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February 9, 2005

Houston Home to Illustrate Safe, Inexpensive Housing

PATH aids Federation of American Scientists' project

With technical assistance from the Partnership for Advancing technology in Housing (PATH) and the U.S. Department of Energy's Building America program, the Federation of American Scientists' (FAS) Housing Technology project is constructing a model home in Houston, Texas, to demonstrate the use of structural insulated panel construction as part of a safe, environmentally-friendly, and cost efficient home.

Beginning in spring 2005, FAS will construct a single-family home with structural insulated panels (SIPs) consisting of expanded polystyrene cores and cement board coating. Profiled in the PATH Technology Inventory, SIPs have passed rigorous test requirements established by the Uniform Building Code, as well as additional tests conducted by FAS that examined structural and fire safety under extreme conditions.

In designing the home, the FAS Housing Technology research group and advisors from PATH and Building America established criteria for cost and energy efficiency when superior to traditional, stick-built homes; attractive architectural details; safety in wind and fire; resistance to mold and pests; and environmentally friendly materials. The design, provided by native Houston architect Roger Rausbach, was specifically formulated for panel use, thus easing construction and lowering costs further.

FAS will work with advisors from the PATH and Building America programs to monitor costs, energy use, indoor air quality, and other characteristics of the home as part of an ongoing research project on optimal housing technology for various environments.

For more information:
Scott T. Shepherd

Content updated on 5/2/2005

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