Rehau Holds First Technical Summit at Rehau Montana ecosmart house in Bozeman

Dec. 19, 2011

LEESBURG, VA – Rehau announces completion of its first Rehau Montana ecosmart house technical summit in Bozeman, Mont.  The summit was attended by 38 building industry business and association representatives from across the U.S., as well as those from Montana State University (MSU) and other members of the academic community.  

Sponsored by Rehau and led by the Creative Research Lab (CRLab) at MSU, the Rehau Montana ecosmart house – a 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, which included research, design and construction of a residence located in Bozeman, will advance into a two-year period of system performance and research in early 2012, once construction of the house is complete.  Participants in the two-day summit, held November 3 and 4, collaborated to define parameters for using the house during this period as both a demonstration project for sustainable residential construction, and as a unique research, measurement and data-gathering entity for building product and system performance.

“Our intent in holding this technical summit was to ensure, at the very beginning, that our goals for the Rehau Montana ecosmart house were clearly defined, and that we were accounting for all the ways we are hoping to collect data and measure results regarding system performance and integration, as well as be able to promote the project as a whole to numerous pertinent audiences,” said Bill Johansen, director of Construction Services at Rehau.  “It was invigorating to see so many ideas come to fruition from the cross-disciplinary and collaborative thinking process that ensued, and we’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made in outlining specific areas of focus, as well as designating champions and committees for each of those areas.”

“Participation in the Rehau technical summit presented an exciting opportunity for me to experience the possibilities of making a building energy-efficient through high-end technological applications,” said  University of Utah Professor Jörg Rügemer.  “Applying passive design strategies for high-efficiency buildings with our 125 Haus in Utah, the exploration of effective technological strategies plays an important role for us in our efforts to move the building industry further toward high performance and net zero buildings. The anticipated research outcomes of the Rehau Montana ecosmart house will help the research and design team to better understand the effectiveness of various strategies, with the potential to implement those that are most effective into future residential and small commercial projects by providing hard data, knowledge and cost information to the building industry and building owners. This information will be utilized as an important decision-making tool in the realization of better buildings; and will be an undoubted catalyst in transforming the market toward high-efficiency, high quality houses as a broader standard.”

Summit participants identified six areas of focus for the two-year post-construction phase of the project, which include: building envelope; systems (mechanical/renewable/ventilation/controls/comfort); education, research and lessons learned; technology integration standardization; marketing; and general oversight.  Committees were formed for each area of focus, with a designated leader who will work to recruit additional committee members and outline specific goals over the coming months.

“What began as a simplistic expression of ideas and goals quickly morphed into a highly collaborative design and project development process,” said Leo Crane, project manager at Energy 1 and a participant in the summit.  “Initially approached by Rehau with the uniquely creative idea that is the Rehau Montana ecosmart house project, the underlying goal for the Energy 1 team was to successfully integrate high-efficiency building systems into a residential setting while balancing such elements as life cycle costs, occupant comfort, low energy usage, sustainability and architectural integration.  It was great to see all these efforts come to fruition at the technical summit, and to have the opportunity to engage other industry professionals in this capacity.”     

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