PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

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Housing Technology You Can Use

Tomorrow's technologies are available and affordable today. The PATH Tutorial Townhouses on exhibit at this month's 2005 International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando feature more than 20 technologies that make housing more affordable, durable, healthy, energy-efficient, and disaster-resistant. These technologies reduce the buildings' operating costs by lowering energy and water bills and decreasing maintenance and replacement costs, while increasing indoor air quality and comfort.

Just a few of the technologies in the Townhomes that can make a home more affordable, durable, healthy, efficient, and disaster-resistant are featured below.

Affordable. New technologies that can lower a home's electric, water, and energy bills include Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures, such as toilets, faucet aerators and showerheads. These fixtures reduce the amount of water used without compromising performance. Other money-saving technologies include Advanced Framing Techniques, Programmable Thermostats, and a multitude of ENERGY STAR® qualified products.

Durable. Many new products are more durable than traditional building materials. Fiber-Cement Siding looks like wood, but has a 50-year warranty, is termite-resistant, and non-combustible. Bamboo Flooring is highly durable and usually more dent-resistant than hardwoods. It can be finished much like wood. Since bamboo is grown on farms rather than forests, the environmental downsides of logging are eliminated. Recycled Content Carpet looks and feels much like virgin fiber carpet, but is made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Not only does recycled content carpet reduce solid waste, it is more resilient and colorfast than virgin fiber carpet.

Other durability upgrades that would be beneficial in almost any house include Optimized HVAC Sizing Practices, Flexible Framing Anchor Straps, Air Admittance Vents, and Plastic Composite Exterior Decking.

Healthy. The Tutorial Townhouses have improved indoor air quality through air-sealing measures and proper filtration, and by using carpets, Low-VOC Paints, and finishes that emit as few harmful chemicals as possible.

Energy Efficient. Tankless Water Heaters provide hot water on demand, but do not store water, thereby reducing or eliminating energy losses from hot water sitting in a tank. Tankless water heaters also typically last 5 to 10 years longer than tank-type heaters because tankless heaters are less subject to corrosion. Other practical energy-efficient upgrades include Radiant Barriers, Home Run Plumbing Systems, Sprayed Foam Insulation, and ENERGY STAR qualified products.

Disaster Resistant. The show houses demonstrate several technologies that improve a building's ability to withstand natural disasters. High Wind- and Impact-Resistant Asphalt Roofing Shingles are designed to resist damage from severe weather. Shingles come with 30- to 50-year limited warranties, and are generally rated to withstand winds from 100 to 130 miles per hour. Flexible Framing Anchor Straps are used to provide structural reinforcement to a building frame during earthquakes and high winds.

Additional Sources of Information:

For more information on new technologies that improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance, and affordability of America's housing, visit the PATH Technology Inventory Index or PATH's Web site on Green Building.

Content updated on 8/4/2006

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