PJ’s Plumbing & Heating President Pat McMullen describes the ecosmart house’s radiant heating and cooling features to the media. Photo credit: Bob Miodonski/Plumbing & Mechanical.

PJ’s Plumbing & Heating in Belgrade, Mont., installed some of the first radiant heating systems in the state, PJ’s PresidentPat McMullensaid. Still, the REHAU Montana ecosmart house in nearby Bozeman represents a series of firsts for the contractor.

“We haven’t done radiant cooling before this job,” he said April 19 during a media event at the house, which is nearing completion. A grand opening was held the following day. “This is one of our first geothermal projects to use PEX. We’ve done deep-well geothermal before, but we haven’t done shallow wells. We do mostly vertical drilling for geothermal rather than horizontal. These are exciting times for us with new geothermal and radiant products from REHAU.”

PJ’s put in the solar thermal system as well. “We like solar because we like free energy,” McMullen added.

The 3,800-sq.-ft., three-bedroom house, which broke ground in September 2010, represents a collaboration among REHAU, other manufacturing partners, Montana State University and local construction companies. Plumbing & Mechanical featured the house in itsSeptember 2011 cover story.

Over a four-year period, this living laboratory will study how sustainable building products and systems can best be integrated for optimal energy consumption, comfort and life-cycle costs. The home also contains a fire sprinkler system.

“We wanted to make this a continuing learning project,” saidBill Hoy, REHAU’s director of strategic building development and MSU alumnus. Hoy, who owns the property, will move into the house with his family after an initial two-year research period.

Visitwww.montanaecosmart.comfor more information.