MOLD-RESISTANT GYPSUM and concrete made with waste from coal-fired power plants are among the top 10 home building technologies for 2007, according to the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH).
PATH, a program run by HUD, says the 10 technologies are the future of home building and hold the most promise for improving the quality of homes.
“Our 2007 list focuses on PATH-profiled technologies at the nexus of technological advantage, market readiness, and market appeal,” says Mike Blanford, in HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research. “Each product on the list has the potential to transform the way we build or finish homes, and many of them offer environmental benefits as well as strengths in other areas.”
In addition to the gypsum and concrete, the technologies on this year's list include solar water heating, front-loading washers and dryers, self-cleaning impact-resistant windows, super-sized insulated concrete forms, induction cooktops, and permeable pavers and pavement.
The relevance of the list for a builder depends on what systems that builder already has in place as well as the builder's geographic location. Builders should assess whether they can or would want to incorporate these products into their practices, Blanford says. “For instance, mold-resistant gypsum might seem like an attractive upgrade in this mold-phobic [Washington, D.C.] area, but, practically speaking, it would be a waste of money almost anywhere in the arid Southwest,” he explains.
“The first thing a builder needs to ask is, ‘How different is it from what I'm doing now?'” Blanford continues. “The answer to that question will lead you to the next questions: Who on my crew [or which subcontractors] will need training? How much training will they need [because they will need some level of training]? How will this affect the price and schedule? And how will it help my future business?”
PATH introduced its Top 10 Technologies list in 2004 and has updated it every year since. For more on the PATH technologies, visit www.pathnet.org.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.