First Certified Passive House in South Dakota Incorporates EPS Foam Insulation

EPS Insulation manufactured by Benchmark Foam, a mere 50 miles away from Passive House jobsite

Certified passive house projects account for more than 1200 buildings nationwide, but the first of its kind is nearing completion in South Dakota. Located at 902 3rd Ave. in Brookings, the project started after the South Dakota State University Department of Architecture received a grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The objective was to integrate U.S. Passive House Standards into the design, development and construction of the first passive house in South Dakota.

After the design was completed by student-led teams, construction began last fall under the watchful eye of Dusten Hendrickson of Brookings Built Green, the general contractor of the project. Working closely with the SDSU Department of Architecture, teams have rigorously tested the structure to ensure its performance complies with passive building requirements. According to Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), passive building comprises of a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. To summarize, “maximize your gains, minimize your losses.”

To achieve the energy efficiency specified by PHIUS+, it used expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation from Benchmark Foam in various locations of the single-family home, including 12″ of sub-slab insulation. The exterior boasts more than 8″ of continuous insulation, which is one of the principles of passive building. The roof of the 2000-sq.ft. home offers an R-Value of more than 100. In comparison, most single-family homes in the same region are less than half of that, according to Energy Star.

The Brookings passive house is scheduled to be completed by late summer/early fall and can expect to be continuously tested for ongoing energy efficiency performance.

To learn more about the Benchmark Foam products used in the first certified passive house in South Dakota, contact our team at 800-658-3444 or






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