PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

Tutorial Townhouses Show PATH to Better Building

Technologies benefit builders, homeowners

The PATH Tutorial Townhouses were the only International Builders' Show demonstration homes with a before-and-after, "behind-the-walls" tour of a high-performance home. On the self-guided tour, placards describe each technology and its benefits to builders and homeowners. As the townhouses demonstrate, choosing the right building materials and paying attention to construction details are keys to building a durable, storm-resistant, energy-efficient and affordable home.

Signage in the home shared the findings of a team of HUD engineers and building scientists who inspected damaged Florida homes after the 2004 hurricane season. PATH addressed the common points of failure and suggests improvements to strengthen homes during construction to make them more disaster-resistant.

[IMAGE: PATH Tutorial Townhouses will be on display at the 2005 International Builders' Show] Energy Efficiency
By meeting strict energy efficiency criteria, the 1,670 square foot, two-story townhouse qualifies for an ENERGY STAR certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Homes that qualifed for the ENERGY STAR label are at least 30 percent or more energy efficient than homes built to the 1993 Model Energy Code or 15 percent more efficient than the state energy code, whichever is more rigorous.

According to EPA, ENERGY STAR-qualified new homes use significantly less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating, so homeowners can expect to save about $200 to $400 annually on their utility bills. Homes that include innovative technologies to improve energy efficiency can be significantly more affordable on a monthly basis, despite a somewhat higher first cost. The PATH Tutorial Townhouses demonstrate this concept.

Modular Construction
Without watching the assembly process, few visitors would guess the townhouses are modular units. After undergoing a series of quality-control checks in the factory, trucks transported the home -- with interior finish on the floors, walls and ceilings -- to its site at IBS, placed the modules on a prepared foundation with a crane and joined them to the foundation and each other.

Modular homes are "overbuilt" to withstand travel from the factory to the home site, so they often are sturdier and tighter than conventional homes. They also make it easier to insulate areas hard to access in a home constructed with conventional building techniques. Reduced air infiltration and more complete insulation often make modular homes more comfortable than site-built homes while lowering heating and cooling costs.

The PATH Tutorial Townhouses were open daily for the duration of the International Builders' Show, from January 13-16, 2005.

Back to PATH Tutorial Townhouses Main page

Content updated on 2/4/2005

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