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Evidence Matters

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Spring 2017

Editor’s Note

Building technology, the focus of this edition of Evidence Matters, plays a significant role in increasing housing affordability at a time when many U.S. households are experiencing high housing cost burdens. Advances in building materials and processes can not only reduce construction costs but also long-term maintenance and operation expenditures by improving the energy efficiency, durability, and resilience of housing. Ensuring that homes are durable and disaster resistant is especially vital to fostering community resilience in areas vulnerable to natural disasters. Strategies for long-term resilience should be considered not just when rebuilding after a disaster but also as part of regular regional and city planning. This issue looks at some of the innovative building materials and technologies and their potential impacts on residential construction costs, energy performance, and resilience and durability when exposed to harsh climates and natural hazards.

The lead article, “Leveraging Building Innovations for Housing Affordability,” discusses how innovations in construction processes, materials, and technologies can lower costs and examines barriers to the adoption and diffusion of new materials and technologies. The Research Spotlight article, “Combining Energy Efficiency and Disaster Mitigation Efforts in Residential Properties,” discusses opportunities and strategies for integrating energy-efficient and disaster-resilient technologies and materials in homes and communities. Finally, the In Practice article, “Retrofits Improve Affordability and Resilience,” describes three innovative programs that offer financing and other supports for energy retrofits and home disaster mitigation efforts.

We hope this edition of Evidence Matters provides a helpful overview of this critical topic. Our next issue will focus on housing for an aging population. Please provide feedback on any of our issues at


In This Issue

Leveraging Building Innovations for Housing Affordability

Combining Energy Efficiency and Disaster Mitigation Efforts in Residential Properties

Retrofits Improve Affordability and Resilience

Additional Resources

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Rachelle Levitt

Caitlin Phillips (Former HUD Intern) and Sage Computing staff

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