CURRENT PROJECTS:






MANUFACTURED HOUSING RESEARCH

More than one out of five of all single-family units produced are "HUD-Code," or manufactured housing. The Division conducts research in support of HUD's manufactured housing office and other research aimed at improving the product. Recent research topics for manufactured housing include energy rehab, roadmapping, improving manufacturing processes, and better understanding installations and foundation systems.

Contact: Michael Blanford, (202) 402-5728





PARTNERSHIP FOR ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY IN HOUSING (PATH)

Despite the importance of the housing industry to the American economy, there is very little investment in residential technologies. This is especially true of the single-family homes that make up most of America's housing stock. PATH is a voluntary partnership between leaders of the homebuilding, product manufacturing, insurance, and financial industries and representatives of federal agencies concerned with housing. Working together, PATH partners improve new and existing homes and strengthen the technology infrastructure of the United States. PATH is dedicated to accelerating the development and use of technologies that radically improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance, and affordability of America's housing. HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) coordinates all PATH activities. PD&R manages PATH's budget, strategy, and daily operations. More information on PATH can be found at www.huduser.gov/portal/consumer/home.html.

Contact: Michael Blanford, (202) 402-5728





REHABILITATION RESEARCH INITIATIVE

Most Americans will continue to reside in our existing housing stock for decades. Yet, little federal technical research is directed at developing techniques and technologies to cost-effectively rehabilitate this housing. In response, the Division is working with the model code organizations to develop new code provisions that, if adopted, would eliminate many of the regulatory barriers to rehabilitation. In addition, the Division is developing a series of guides for using new technologies in rehabilitation.

Contact: Dana Bres, (202) 402-5919





ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH

The Division has taken the lead in understanding the impact of "brownfields" on urban redevelopment. The Division has assisted the Department in shaping policy on urban brownfields, and has published several reports on strategies for redeveloping brownfields as part of local community and economic development strategies. The Division has also completed research that questions many of the assumptions behind the EPA’s current radon policy.

Contact: Edwin Stromberg, (202) 402-5727





REGULATORY BARRIERS RESEARCH PROGRAM

To support the Department’s Affordable Communities Initiative, which seeks to increase homeownership opportunities and access to decent affordable housing, the Office of Policy Development & Research (PD&R) has launched the regulatory barriers research program. A regulatory barrier to the development of affordable housing is a public regulatory requirement or process that significantly impedes the development or availability of affordable housing without providing a commensurate health and/or safety benefit. There is a growing recognition that regulatory barriers are a significant problem in communities across the country. The goal of the research program is to better understand the nature, scope, and impacts of regulatory barriers, to assess the impact of various strategies aimed at reducing them, and to identify continuing research and policy needs and priorities. PD&R is now carrying out an aggressive research program on regulatory barriers, including research on excessive subdivision standards, exclusionary zoning practices, alternatives to (and more equitable) impact fees, environmental regulation processes, barriers to land acquisition, barriers to the use of manufactured housing in communities, and an analytical tool for determining the impact of various regulations on housing affordability. PD&R has also established a national database on state and local regulatory barriers and solutions, known as the Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse.

Contact: Edwin Stromberg, (202) 402-5727






ENERGY ACTION PLAN

The Division supports the implementation of HUD's 21-point Energy Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy to address the cost of energy and promote energy efficiency in HUD-assisted, financed, or subsidized housing. Implementing the Energy Action Plan could yield significant cost savings to property owners, renters, and new or existing homebuyers of FHA-insured homes. HUD spends approximately $4 billion on energy each year – more than 10 percent of our budget – through operating grants to public housing authorities, housing assistance payments to private building owners, or utility allowances to renters. HUD spends an estimated $1.1 billion each year on utilities in public housing alone, apart from utility allowances that go directly to residents. Reducing HUD’s energy bill by just five percent could yield a savings of $2 billion over the next 10 years. The Energy Action Plan identifies a range of activities that encourage energy efficiency and conservation in the five million housing units that are assisted, insured, or subsidized through HUD programs. The Plan focuses on upgrading the energy efficiency of new and existing housing, using an established inventory of proven energy-efficient products and appliances that can be put to work immediately through existing programs. HUD will accomplish this through education, outreach, and training; interagency cooperation; market-based incentives; and public-private partnerships. An important focus of the Energy Action Plan is expanding the use of Energy Star® in HUD-assisted or financed housing and in public housing. HUD has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with EPA and DOE to increase awareness among HUD’s customers and partners of the benefits of Energy Star products and appliances, as well as Energy Star Qualified New Homes. For more information, visit the website at www.hud.gov/energy.

Contact: Michael Freedberg, (202) 402-4366