The Building America Program conducts applied research, development, and deployment in residential buildings. Building America projects are led by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories and expert building science teams in partnership with leading industry players (e.g., builders, contractors, and manufacturers).
Building America's selected projects strive to simultaneously develop and demonstrate new and better technical solutions while overcoming associated market barriers for the use of these solutions. Building America's research, development, and deployment work provides—with our industry partners—that these projects can lead to greater business benefits for builders and contractors and improved performance for homeowners.
Read the Building America Research-to-Market Plan.
The Building America Program is filling an essential role in the marketplace—one that would be extremely difficult for the private sector to perform. I believe that investments by the federal government in this program reap huge rewards at the local level in terms of energy savings, comfort, and consumer protection.
Other voluntary programs, including DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home program, ENERGY STAR for New Homes, and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, follow Building America's lead in order to further promote the adoption of these new energy-saving technologies and practices in both new and existing homes. Ultimately, Building America's research, development, and deployment work leads to better industry standards and building codes.
Building America Program Objectives
To help the housing industry and building codes improve home performance and reach aggressive efficiency goals, Building America has developed a program strategy that builds on the program’s historical successes and lessons learned and addresses current market needs in three key housing technology areas:
High Performance Moisture Managed Envelope Solutions
Issue: The tighter the building enclosure, the less it can dry when needed.
Building America works to provide: high-performance construction and retrofit solutions that manage moisture risks, reduce mold potential, and improve building durability and indoor air quality. Moisture-managed, high-performance building assemblies will have increased insulation, reduced infiltration, reduced risk of condensation, and adequate drying potential year-round.
Optimal Comfort Systems for Low-Load Homes
Issue: High-performance homes have dramatically lower heating and cooling requirements.
Building America works to provide: efficient heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment and distribution system solutions for high-performance homes with low thermal loads, including optimal efficiency, managed air flow, and relative humidity control. Optimal comfort systems will effectively mitigate humidity and comfort risks due to reduced air flow and longer periods without HVAC operation that result from the lower thermal loads in high-performance homes.
Optimal Ventilation and Indoor Quality Solutions
Issue: Tight building enclosures lead to less infiltration of fresh outside air.
Building America works to provide: smart ventilation systems and non-ventilation (i.e., source control) solutions for improved indoor air quality with minimized energy penalties.
Building America Technology-to-Market Roadmaps
Building America has developed a 5-year Building America Research-to-Market Plan that contains a set of three integrated Technology-to-Market Roadmaps, one for each of the technical challenge areas that the program will be focusing on. The roadmaps are designed to:
- Engage key industry and market stakeholders in the Building America research and development process
- Provide clear program objectives for each challenge
- Develop solutions that are practical and profitable for builders
- Link research, development, and deployment efforts with market deployment programs and codes and standards initiatives
- Develop best practices and lessons learned to be shared
- Use codes and standards improvements as endpoints for the greatest long-term market impact
- Manage technical and business risks to minimize problems of adoption
- Achieve optimal performance and cost effectiveness.