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NIST to Develop Housing Technology Tools

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology is partnering in a private/public effort as part of a Clinton Administration initiative to develop new technologies that could lead to significant improvements in the nation’s housing situation.

The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing has awarded NIST $1.2 million to begin developing critical measurement and information tools for predicting the performance of advanced housing technologies.

President Clinton launched PATH last year, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development administers this multi-agency program. PATH is working to speed the development and use of new technologies, products and systems to improve the quality, energy efficiency, environmental performance, durability and affordability of the nation’s housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development administers this industry-government initiative that unites leaders of the home-building, product manufacturing, insurance and financial industries with representatives of federal agencies concerned with housing.

NIST’s Building and Fire Research Laboratory will focus on several innovative areas, including housing durability research on materials and construction methods designed to make housing last longer. BFRL will work with industry on better ways to predict the service life of housing and its components.

In another PATH-supported project, NIST will help the National Evaluation Service/Building Innovation Center develop a program that will allow innovators to evaluate their housing technologies against building regulatory and other performance requirements.

Another focus area will be enhancement of BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability), a computer program that helps environmentally sensitive and cash-conscious architects and designers plan better buildings. BEES software was first released last year by NIST’s Green Buildings Program. It helps to identify building products that can improve environmental performance with little or no increase in cost.

Federal agencies participating with HUD and NIST in the PATH program include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Labor, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the Federal Housing Finance Board, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, and the Baldrige National Quality Program. 

Released June 17, 1999, Updated November 27, 2017