Samantha Castro

USGBC Kentucky toured an affordable housing project in Louisville that is seeking to achieve LEED for Neighborhood Development.

On June 16, USGBC Kentucky community members gathered for a tour of Louisville’s Sheppard Square, Kentucky’s first affordable housing project to seek LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND) status.

Norma Ward, of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority, with the help of Chris Zitelli, of Ecos Materials and Services, provided an informative presentation on the initial planning of the site and the fundamentals of the project. A $22 million HUD HOPE VI Revitalization grant was awarded in 2011, and with an additional $75 million in public and private funds, construction began in earnest in 2012. The project includes over 300 total units, with a mix of affordable housing, market-rate rentals and owner-occupied units.

Sheppard Square

Sheppard Square Hope VI Revitalization. Photo credit: Samantha Castro.

One of the most interesting pieces of the project was the rehabilitation of the historic Presbyterian Community Center. This building long acted as the heart of the community, so in preparing for the revitalization project, the city of Louisville and the project’s designers, Sherman Carter Barnhart and Urban Design Associates, knew that it would be critical to maintain the historic building as an element of continuity. Today, the building provides special rental units for veterans, the elderly and people with disabilities. Also, it will be the future site of a large community hall (currently being restored). The addition includes a green roof that has taken off in just a year’s time and which features spectacular views of the city.

Tour participants learned that all of the residential units were constructed according to Enterprise Green Community (EGC) standards, showing significant health, economic and environmental benefits to families at all income levels. This is in addition to the requirements for a community to be certified as LEED ND, which includes elements such as walkability, access to transit, water conservation and access to open space.

Community center green roof

View from the green roof of the Presbyterian Community Center to Downtown Louisville. Photo credit: Samantha Castro.

Green elements of Sheppard Square

  • Around 75 percent of demolition materials were either recycled or reused on site.
  • Solar power is harvested through PVC panels on several of the buildings.
  • Recycling is collected, and organic waste is composted at stations throughout the neighborhood.
  • Solar tubes provide light to interior hallways or rooms with no window access, lowering electric bills.
  • Hard surfaces are pervious to rainwater, including some of the parking areas.
  • Electric charging stations are provided throughout the neighborhood.
  • Energy Star appliances and compliant roofing and pavement are used throughout.
  • Only native and adaptive plantings were selected for landscaping, in conjunction with water-efficient irrigation systems.
  • All residents are able to sign up for plots in the local community garden.

All residents are provided a manual about their new home and the community and given training on these new green features, so they can better understand the sustainable features of their homes and how they can be active participants in elements like the composting program.

Learn more about Sheppard Square