April 21, 1999
PATH Teams Up With NAHB Research Center's ToolBase SERVICES . . . Awards $500,000 to Expand Information Services for Builders, Remodelers
The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing announced April 21 an award of $500,000 to the NAHB Research Center of Upper Marlboro, MD, a subsidiary of the 160,000 member National Association of Home Builders, to increase builder and remodeler access to information on innovative building materials, processes and systems.
The PATH supported enhancements to toolbase SERVICES, the NAHB Research Center's technical information arm, include extended hours and Spanish language capability for its telephone hotline, as well as expansion of its web site, technical news coverage and Catalog of Building Products and Services. Last year PATH chose toolbase SERVICES as its communication link to the building community.
PATH, launched last May by President Clinton and administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, unites leaders of the home building, product manufacturing, insurance and financial industries with representatives of federal agencies concerned with housing. The Partnership works to speed the creation and use of advanced technologies to radically improve the quality, energy efficiency, environmental performance, durability and affordability of the nation's housing.
Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner William C. Apgar said, "The PATH-NAHB Research Center agreement puts information in the hands of people who literally build the houses inwhich we live. toolbase SERVICES' new technology transfer capability, including its outreach to the Spanish-speaking community, extends technical assistance to builders and remodelers interested in 'real-world' applications of new housing technologies."
The new hours of toolbase SERVICES' toll-free telephone hotline, staffed by technical experts to answer builder and remodelers queries, are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. The number is (800) 898-2842. Spanish-speaking experts will be available to answer technical building and construction questions, including queries concerning disaster mitigation.
Under the agreement with PATH, the NAHB Research Center will publicize its new Spanish language capability within the building community as well as with officials of nonprofit organizations and leaders of U.S.-Mexico border communities known as "colonias." Builders and developers in Central American countries ravaged by Hurricane Mitch last year will also be able to access the technical information service.
The PATH award will also fund ToolBase SERVICES online housing technology news and discussion forums. The computer discussion groups, moderated by a technical expert, will cover such PATH goals as energy efficiency, quality management in construction, construction safety and health and alternative materials evaluation.
In addition, PATH's "Technology Inventory," a comprehensive list of emerging technologies, and PATH's "Technologies in Practice," case histories of outstanding housing projects using innovative technologies, will be featured on the ToolBase Web site. Visitors to the PATH web site will be able to access them via an electronic link to the toolbase SERVICES web site.
ToolBase SERVICES also intends to publish its Catalog of Building Products and Services, currently in CD ROM format, on the Internet. The expanded NAHB Research Center/ToolBase SERVICES web site will include a subject-oriented, annotated description of additional web site locations to help builders and remodelers find useful information.
The Research Center also will build a comprehensive construction industry search engine (software that searches an index and returns matches); provide regular e-mail technical updates to builders by topic; and create "expert systems" that enable web visitors to tap the knowledge and experience of top researchers.
The PATH award also calls for the NAHB Research Center to establish a news service reporting the latest building research and testing information directly to trade, real estate, local home builder associations editors.
In addition, ToolBase SERVICES will use PATH funds to increase the number of topics covered in its Technical Bulletin series, which are information sheets accessible by e-mail or fax.
The NAHB Research Center will send mailings to Home Builder Association executive officers at least three times per year notifying them of useful technical information available through ToolBase SERVICES and the PATH program. It also will increase press release and public service announcement mailings promoting the ToolBase Hotline, Web site and PATH activities to over 800 state and local builder association newsletters and magazines.
By 2010 Congress and the Administration expect PATH to: (1) reduce the monthly cost of new housing by 20 percent or more; (2) 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; (3) improve durability and reduce maintenance costs by 50 percent and; (4) 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 residential construction work illnesses and injuries.
Public sector partners include the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Content updated on 7/10/2003