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South Dakota Passive House

SD State Seal & Passive House Logo
Impact of the Passive House Building Energy Standard

In 2013, Dennis Daugaard, the Governor of South Dakota, tasked Kristi Honeywell, State Engineer for the State of South Dakota, to research the impact of the international Passive House building energy standard compared to the prevalent LEED Silver standard typically used for State of South Dakota building projects. As such, Kristi Honeywell contacted Intep with questions about the use of the Passive House building energy standard for commercial buildings and we were commissioned to provide a study and report on how Passive House and the current standard of building in South Dakota compare in terms of construction technology, investment cost and life cycle costs.


The basis for our consulting work became the LEED Silver certified “Jackrabbit Grove Residential Hall” expansion project, at the time under construction on the the South Dakota State University campus in Brookings and ultimately provided living quarters for around 800 students. We analyzed the typical architectural design, construction methods, assemblies and systems, as well as the thermal bridging and other building science concerns of the base building, and subsequently outlined what would change to upgrade to the Passive House building energy standard. We then energy modeled both the base building, as well as the Passive House building and provided life cycle cost analysis for both—finding that the initial investment costs would only increase by 10-12% while annuitized annual ownership costs would be the same, or slightly lower. At the same time, we provided a catalogue of tangible and intangible advantages of high-performance building, such as the overall increase in build quality and associated durabiliyt, substatially increased occupuant comfort, reduced carbon-impact and overall improved sustainability.  


We delivered our findings and report personally to the Governor in a workshop, during which we also illustrated the path to adoption of the Passive House building energy standard. 

Key Services Provided
  • Building analysis

  • Schematic architectural design

  • Building science modeling

  • Energy modeling

  • Life cycle cost assessment

  • Standards adoption

  • Education

Project Details
  • Client: State of South Dakota

  • Year: 2013-14

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