S.D. Capitol study led to locking windows

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Gear Up Pierre Capitol Building

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Bureau of Administration hopes to save on heating and cooling the South Dakota Capitol by closing the windows.

That’s the explanation Commissioner Scott Bollinger gave Monday to the Legislature’s Executive Board.

Bollinger said there are now locks on windows in the public areas on the third and fourth floors where the Legislature works.

Many steam traps and some steam valves were replaced too. An outside company recommended the changes after studying the building’s temperature swings.

“We hope we can manage it appropriately this winter,” Bollinger said. “We just haven’t had enough to tell us yet.”

The Legislative Research Council offices on the third floor and a cluster of committee rooms on the fourth floor are air-conditioned.

But the Senate and House chambers that dominate the Capitol’s east and west wings aren’t cooled.

“It seemed like it was good this morning, reasonably cool, even,” Representative Steven Haugaard, the House speaker said. The Sioux Falls Republican chairs the Executive Board this year.

Bollinger said a valve in the back of the House chamber was completely inoperable. Under the change, thermostats on fourth-floor radiators should register more heat and therefore make opening windows unnecessary in cold weather, he said.

Representative Spencer Gosch, a Glenham Republican, recommended that at least one window in each of the legislators’ lobbies be kept “openable.”

Bollinger, who answers to Governor Kristi Noem, said energy loss has been significant the past few years.

Haugaard half-joked that lawmakers would keep Bollinger’s number on speed-dial.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Haugaard said. “I think we should figure that out pretty quickly.” 

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