LEESBURG, Va., May 10, 2012 – Nearly 100 attendees were present at the official grand opening of the REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house, a near net-zero residential modeling and construction project located in Bozeman, Mont. Representatives from REHAU and the 38 North American building industry business and associations involved in the project, as well as those from Montana State University (MSU), gathered at the house on Friday, April 20 to celebrate the completion of the project’s construction phase.
Attendees participated in tours throughout the three levels of the home, including its innovative and sophisticated mechanical room. “I think it really becomes clear when you see all the components in the mechanical room that this project is unique and impressive,” said Bill Johansen, director of construction services for REHAU North America. “There’s been so much innovation and collaboration during the construction of this house, and that becomes visually evident upon taking the tour.”
Sponsored by REHAU and led by the Creative Research Lab (CRLab) at MSU, the REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house 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, which included research, design and construction of a residence located in Bozeman, will now advance into a two-year period of system performance and research led by mechanical engineering department at MSU and involving several participating product manufacturers.
Presentations at the grand opening were given by: Terry Beaubois, director of the MSU CRLab; Dr. Kathleen Saylor, CEO of REHAU North America; Bill Hoy, director of strategic business development, construction for REHAU; Michael Stevenson, CEO of the MSU Alumni Foundation; Tom McCoy, VP of research at MSU; and Mike Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund.
"The grand opening was a milestone event in the life of this important research project,” Beaubois said. “The response we’re receiving is tremendously positive – from those who appreciate the home’s design elements to the many who understand the importance of testing and measuring the home’s various building and mechanical systems,” he said. “There also seems to be a high level of awareness of the teamwork behind the project; the coming together of academia and industry to make great strides in green building research."
According to Mike Phillips, the REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house project provides a model for creating greater harmony between the built and natural environments. “The technology nested in this house is an example of what is necessary to change our future,” Phillips said. “It’s up to us to make the choices, to be involved, if this change is going to happen.”
Adam Hawks, an MSU graduate and mechanical designer for Energy 1, commented on the importance of the project’s evaluation period. “With testing conditions that include both pre- and post-occupancy evaluation scenarios, we’ll be able to assess which technologies truly function best in a residential application such as this, given the area’s climate conditions as well as a host of other variables,” he said.
“There are a number of things that make this project remarkable – certainly not the least of which is the technology,” said Kitty Saylor. “But equally remarkable has been the opportunity the project has provided to get our partners and, in particular, MSU students and faculty, involved in an effort of true collaboration.”
Kevin Amende, P.E., assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology at MSU, said that the opportunity presented to students involved in the project is invaluable. “Multidisciplinary projects like this allow students to interact with industry professionals while exposing them to real-world challenges that require them to apply the knowledge they’re learning through course work,” he said. “This practical experience will better enable them to make contributions earlier in their professional careers than perhaps they would without the experience.”
To view the complete list of products and systems included in the house and garner updated information on the progress of research at the REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house, log on to www.montanaecosmart.com.
For additional information on REHAU’s comprehensive line of sustainable and integrated building solutions, visit www.na.rehau.com/construction, or contact REHAU: 1501 Edwards Ferry Rd., N.E., Leesburg, Va., 20176. Phone: 1.800.247.9445. Fax: 1.800.627.3428. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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