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REHAU Breaks Ground on Ecosmart House Project

The REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house project began today with the official groundbreaking in Bozeman, Mont. 

The REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house

The REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house project began today with the official groundbreaking in Bozeman, Mont. Sponsored by REHAU and led by the Creative Research Lab (CRLab) at Montana State University (MSU), the residential modeling and construction project aims to exhibit the possibilities of maximized energy efficiency and occupant comfort through a combination of the latest sustainable building products and systems.

The three-year project includes research, design and construction of the Bozeman residence, followed by a two-year period when the house will be monitored for system performance and research. Once the house is completed, ongoing construction updates and a virtual 3D model of the house will be accessible on its Web site.

“We began this residential design and planning project as both an ongoing, real-world learning and teaching tool for our students, and as a source of valuable data for those in the construction industry looking for the best ways to meet the latest LEED, NAHB and IBEC certification standards,” said Terry Beaubois, director of the CRLab at MSU. “After a year of planning and design, it is so exciting for all involved to see the project now moving into the construction phase.” 

The house will feature a number of sustainable building technologies, including: 
  • geothermal ground loop heat exchange
  • ground-air heat exchange
  • radiant heating and cooling
  • solar thermal energy for hot water and photovoltaic (PV) for electricity
  • vinyl window and door designs, including a hybrid curtain wall system
  • structural insulated panels
  • and insulating concrete forms
It will also include disability-oriented design features such as an elevator and tambour cabinet doors, as well as elements to address such human sustainability considerations as telemedicine and aging-in-place.

“The REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house is a unique and authentic showcase of both the present and future possibilities in sustainable building,” said Dr. Kitty Saylor, REHAU North America CEO. “It demonstrates how optimized energy efficiency and occupant comfort can be achieved through thoughtful building practices.”

The project will also be able to determine optimal system selection and integration by including a number of redundant systems, including those for cooling and fresh air intake. These will be examined for both independent and integrated performance. Research will focus not only on system optimization, but also aspects as resale value, insurance premiums and other elements of a home’s worth based on the incorporation of these systems.  

  Once constructed, the house will be owned and occupied by an alumnus of the MSU School of Architecture. Research and data collection will continue through occupancy to monitor everyday system functionality, and the CRLab will administer a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) and make real-time data results available for review on  


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