparisons between two identical homes, one with steel framing and the other with wood framing, at each of three sites.

Cooperative Research with Industry

  • Develop the Marketable Affordable, Durable, Entry-Level Home (MADE) Demonstration Site with the participation of system suppliers, product manufacturers, and distributors.

  • Conduct a market analysis (develop a prioritized list of potential applications) of vacuum insulated panel (VIP) technology, a preliminary product analysis (including a preliminary assessment of VIPs' impact on energy savings, costs, ease of construction, and other criteria), and get feedback on candidate technologies from the building industry. Accelerate the adoption of VIP technology in home construction, renovation, and remodeling. Focus on prototype development and initiation of a Field Evaluation.

  • Working with the Wood Truss Council of America (WTCA), established a quality alliance with three builders and their framers to implement ISO 9000 practices in the framing process.

  • Conduct tests on moisture analysis, air change measurements, and moisture and temperature monitoring.

Content updated on 1/22/2002 Back to Top Back to Top
HUD Partnership for Advancing
Technology in Housing (PATH)
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