MSU Alumni team up to build local ‘green’ home

By DAVID HOY/Montana State News

Two Montana State University graduates have teamed up to bring sustainability like never before to a home in Bozeman.

Several years ago Bill Hoy and Kathleen Saylor, North American CEO of REHAU, a German based sustainable building technologies firm, met through mutual friends. After realizing they both graduated from MSU, they began to brainstorm about possible funding for a project Hoy was working on in Bozeman.

Several years later the REHAU Montana Eco Smart project was up and running.

The two main components of the house project are geothermal ground loop exchange and radiant heating and cooling.

The geothermal ground loop exchange involves five wells drilled in the back yard of the house. Several of the wells reach depths of 300 feet. Essentially utilizing the Earth’s constant 50 degree temperature, water is pumped through tubes located in the floor, ceiling and walls throughout the house.

This base temperature saves costs on heating and air conditioning compared to typical homes. According to REHAU’s website,, “This residential construction and research project aims to expand the industry’s body of knowledge regarding environmental and human sustainability.”

The research is being done by the Creative Research Lab (CRLab) of MSU, headed by Terry Beaubois. The leading team of researchers are MSU students. Architecture and engineering students have been involved with the project since the initial design and will continue to monitor the house for three years after its completion.

Through the CRLab on campus, over 300 sensors will be examined to determine the most efficient use of systems involved in the project.

Completion of the house is projected for April. To learn more about the project and its additional sponsors, visit the projects website at

Edited by Dezri Rochin.

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