Decorative and durable, natural stone adds dimension to both interior and exterior remodeling projects. Stone has become a very popular choice for countertops, floors, cladding and pavers, among other options, giving homeowners a feeling of luxury and permanence.
PATH is a voluntary partnership in which leaders of the home building, product manufacturing, insurance and financial industries join forces with representatives of federal agencies concerned with housing. The PATH spurs housing industry design and construction change by providing the latest information on innovative building materials, processes and systems; showcasing innovative housing projects that can serve as models for builders and homeowners across the country; promoting focused, cooperative housing research among industry, government and university partners; and tackling institutional barriers to innovation—from risk and liability concerns to the lack of effective product evaluation systems. PATH working groups consider housing finance, technology roadmapping, consumer education and expectations, and quality and labor issues.
By 2010 Congress expects PATH to: (1) reduce the monthly cost of new housing by 20 percent or more; (2) cut the environmental impact and energy use of new housing by 50 percent or more and reduce energy use in at least 15 million existing homes by 30 percent or more; (3) improve durability and reduce maintenance costs by 50 percent and; (4) reduce by at least 10 percent the risk of loss of life, injury and property destruction from natural hazards and decrease by at least 20 percent residential construction work illnesses and injuries.
PATH participating organizations direct the initiative through their commitment of time, resources and leadership. PATH participants agree to make good faith efforts to offer housing products that meet PATH goals in large markets by 2010; participate in the joint management of the partnership; share non-proprietary information about the costs, benefits and other characteristics of building innovations with the partnership; and work with appropriate federal and state agencies to develop and implement tests of innovative products and systems.
Public sector partners include the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Housing Finance Board, the National Science Foundation, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Department of Housing and Urban Development administers the PATH secretariat.