Affordable Housing & Sustainability

South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) was created by the South Dakota Legislature in 1973 with a stated mission to provide decent, safe, and affordable housing to low and moderate income South Dakotans. SDHDA is a self-supporting, non-profit entity. SDHDA utilizes housing bonds, tax credits, and other federal and state resources to fund housing programs which provide mortgage and down payment assistance, housing construction and rehabilitation, homelessness prevention, and rental assistance.

Since our creation in 1973, SDHDA has impacted the lives of thousands of South Dakotans. 

  • We’ve helped finance 80,000+ mortgages through our First-time and Repeat Homebuyer Loan program;
  • we’ve helped construct thousands of new rental units through our multifamily development division using state and federal programs; and
  • we’ve constructed over 2500 Governor’s Houses for low and moderate income South Dakotans while training thousands of inmates with useful skills at the Mike Durfee State Prison.

It has always been our mission to provide safe, clean and affordable housing opportunities through our development programs. In recent years we started emphasizing, in addition to safe, clean and affordable, the importance of energy efficient and sustainable construction techniques.

Utility costs are often a missing piece in the equation of affordable housing. Utility costs reaching hundreds of dollars per month, are not uncommon for families in South Dakota. This budget busting expense can have a significant impact on working class families.

To address costs, we’ve incentivized modern energy efficient design, smart construction techniques and the use of highly efficient mechanical equipment through scoring mechanisms in the Allocation Plans for our multifamily development finance programs.

We’ve also promoted modern techniques in the construction of homes within the Governor’s House program. The teaching and construction staff that work with the inmates in Springfield are trained in the installation of highly efficient equipment such as Heat Recovery Ventilators, Air Source Heat Pumps, condensing furnaces and the highest efficiency electric water heaters and the importance of modern construction techniques. We use those techniques to teach the inmates and they are incorporated in every Governor’s House. Beyond release, inmates can then use sustainable construction skills and installation knowledge in future employment opportunities.

Buildings and homes constructed with these modern techniques and modern equipment perform better and simply last longer. When using public resources and promoting the construction of affordable housing, it is critical to encourage the development of sustainable and resilient homes while remaining fiscally prudent. We desire housing units that will be clean, safe and viable 10 years from now, 20 years from now and 50 years from now to help solve our critical shortage of affordable housing.

Focusing on creating building envelopes that are both air and water tight to prevent air and moisture intrusion, promoting high levels of insulation through the entire envelope to reduce heating and cooling loads, using highly efficient heating and cooling equipment, building with modern framing techniques that reduce the potential for thermal bridging and encouraging the use of whole house mechanical ventilation that recovers energy serve to help create better and more sustainable living units for South Dakotans.

SDHDA believes so strongly in these principles of resiliency and sustainability that we’ve built the first passive house PHIUS+ 2015 certified single-family home in South Dakota. We’ve incorporated many of the techniques learned in that project to every Governor’s House build.

The PHIUS+ 2015 Governor’s House, located in Britton, will be monitored for energy usage and indoor comfort, including temperature and humidity, and will provide valuable data on performance and resiliency of these techniques.

Governor’s House, Britton, SD.

Additionally, we’ve financed and helped certify the first passive multifamily building in South Dakota. Using a special set-aside of HOME funds and Low Income Housing Tax Credits we’ve helped build Copper Pass, a 30-unit, 32,000 square foot building in west Sioux Falls. This new building, completed in the fall of 2018 also contains significant monitoring equipment. Both to provide data on performance but also provide feedback to the tenants on behavior and its effect on energy usage.

Copper Pass Apartments, Sioux Falls, SD.

SDHDA is hopeful that our focus on efficiency, sustainability and resiliency in design and construction will serve as a small example for everyone in the building industry in our state. 

Together we can build better buildings and help make better lives for all South Dakotans.

Authored by Mike Harsma, Director of the Governor’s House Program. Mike has been in the residential construction industry for 25 year in project sales and management as well as building material manufacturing and distribution. He has been in with SDHDA since 2011, first as a Construction Management Officer in Multi-Family Development and currently as the Director of Single Family Development which includes Governor’s House Program.  He has been at the forefront of many energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives with the Authority and was the first Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) in South Dakota. The Governor’s House program provides an opportunity for low and moderate income South Dakotans to purchase modest homes.  This innovative program is a model for similar programs around the country.  The Program uses inmate labor in a structured training program, simplified design, and centralized bulk material purchasing to provide high quality and energy efficient homes at an affordable Price. Over 2500 South Dakotans have taken advantage of this opportunity since the Programs inception.

2 Replies to “Affordable Housing & Sustainability”

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. I enjoyed reading about the history and future of SDHDA! I also look forward to seeing how the lessons learned on the passive house will continue to impact the evolution of the Governor’s Houses each year.

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