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View of PH01:BRK from the southwest.

PH01:BRK is the first undertaking in the Passive House Initiative. In fall of 2016, the sixth year graduate studio along with faculty completed finalized plans for the department's first certified PHIUS+ passive house. The house is approximately 2,000 square foot with 3 bedrooms and bathrooms located in a walkable neighborhood. PH01:BRK offers many firsts in many aspects, two being: the first custom passive and net-zero home in South Dakota and the first building to utilize solar PV in Brookings. Below you can find the students work including house design, mock-ups, energy modeling, site research and a number of other tasks required in completing this project. 

Envelope Assembly


Types of Foundations and Assembly Used in PH01:BRK

Sectional diagram of floating foundation and insulation layers
Sectional diagram of floating foundation with turn down slab for point loads and insulation layers
Air, heat, water, and vapor management layers indicated in exploded sections.

Type of Wall Assembly Used in PH01:BRK

Sectional diagram of wall assembly and insulation layers


Air, heat, water, and vapor management layers indicated in exploded sections.

Type of Roof Assembly Used in PH01:BRK

Sectional diagram of roof assembly and insulation layers
Air, heat, water, and vapor management layers indicated in exploded sections.



Site and Zoning Analysis

This is a figure ground map of Brookings, SD. The drawing is a site analysis diagram combining the figure ground and a usage study. There are three building typologies highlight in the usage diagram. The blue indicates educational facilities and SDSU's campus. Teal indicates the majority of Brookings commercial buildings and bold indicates the majority of the churches located in with-in the city. The red outlines our site and local neighborhood.

Site figure ground indicating commercial, educational and religious locations. Site circulation diagram and climate zoning map.


-Zoning: R-2


  • 2015 International Building Code (IBC)
  • 2015 International Residential Code(IRC)
  • 2015 International Energy Conservation Code(IECC)
  • 2015 International Plumbing Code (IPC)
  • 2015 National Electrical Code (NEC)


  • All work performed, including materials furnished, workmanship and means and methods of construction, shall conform with all applicable requirements and building codes. this includes handicap/ADA regulations, fire department and utility company regulations, safety codes, ordinances and other site specific regulations. 
  • The contractor shall employ laborers and subcontractors who are trained, experienced and completely familiar with the specified work herein. Where, required, work shall be preformed by licensed tradesmen who shall arrange for and obtain all required permits, inspections and sign-offs. The contractor is fully responsible for all subcontractors and their work.


  • Lot 7 and the North 8' lot 8, Block1, Parkdale Home addition to the city of Brookings, Brookings County, South Dakota. 
Site Design

Site Design and Access

Diagram for a north approach garage as well as a south approach garage.



The THERM software is used to analyze the key thermal bridge areas of the Passive house. The main areas of concern are ground connections, second floor to structural framing connections and wall to roof assembly. The typical wall detail is also evaluated. The program supplies a large list of materials with all required calculable properties inputted. After choosing and interior and an exterior boundary and conditions on each side the program calculates the heat flow across the 2-D model creating various graphical outputs to analyze the model.

Wall to Ceiling Analysis
Therm energy models showing the wall to ceiling connection.
Wall to Second Floor Analysis
Therm energy models showing the wall to 2nd floor connection.
Wall to Ground Analysis
Therm energy models showing the wall to ground connection.
Wall with 4" of EPS
Therm energy models showing a wall section with 4" of EPS.
Wall with 6" of EPS
Therm energy models showing a wall section with 6" of EPS.


Area and PHIUS Requirements

The software program WUFI was utilized to analyze the demand and load of both heating and cooling required to condition the house on a yearly basis. Starting with a simple Sketchup model consisting of only exterior wall planes and openings, the model was input into Sketchup along with vast amounts of data, diverse and the climate in the specific area in which the building was being built to the exact wall assemblage. Extensive inputs also included calculating internal loads such as number of occupants, and appliance and light loads which will contribute to heating the house. Working through the extensive list of inputs the program would generate the said calculations informing if the project is within the range of acceptable energy loads and demands set forth by PHIUS.

Floor plans with volume areas and tables with passive house requirements and loads.

Solar Pathfinder


Solar Pathfinder is a solar shading device that the class used to determine the locations of shade on the site throughout the year. To use the Pathfinder, the user sets up the device in the middle of the chosen site and takes a photo of the clear reflective dome, as seen below. The photos taken of the device are then taken into the Solar Pathfinder assistant software that creates a local weather report and a data sheet with the solar location throughout the months in a year.

Solar pathfinder data arranged in charts.


Schematic Design
Student's massing models that lead to the final massing concept.
Active Systems Design 
Active system plans and diagrams.
Awning Design
Three iterations of awning designs for the south side windows.
Courtyard Design
Section of the courtyard design.
Interior Design
Interior palette and multiple renderings showing options.
Custom Stair Design
Design details for the custom stairs built by the students, as well as precedent images.


Student Work
Student model in front of student review.
Full scale foundation, wall, and roof sections.
Students build full scale models of wall sections.
Window section model.
Build Process
Observation of the building process of PH01.
Two second story windows before cladding was placed on the house.
Mechanical running through rafters.
Weather barrier being placed above front entrance overhang.