A workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation that united many professionals and researchers from both the construction and the environmental fields to outline initial recommendations regarding the interaction of the built environment with the natural environment to develop research foci for a sustainable future. The workshop entitled Construction and the Environment: Research Foci for a Sustainable Future produced a final report identifying three main research focus areas:

  1. 1.

    Data collection and monitoring of the impact and effectiveness of sustainable construction with the development of ubiquitous sensors and monitoring devices.

  2. 2.

    Development of improved or novel construction materials with a focus on the full life-cycle of these materials. Included with this would be a national program for information collection and dissemination.

  3. 3.

    Development of decision making tools and models. These models should include both sustainable designs incorporating human factors and also models representing the interactions between the natural and built environment. The intention is to develop methods that reduce negative interactions and promote positive ones.

All these research foci must include a widespread educational component and should embrace substantial collaborative efforts between the social, physical and applied sciences and engineering communities, as well as the construction industry, government agencies and regulatory communities.

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