The Creative Research Lab (CRLab) at Montana State University has completed the REHAU Montana ecosmart house in Bozeman, a residential research project that will explore how a variety of building systems can best be integrated to optimize energy efficiency, comfort, and life-cycle costs.
Led by program director Terry Beaubois and sponsored by building products manufacturer REHAU, the house will be monitored for two years of occupancy to measure system performance. Real-time data results and a post-occupancy evaluation will be available for review at www.montanaecosmart.com.
The house features 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; SIPs; and insulating concrete forms.
The project offers a unique opportunity for building system testing and evaluation in order to determine optimal system selection and integration, according to Kitty Saylor, REHAU North America CEO.
To achieve this, the house includes a number of redundant systems, including those for cooling and fresh air intake, which can be examined for both independent and integrated performance. Research will focus not only on system optimization, but also foster analysis on such considerations as resale value, insurance premiums, and other elements of a home’s worth based on the incorporation of these systems.