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House That Produces Energy

Architects Robert Arlt and Charles MacBride and a group of students in South Dakota have completed a gabled experimental passive house that they claim is the first in the region to return energy to the grid. As there is currently no statewide energy code that residential buildings in South Dakota must comply with, the project aims to highlight the building possibilities.

According to the team, the 2,000 square meter house is also the first in the region to produce more energy than it consumes. The residence is 90 percent more efficient than a similar house built according to code and is the first house in the area to return energy to the grid. The energy-saving and environmentally friendly details include photovoltaic modules installed on the roof for generating energy, a built-in water heater with a more efficient heat pump and quadruple-glazed windows. There is also a Zehnder HRV (Healthy Climate Heat Recovery Ventilation) system that uses the heat from the stale air leaving the house to warm up the incoming fresh air, reducing energy loss.

The roof is designed to hang over openings on the south facade to provide shade in warm weather. The gutter is built in to reduce heat loss through thermal bridges. All the walls in the house are coated in a white paint with no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), which means it does not contain carbon.

The house also has an eye-catching look; The dark gray fiber cement siding covers the exterior, and the windows and doors are framed in cedar wood. Part of the front of the gabled house is cut away to create a small entrance hall. The sunken entrance is completely clad in cedar wood and has a bright red door. At the rear of the house, an inner courtyard covered with wooden slats connects to the detached garage.

Inside the living and dining areas are double high ceilings for viewing activities on the upper level, including two bedrooms and a loft on the upper level. The master bedroom is on the ground floor.

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