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Sneak Peek: Unveiling the Highlights of the 2024 Innovative Housing Showcase


Keywords: Innovative Housing Showcase, Building Technology, Housing Finance, Zoming, Sustainability, Affordable Housing, Environment, Manufactured Housing, Factory-built Housing, Housing Construction, Housing Innovation, Public Housing, Multifamily Housing

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Sneak Peek: Unveiling the Highlights of the 2024 Innovative Housing Showcase

Alaina Stern, Social Science Analyst, Office of Policy Development and Research
Mike Blanford, Research Engineer, Office of Policy Development and Research

Date: Innovative Housing Showcase June 7–9, 2024
Location: National Mall, 9th–12th Streets NW, Washington DC.

Two demo houses on exhibit at the National Mall.Exhibits at the 2024 Innovative Housing Showcase will feature new housing and building technologies helping make the nation's housing stock more sustainable, affordable, and resilient.


The annual Innovative Housing Showcase presents cutting-edge technologies that promise to transform the landscape of housing construction. Organized by HUD with the support of the International Code Council, the Manufactured Housing Institute, the National Multifamily Housing Council, and the Structural Building Components Association, the free annual showcase attracts policymakers, industry professionals, homeowners, media representatives, and others interested in exploring the latest innovations in housing and building technology.

Building on the momentum of previous showcases, the 2024 Innovative Housing Showcase will feature engaging exhibits demonstrating recent advancements in manufactured and modular housing. From single-section and multisection residences built to HUD Code specifications to modular homes built to local building codes, these exhibits will highlight the efficiency, affordability, and quality of factory-built housing.


The 2024 showcase will highlight demonstrations of new building technologies such as mass timber and panelized wall systems that promise to not only revolutionize the construction process but also address pressing housing affordability and sustainability issues facing many localities. This year's showcase pays particular attention to the ways in which regulatory frameworks influence the adoption of novel construction methods. By presenting potential solutions to these regulatory barriers, the showcase aims to catalyze meaningful change and foster an environment that encourages innovation in housing construction.

On Thursday, June 6, and Friday, June 7, 2024, HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research will host panels on housing innovation, including individual sessions discussing offsite construction, building codes, manufactured housing, decarbonization, zoning, public and multifamily housing, resilience, and finance. The participants, who include leaders from the public, private, and government sectors, will focus on the cross-sector collaborations needed to seed and scale these state-of-the-art approaches to creating more abundant, affordable, and sustainable housing.

Federal Partners

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will present exhibits displaying the latest advancements in energy-efficient building materials and technologies, highlighting the importance of prioritizing sustainability and environmental stewardship in the housing industry.

The NREL showcase exhibit demonstrates several cutting-edge technologies aimed at transforming the construction and energy sectors. One highlight is a display showcasing NREL's Collaborative Construction Robot, or CoCoBot — a small-scale construction robot — alongside a sample wall panel, illustrating the potential for agile and efficient construction methods. Another groundbreaking feature is the NREL Mixed-Reality (MR) Construction Site, which harnesses MR technology to create a three-dimensional, virtual overlay of future construction phases onto an existing environment. Through MR headsets or handheld tablet devices, users can seamlessly integrate real-world environments with virtual construction plans, providing construction workers with guidance on system placement and assembly instructions. In addition, the exhibit includes offerings from manufacturers such as A.O. Smith, which will present its state-of-the-art heat pump water heaters, and Kelvin (formerly Radiator Labs), which will showcase its newest products for energy conservation and thermal comfort in homes heated by radiators. Tech startup SPAN will demonstrate its SPAN Smart Panel, an updated electrical panel that automatically monitors a home's electricity use and offers homeowners app-enabled control over their homes' circuits to maximize energy efficiency and savings. NeoCharge, a manufacturer of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, will introduce the Smart Splitter, which allows two 240-volt appliances or EVs to share an existing power outlet without requiring expensive rewiring or electrical installations. Finally, Zero Homes will present its digital platform, which uses intuitive design tools and 3D models to simplify homeowners' transition to sustainable all-electric systems.

PNNL's Residential Buildings Integration team will present DOE-funded research on energy-efficient and cost-effective retrofit options for the more than 100 million existing homes in the United States that could benefit from these improvements. PNNL advocates for strategic enhancements during residing projects, such as bolstering insulation and updating windows, that incur minimal additional cost. Initiatives such as the Adding Insulation when Re-Siding (AIRS) and Storm Windows and Insulating Panels (SWIP) campaigns demonstrate best practices and savings through field demonstrations and case studies. The exhibit will feature live demonstrations of these upgrades and retrofit products alongside posters, materials, and examples of high-performance heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and water heaters. PNNL staff will also showcase panelized wall sections with varying insulation and window options and discuss construction techniques, product choices, and energy data from simulations and field demonstrations nationwide.

ORNL will present affordable technologies that promote energy efficiency and decarbonization in both new construction and retrofits while upholding safety and quality standards. These technologies include automated robots to streamline installation processes, enhance safety for installers, and optimize technology performance. Digital tools offer real-time feedback to expedite assembly, minimize errors, and reduce costs. Digital diagnostic tools also empower the construction industry and homeowners to identify and address air leaks and potential moisture problems, improving energy efficiency and structural integrity. ORNL will also display low-carbon building materials suitable for both new construction and retrofits as well as advanced retrofit technologies that enhance the energy efficiency of the building envelope with minimal disruption to occupants. In addition, ORNL will showcase advanced appliances designed to further reduce energy consumption.


