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During the years 1971-1975, a number of research programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and performed by Hittman Associates have focused on energy conservation in the residential sector. The performance of these studies has proved timely. The results have been used in constructing national energy policy in the residential sector. The studies have engendered a wide range of discussion on optimal directions for future buildings energy conservation research, embracing the concepts of energy use indexes, demonstration project planning, and more comprehensive life cycle analyses. This paper reviews the methodologies and specialized tools developed in these programs and, more importantly, describes an overall approach to conservation analysis as it relates to public policy. This discussion is limited to single-family housing, though the methodologies were developed for and are applicable to both single-family and multifamily residences.