Cincinnati Scholar House Wins National USGBC 2021 LEED Homes Awards

USGBC LEED Award Outstanding Affordable Project

MSP Design is excited to announce that the Cincinnati Scholar House (CSC) project has won TWO awards from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) at the 2021 LEED Homes Awards on July 14, 2021. CSC won for Outstanding Affordable Project category and received an honorable mention for the Project of the Year category.

“Cincinnati Scholar House is an important project because it not only fulfills an important social need but also demonstrates that affordable housing can reach the highest level of sustainability,” said Emily Lubbers, MSP Project Architect. “It is such an honor and very rewarding to win the USGBC LEED Homes Outstanding Affordable Project and also receive an honorable mention for Project of the Year. These awards prove that you can achieve affordability and sustainability without sacrificing design.”

LEED Elements

CSC is a 63,000 sq. ft., 44-unit affordable housing development that opened in July of 2020. It provides subsidized housing and support services to single parents pursuing post-secondary education. Along with housing, it also provides a five-star rated on-site child development center serving CSC residents as well as the surrounding community. Based on the Kentucky Housing Corporation Scholar House model, it aims to break the cycle of poverty by investing in educational opportunities for two generations, parents and children.

With a focus on serving as a community partner and creating a sustainable facility, CSC chose the transitional neighborhood of Walnut Hills as its location. As a result of the development team’s sustainable planning, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded the project LEED Platinum status, its highest achievable level, in October of 2020. As noted on the USGBC website, CSC’s LEED practices included:

  • Infill site with direct access to public transit and community amenities
  • Healthy indoor environment through the use of low emitting interior materials and commissioning third-party testing and balancing of the fresh air and exhaust system to ensure compliance with design standards
  • Energy efficiency
    • Resulted in a reduction in resident utility bills
    • Achieved a 23% reduction from its ASHRAE baseline by incorporating an efficient envelope and mechanical systems.
  • On-site management of 100% of rainwater via vegetation selection and infiltration features
  • 93% diversion of construction waste from landfills
  • Material-efficient framing
  • Water-efficient plumbing fixtures

CSC is the result of public-private partnerships that included Cincinnati Union Bethel (CUB) and Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) as co-owners, Christ Church Cathedral as fundraising partner, Model Group for development and construction. MSP Design served as project architect. In May of 2021, CSC celebrated its first graduate!

See additional Cincinnati Scholar House photos here.