Following Sioux Falls Seminary's LEED


In July of 2009, Sioux Falls Seminary, in Sioux Falls, SD, relocated to its current campus, which is anchored by one of the onlyLEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings in the area. Having become a school serving the broader region of South Dakota and neighboring states, as well as over 20 denominations, Sioux Falls needed to expand, while at the same time demonstrating its commitment to environmental stewardship. They chose to build anew and go green.


“It seemed the only choice we could make since we believe the Lord gave us responsibility for his creation,” said President Mike Hagan. “As good stewards, we want to model care for our environment.”


Silver LEED green features of the campus include:


  • Carpet of recycled material tiles – only replace worn areas
  • Building materials – recycled or from 500 mile radius, when possible
  • Natural light
  • Dyed concrete floors – durable and easy to maintain
  • Automatic light switches with sound and motion sensors
  • High efficiency heating and cooling, with auto-shut off in non-used areas
  • CFL bulbs – 80% more efficient
  • Green cleaning - peroxide and chemical-eliminating, electrolysis scrubber
  • Native grass landscaping that does not require watering
  • Durable metal, brick, and concrete external coverings
  • Reflective roof materials for insulation
  • High efficiency window coatings
  • Shower and locker room facilities for biking and walking to campus
  • Bike racks and designated parking for hybrids
  • Hand dryers, automated sinks, and dual flushing toilets in bathrooms
  • Extensive recycling bins
  • Multi-use rooms to reduce total space required for various functions
  • Water run-off management and use
  • Construction waste sorted and recycled for minimum landfill use


Students also have the opportunity to live together at Summit House, a group home in a nearby neighborhood of Sioux Falls, where they can explore a shared commitment to Christian community development and urban missions. Summit House students were inspired by the creation care values inherent in the new Seminary building and are now tending an organic garden, a mini apple orchard, and a chicken coop. They collect rainwater, make compost, opt for bike transportation, and use cloth diapers too. Through these activities students are finding opportunities to connect and share with their neighbors.

“When the seminary made a statement by investing in a green building, Summit House students recognized environmental stewardship as a value for the seminary as a whole, and they have embraced it," said Dr. Jay Moon, Professor of Intercultural Studies at Sioux Falls Seminary.  "One of the four core values of Summit House is Creation Care.”


Rounding out the benefits of the creation care commitment, Sioux Falls Seminary now saves significant amounts of money in energy and maintenance costs. Hence, more resources can be devoted to its core mission.


Story from the GSI Winter Newsletter 2013, written by Elizabeth Freese, with assistance from Shanda Stricherz