Passive House 3.0: A Series | Part 4/4 and Conclusion

Part 4 | Outreach

The fourth and final part of the Passive House Series is about outreach and our ongoing mission to educate our community. As we began our work on PH03, we as a class identified our primary and secondary goals for the semester.  Our primary goal was to complete a high performance, retrofit study with the aim to be capable of PHIUS baseline, net zero ready, and/or Living Building Challenge standards. Our secondary goal was to market and raise public awareness of the overarching goals and initiative of high performance homes in cold climates. 

Marketing and educating were things that hadn’t gotten much attention in the first two Passive House designs. Most of the marketing done for the South Dakota Passive House Initiative was with PH01. PH01 is the only house fully built by the department, while PH02 and PH03 are mere digital designs. Our semester looked a little different due to COVID and that’s what really gave us a push to think about how we can reach people online. 

SDState Website

We were faced with two main questions, “ How were we going to market and educate and to whom?” A website was the first idea that came to mind, COVID friendly and accessible to a range of people. We looked through many options and decided that the best place to start was on the school website. A page had already been established for the SD Passive House Initiative (SDPHI), however it lacked a great deal of information and hadn’t been updated since PH01. After meeting with websupport, a map on how the new website would be formatted was produced and approved by the class. The homepage for the SDPHI features a brief overview of our program and the grant we received, it then has links to digital archives for each house as well as a diagram explaining “What is Passive House?” and the five principles that make a passive house. Each house is linked on the homepage with one of these callouts. By clicking on any of these boxes viewers are able to see each passive house project in its entirety. All the presentation posters from each project were reformatted and organized into categories to be placed on the website. The new website now only allows a number of more people to learn about the things we’re doing here regarding passive house, but also acts as a digital archive for past and future projects.

Cinematic Animation

The other original idea of marketing PH03 through media was using virtual reality. We were thinking the public may begin to “feel” the spaces they are in through a VR headset. The team discussed creating an interactive digital environment where people may click on a wall and a diagram of the wall layers would present itself. However, each student had their role in developing PH03 (seen in conclusion below), and there were few working on the VR aspect. Because of this and the learning of intricate programs, like Unreal Engine 4, the interactive digital environment was turned into a simple animation that toured the PH03 design. This animation may be seen in the website.

With the animation and the website’s content, the public may view every part worked on and developed by our team.

You can visit the website at:


PH03 was a team effort of nine students and a faculty member. With this effort, we reached some and are working on other goals to:

  • Design a high performance, retrofit study with the aim to be capable of PHIUS certification.
  • Market and raise public awareness of high performance retrofit homes in cold climates using social media.
  • Relate the house design to the neighborhood while exhibiting observable changes due to performance.

Now, from PH01 to PH03 there is a buildup of knowledge relating to high performance houses in Brookings, SD and other cold climates. Who is ready for Passive House 4.0?

Workflow chart by Becca Ymker

By: Becca Ymker and Autumn Schlomer

Becca Ymker is a 4th-year architecture student at South Dakota State University. She acts as the social media chair of SDSU’s AIAS chapter. Becca will be finishing up her undergraduate this spring and continuing on to get her M. Arch at SDSU in the fall. 

3 Replies to “Passive House 3.0: A Series | Part 4/4 and Conclusion”

  1. These are great case studies. I would like to see a design comparison and Therm model with ICF Concrete Construction. Perhaps 4.0?

Leave a Reply