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Measuring the Affordability of Residential Building Innovations



C J. Leng


Innovations in residential construction have faced many barriers to adoption. One critical barrier is the absence of metrics that allow homeowners, home builders, and homebuyers to compare the cost effectiveness of adopting these new technologies in owner-occupied housing. To address this barrier, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are working together to develop such metrics and to outline strategies to promote their use. This report builds on a series of workshops, papers, and publications that have been held and produced over a two-year period to define affordability metrics and describe a roadmap for their dissemination.This report identifies key stakeholders in the adoption of residential construction innovations, explores innovation in the construction industry, and describes barriers to the adoption of these innovations. The report culminates in discussion of technical metrics for affordability and how to develop and guide the process for dissemination and implementation of these metrics. Proposed technical metrics evaluate the affordability of new residential building technologies under multiple definitions of affordability. These metrics build on established building economics methodologies, such as life-cycle costing as described in ASTM Standard Practice E 917 (ASTM International, 2002b). The metrics will also allow users to estimate the recovery of thecapital expenses associated with adopting new technologies when the home is sold. They will address uncertainties associated with use of new technologies, such as those relating to performance, durability, maintenance and operations costs, and valuation. The document concludes with a roadmap for policymakers and other interested parties to promote the use of technical metrics and to evaluate common measures of housing affordability.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7233
Report Number


affordability, building economics, diffusion of innovations, life-cycle cost, residential construction


Leng, C. (2017), Measuring the Affordability of Residential Building Innovations, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed June 12, 2024)


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Created February 19, 2017