Lead Performer: University of Minnesota: Twin Cities – Minneapolis, MN
-- MonoPath – Edina, MN
-- Urban Homeworks – Minneapolis, MN
-- Habitat for Humanity – Atlanta, GA
-- Building Knowledge – Minneapolis, MN
DOE Total Funding: $898,000
Cost Share: $233,000
Project Term: July 1, 2016 – June, 30, 2019
Funding Opportunity: 2016 Building America Industry Partnerships for High Performance Housing Innovation


The University of Minnesota will field test an innovative insulated solid-panel building envelope system that (1) eliminates thermal bridging, improves durability, and reduces construction costs compared to conventional, wood-framed construction; and (2) is appropriate for the affordable housing market. The optimized, whole-building system can be delivered by a single envelope contractor to streamline quality assurance and quality control. This project will test and compare the proposed solid-panel wall system against a high-performance, stud wall system, looking at energy and moisture performance, constructability, and cost in 20 single-family homes and three townhouses.


This project will demonstrate and verify the performance and potential energy savings of the proposed building envelope system. The envelope system is expected to produce energy savings of at least 25% relative to a home built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, and will control air-leakage to less than 1 ACH (air-change-per-hour) at a pressure differential of 50 Pa. The proposed building envelope system will also demonstrate improved moisture durability, lower cost, and faster construction than stud-framed walls with comparable R-value, with the goal of enabling cost-competitive Zero Energy Ready Home performance for affordable housing.


DOE Technology Manager: Eric Werling
Principal Investigator: Pat Huelman, University of Minnesota

Related Publications

NorthernSTAR 1-½-Story Demonstration House of Cold Climate Solutions for Affordable Housing (March 2016)