The Rehau Eco Smart House is a project sponsored by Rehau, an international manufacturer of polymer based innovations and systems. The Creative Research Lab (CRLab) of Montana State University in Bozeman assisted in the design and is monitoring the house, utilizing the lab supervisor and several students from the university to gather comparative research data from the experimental house. The project uses numerous sustainable systems and materials throughout the house, aiming to compare these different options and use the comparisons to expand the knowledge base of the industry regarding environmental and human sustainability. In addition to sustainable mechanical systems and products, the house incorporates the concept of human sustainability with elements such as telemedicine and advancements in human comfort and accessibility.
Technologies throughout the residential construction include geothermal ground loop heat exchange, ground-air heat exchange, solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, vinyl window and door design, hybrid curtain wall, radiant heating and cooling, and tambour cabinetry for accessibility. Sunlight responsive thermo-chromic glazing was also installed, having innovative technology to automatically tint the window glazing when in the path of direct sunlight, but adjusting to no tint and allowing full daylight to be brought in on cloudy or overcast days. A thermal storage heat sink was also installed, capturing heat throughout the year and storing it under the patio in the ground to then use for winter heating and snow and ice melting. The construction of the residence utilized insulating concrete forms (ICFs) on the first floor and structural insulated panels (SIPs) on the second floor and roof. Together, these systems create a tight building with limited air leaks, providing better occupant air condition and less heat transfer through materials. Multi-generational living was also a primary design consideration to accommodate three generations in one house. To achieve this, the team designed an elevator, no door thresholds, smooth flooring materials, and telemedicine communication technology throughout the house so that accessibility was not an issue for the family.
For more information about the various technologies mentioned or any other information regarding the Rehau Eco Smart House, click here.