Walls, Roofs, and Foundations R&D

On this page you'll find information on the Building Technologies Program's research and development on walls, roofs, and foundations, and links to more information on envelope materials and envelope systems.

The primary goal of this research is to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient and sustainable thermal insulation, building materials, and envelope systems. In this effort, the R&D program interacts closely with the scientific community, the manufacturing sector, and the users of thermal insulation and other building materials and systems. Specific objectives exist for R&D in roofs, walls, and foundations and include:

  • Identify and develop new or improved insulation and other building materials
  • Search out and resolve technical issues of importance to consumers, the construction industry, and the building materials industry
  • Develop and standardize laboratory methods for characterizing new and existing materials
  • Develop a fundamental understanding of the physics of heat, air, and moisture flow in advanced and conventional building materials
  • Make recommendations on the effective use of building materials
  • Develop the scientific and engineering tools for development, demonstration, and production of more energy-efficient and sustainable building envelope system technologies
  • Develop and standardize field and laboratory whole envelope system performance test protocols to stimulate development and investment in energy-efficient envelope technologies
  • Engage in partnerships with industry to attain DOE energy efficiency goals

R&D Strategy

Input from the building industry and consumers, along with a quest for a more complete understanding of the fundamental physics of energy use in buildings guide DOE's building envelope R&D activities. The program focuses in two areas:

Testing methodology development is a key component in both of these areas. Multiple avenues are then used to transfer the program's results back into the building community. Partnerships with industry are formed to accelerate development and introduction of new materials. In addition, the program takes a leading role in developing national standards, working with organizations such as ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) and the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The program also provides extensive consumer education and works with trade organizations and manufacturers to promote the effective use of insulation and other building materials. The Building Envelope and Windows R&D Program Blog allows interested stakeholders to share their views and stay updated on the latest R&D activities.