The USDA's Advanced Housing Research Center recently selected Home Innovation Research Labs to be the "keeper of the national research agenda" for the residential construction industry. The results we gather will be used to help direct federal funding to cross-disciplined innovation initiatives for the next five to 10 years, and there will be opportunities for all types of industry stakeholders to contribute their ideas.

The goal of the project, dubbed "#Home2020: Residential Construction Industry Research Agenda," is to identify and prioritize opportunities for strategic research investments that will enable the industry to overcome challenges in providing high-performance, high quality, affordable homes. The project is particularly important as home building continues to improve its footing and competitiveness as a major sector of the U.S. economy.

The scope of the agenda-setting process will be very far-reaching to all segments of the residential industry—it will include setting research priorities for both new and remodeled/retrofit one- and two-family dwellings, low-rise multifamily buildings, and mid- and high-rise residential buildings in all geographical locations within the U.S.

Because the residential construction industry is highly diverse, segmented, and unintegrated, there will be several different input-gathering activities aimed at getting various types of information. Depending on the type of stakeholder—including builders, remodelers, architects, engineers, planners, code officials, and building product manufacturers—Home Innovation Research Labs will provide opportunities to identify day-to-day challenges to accomplishing individual business goals; barriers to industry advancement and innovation; and specific research needs.

Stakeholder activities along the way will include focus groups, surveys, and meetings, but the first and most broad-based channel is an online portal for submitting research need recommendations, which was launched at the beginning of this year. If you have been looking to improve construction methods, develop innovative materials and systems to advance home performance, add value, and cut cost, the #Home2020 Online Portal ( is the perfect way to have your ideas recognized.

Research recommendations may fall into one or more specific Performance Categories (or additional user-defined categories):
• Construction Processes
• Cost Effectiveness
• Disaster Resistance & Structural Performance
• Durability
• Energy Efficiency
• Fire Performance
• Indoor Environmental Quality
• Resource Efficiency

Recommendations may also be submitted under Programmatic Categories, as appropriate:
• Technology Transfer
• Code Compliance/Enforcement
• Compliance with Above-Code Programs (e.g., Energy Star, National Green Building Standard (NGBS), Fortified Homes, etc.)
• Building Industry Outreach
• Visibility
• Legislative and Regulatory
• Increased Industry Competitiveness

If you have or know of issues within the residential construction industry that you believe need to be resolved through research or the development of industry resources, we want to hear from you. Visit before March 15 to submit research recommendations; or contact Home Innovation ( for more information on the overall effort.