PATH Technology Road mapping

advice, guidance, support, results

Before PATH partners could promote new technologies for homes, PATH had to know which technology areas had the greatest need and potential for development. The PATH Technology Roadmaps offer convenient starting points for planning Federal and private-sector R&D investments by focusing on key industry needs. Roadmapping sets the strategic R&D planning process for PATH and the industry as a whole. PATH’s Industry Committee, composed of more than 150 prominent industry figures, has met over the past few years to identify these key technology needs for new home construction and the primary needs for existing homes.

Current PATH Roadmaps

Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes

[IMAGE: Energy Efficiency in Existing Housing Roadmap provides a prioritized list of action items for the industry.]In 2000, the Energy Efficiency in Existing Housing Roadmapping group met to brainstorm technology development ideas that could help the PATH program attain existing housing energy efficiency goals. Volume 1: Technology Brainstorming outlines this brainstorming activity. Subsequently, in May 2002, the working group met to identify key strategies and activities in the existing housing area, and developed V olume 2: Strategies Defined . In 2003, a process was initiated to prioritize key strategies and activities. Volume 3: Prioritized Action Plan summarizes the results of this Roadmapping process.

Whole-House and Building Process Redesign

This roadmap was developed to strategically overcome the slow adoption of new technologies into homebuilding, and the lack of systems science and engineering standards in the manufacturing of products and the construction of houses. These issues are long-standing problems in the residential construction industry. The roadmap details strategies to overcome chronic barriers and outlines the benefits of taking proactive steps, which include:

Accelerating the acceptance of innovative homebuilding technologies
Creating an environment conducive to systems solutions such as collaborations across the industry
Industrializing the homebuilding process by applying manufacturing processes and technologies
Improving house construction by applying system science, analysis, and engineering
The recommendations of this roadmap have the potential to make home construction more affordable, higher quality, customizable, and receptive to new innovations.

Manufactured Housing

This document provides a roadmap for a research program that will generate the knowledge and innovations necessary to accomplish two objectives considered crucial to the future of the manufactured housing industry:

Continually improving the industry’s core product, the single-family home; and,
Expanding the benefits of manufactured housing to other housing types.
It is also intended to serve as a framework for cooperative research between the private and public sectors. The Roadmap contains five broad topic areas — the Home, the Factory, the Site, the Market and the Consumer — each with a set of key challenges. For each challenge, the Roadmap lays out a vision, and potential research and development focus areas.

Information Technology

Information technology can greatly improve the speed and efficiency of the entire homebuilding process. A roadmapping group recommended ways that computers, software, and communications (especially wireless and the Internet) can improve speed, efficiency, and quality in the homebuilding process:

Develop a common language: enable people to communicate across the residential construction process.
Streamline the regulatory process: increase efficiency in permitting, plan review, site inspection, and product approval; develop a noncommercial information portal; provide a source of objective, reliable technical information about homebuilding for builders, trade contractors, and consumers.
Address production management systems from conception to closure.
Link information technology tools and data within and between firms to improve the housing production management process from start to finish.

Read about XML Standards for Automating the Home Building Supply Chain
Advanced Panelized Construction

Panelized-type systems are factory-built homes in which panels-a whole wall with windows, doors, wiring and outside siding-are transported to the site and assembled. The homes must meet state or local building codes where they are sited. Shifting away from “construction in place” with respect to labor skills, quality control, standardization, and economical engineering, shows great promise. Advanced panelization technologies bring significant benefits with respect to all PATH objectives.

The Advanced Panelized Construction Roadmapping activities were initiated during a meeting in December 2000 and continued through subsequent meetings and online information-sharing, resulting in a Year 1 Progress Report. A set of short-term priorities was also established, many of which PATH has turned into R&D projects. In December 2002, the group met in Baltimore to better define several of the activities described in the Year 1 Progress Report. Subsequent activities were conducted in early 2003 to get broader input from current and potential users of panel products. The 2003 Progress Report is the result of these activities.

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