Modular and Manufactured Homes. The Innovative Housing Showcase will include several exhibits featuring modular and manufactured homes, which are produced offsite in a controlled factory environment. Although developers build modular housing to adhere to local building codes, manufactured housing is constructed according to the federal HUD Code. The factory environment of both offers several benefits: workers install panels at ground level before raising the roof into position, which enhances their safety; factory production allows manufacturers to purchase panels and other components in bulk, reducing construction costs; and the factory setting gives developers the opportunity to continually refine and perfect the construction process through repetition, which improves installation quality.

The showcase will feature two duplexes built to the HUD Code for manufactured housing. One duplex is a single-wide structure with two separate living quarters. The other duplex is a double-wide structure in which each section consists of its own living quarters. Another exhibit will display a modular building system that uses mass timber for the construction of affordable single- and multifamily homes.

Panelized Construction. Panelized construction is a building method in which structural components such as walls, floors, and roofs are manufactured off-site as panels that are transported to the construction site for assembly. The controlled factory environment ensures that the resulting panels are precisely manufactured and high quality. Workers at the construction site can assemble the panels quickly and efficiently, resulting in a shorter construction time and lower labor costs than traditional stick-built construction. One exhibit at the showcase will feature a two-story home built with wood framing panels that includes HVAC mechanicals, electrical wiring, and plumbing. The house also demonstrates the benefits of structural building components, including roof trusses, wall panels, and floor truss panels, that are manufactured offsite.

Tiny Homes and Accessory Dwelling Units. Tiny homes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are both examples of compact residential structures designed for small-scale living. A tiny home is a standalone dwelling, typically ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand square feet, that prioritizes space efficiency and functionality. An ADU, on the other hand, is a secondary residential unit located on the same property as a primary residence that offers additional living space and flexibility. Whereas tiny homes often are standalone structures, ADUs can be attached to, detached from, or located within the primary residence. Both tiny homes and ADUs provide opportunities for affordable housing, living space for extended family, rental income, or sustainable living alternatives, subject to local zoning regulations and building codes.

An exhibit at the Innovative Housing Showcase will feature a log-framed, two-story ADU designed for affordability, energy efficiency, and sustainability. The lower floor offers a built-in office workspace and seating for eight, and the upper floor boasts a full kitchen. Another exhibit — a one-bedroom ADU built from a shipping container to serve veterans at risk of homelessness — will demonstrate how affordable housing providers can adopt panelized and volumetric modular construction methods to further their missions. A third exhibit will display a tiny home and ADU built from 3D-printed components, with recycled plastic as the primary construction material.

Rapid Shelters. Rapid shelters are structures that can be deployed quickly to provide temporary accommodations during emergency situations or disaster relief efforts. These shelters typically are lightweight, portable, and easy to assemble without the need for specialized tools or skills. They are intended to offer people immediate protection from the elements and can vary in size and design from simple tents to more complex modular structures. A rapidly deployable and immediate shelter unit built with structural insulated panels will be on display at the showcase; this shelter includes living space as well as an integrated bathroom with a full-sized shower, sink, and toilet. Another exhibit at the showcase will display a preassembled panelized unit designed for disaster relief housing; the unit, constructed from fiberglass free from volatile organic compounds, is built using sustainable energy sources as well as passive and renewable strategies.

Innovative Building Products. In addition to full-sized displays and enterable housing units, the 2024 showcase will also feature tents where exhibitors will demonstrate their innovations. Many of these entrepreneurs are part of Incubating Market-Propelled Entrepreneurial-mindset at the Labs and Beyond (IMPEL), a DOE program that brings building technologies to market. IMPEL is funded by DOE's Building Technologies Office and implemented by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. One such exhibit will showcase intuitive LED strip indicators that monitor energy and water consumption. These indicators combine cutting-edge Internet of Things technology with insights from human psychology to help households reduce their resource usage by up to 30 percent. Other displays will feature a section of the first fully 3D-printed house made entirely with biobased materials; dry flush toilet technology integrated with an external waste tank, which eliminates the need for a traditional septic system or sewer connection; a durable and affordable new building material made from bamboo, a highly renewable resource; fiber cement siding, which can replace vinyl siding for exterior cladding and trim in areas with high winds; and a 3D concrete printer that is compact, mobile, and capable of operating in a range of environmental conditions and challenging terrains.


In addition to the exhibits on the National Mall, the showcase will also convene representatives from industry, local government, and housing advocacy organizations for educational sessions on June 6 and June 7, 2024. These sessions will be livestreamed and will serve as a platform for housing professionals, policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders to develop actionable strategies, policy recommendations, and best practices to address pressing housing challenges.

On Thursday, June 6, MOD X, the International Code Council, the Manufactured Housing Institute, and DOE, among other partners, will host presentations and discussions focusing on topics such as innovative construction methods, building codes, decarbonization, and manufactured housing. The lively exchange of ideas and knowledge continues on Friday, June 7, with sessions led by Ivory Innovations, the National Multifamily Housing Council, HUD, NREL, and Terner Labs. These sessions will focus on zoning innovations, public and multifamily housing, resilient design, and financing strategies.


From innovative building technologies to discussions about the regulatory frameworks shaping construction practices, the 2024 Innovative Housing Showcase will provide a platform to engage stakeholders and the public in dialogue, collaboration, and inspiration. The planned panels, exhibits, and demonstrations underscore the critical role of cross-sector partnerships in driving the future of housing, emphasizing sustainability, affordability, and resilience.

Please stay tuned for more updates and insights as we explore the future of housing together.

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Published Date: 28 May 2024

The contents of this article are the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the U.S. Government.