Students design passive house that is 90-per-cent more energy efficient

A passive house designed by students in South Dakota is pioneering 21st-century energy efficiency standards. Passive House 01 is not only 90-per-cent more energy efficient than a similar house, but it is also the first in its region to sell energy back to the grid.

Passive House 01, a home certified under the high-performance Passive House (PHIUS) standard, was designed by architecture students at South Dakota State University. The project was led by architects Robert Arlt and Charles MacBride to serve as a “case study house for the 21st century”, according to an article on

The architects said that the home is not only 90 per cent more efficient than a similar house built to the code, but is also the first in the region to sell energy back to the grid. The 2,000-square-foot airtight home has three bedrooms and is constructed mainly from cross-laminated timber.

To meet net-zero energy targets, the team installed a 3.6 kWh solar system atop the garage, writes the article. Thanks to shading on its south side, Passive House 01 is oriented for passive solar. It also features quadruple-paned insulating glazing while energy-efficient fixtures and appliances help minimize energy use. The project won an AIA South Dakota Honor design award in 2019.

Photo credit: South Dakota State University

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