EARLY NEXT MONTH, THE NAHB RESEARCH Center in Upper Marlboro, Md., will throw the switch on its new 42,000-square-foot laboratory and market research facility. The new facility will allow the Center to test products and systems under simulated real-world conditions.

“[It] will enable us to further integrate our engineering and market research expertise and provide our clients comprehensive product commercialization services to help them overcome the many barriers to innovation in the home building industry,” says Research Center president Michael Luzier.

The goal of the Research Centeris to make housing technology more affordable. But it is hard to bring a new building technology to market, Luzier says, because of the many impediments to advancing new technology in housing—a highly segmented industry, a deep supply chain, a lengthy code approval process, and many decision-makers in the process—the introduction of products can take a long time, 20 to 30 years. The Center hopes to change this. “You will see new products faster because we are going to shorten the time it takes for [them] to get to the marketplace,” Luzier says.

Large enough for a two-story house, the facility will allow the 80-plus staff to do large-scale thermal testing, acoustic performance testing, and two-story, shear-wall testing. Additional lab space will be customized for a market research and observation gallery overlooking the testing area, which will allow real-time observation of products in use for focus group sessions.

For more information on the NAHB Research Center, visit www.nahbrc.org.