The quest for a sustainable built environment has resulted in dramatic changes in the process of residential construction. The new concepts of an integrated design team, building information modeling, commissioning of the building enclosure, and passive house standards have reached maturity. Global work on development of new construction materials has not changed, but their evaluation is not the same as in the past when each material was considered on its own merits. Today, we look at the performance of a building as a system and on the material as a contributor to this system. The series of white papers—a research overview in building physics undertaken in European and North American researchers—is to provide understanding of the process of design and construction for sustainable built environment that involves harmony between different aspects of the environment, society, and economy. Yet, the building physics is changing. It merges with building science in the quest of predicting building performance, it merges concepts of passive houses with solar engineering and integrates building shell with mechanical services, but is still missing an overall vision. Physics does not tell us how to integrate people with their environment. The authors propose a new term buildings with environmental quality management because the vision of the building design must be re-directed toward people. In doing so, the building physics will automatically include durability of the shell, energy efficiency, and carbon emission and aspects such as individual ventilation and indoor climate control. This article, which is part 1 of a series, deals with materials, and other issues will be discussed in following papers.