Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced a 20-year plan to make homes more energy efficient and more comfortable and healthy for their occupants was jointly released by the building envelope industry, which produces walls, floors, and ceilings, and the Department of Energy (DOE). The Building Envelope Technology Roadmap will guide cooperation among researchers, industry, and federal and state government to make tomorrow's buildings more energy efficient and healthier for the environment.

By 2020, the industry envisions building envelopes that are net producers of energy, with movable walls and rooms that adapt to changing needs and environmental factors. The 2020 building envelope's intelligent features will adjust the interior climate based on the weather and provide naturally derived lighting and ventilation, enhancing overall comfort and occupant health.

To fulfill this vision, the industry identified 120 joint government and industry research activities in the areas of materials, systems, design and construction process and performance evaluation, and identified strategies to overcome major barriers to technological progress, including consumer and builder acceptance of innovative building envelopes.

DOE's Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs is facilitating a series of industry-defined roadmaps, which it expects will dramatically improve the energy efficiency of the Nation's homes, schools, and commercial buildings, and provide more comfortable and productive places in which to live, work, and learn. The overall roadmapping effort has engaged more than 500 industry leaders and has created government/industry plans for helping design the buildings of the 21st century.