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Net Zero Urban Village coming to South Cumminsville

Sister Barbara Busch.jpg
Ann Thompson
Executive Director of Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) Sister Barbara Busch stands on one of the vacant lots where the nonprofit will build a net zero home.

Fifty homes in South Cumminsville will be among the greenest in the city. The non-profit Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) is building a Net Zero Urban Village there.

Twenty-five of the homes are new construction or renovation on vacant and foreclosed lots for first-time homebuyers who are between 80% and 120% of the Area Median Income. The other 25 are retrofits of existing homes owned by seniors in the neighborhood.

“It came out of the request of our neighbors who said, ’You know, we really need to do something about these vacant lots and we have our seniors who have issues,' " says WIN Executive Director Sister Barbara Busch.

Busch says South Cumminsville has a 52% homeownership rate of single family homes and the largest African American homeowner community in the city of Cincinnati.

South Cumminsville.jpg
Ann Thompson

WIN has finished retrofitting 15 of the 25 senior homes. It has financing for seven of the 25 new construction single-family homes and expects to break ground in January.

The homes will be net zero or near net zero and include these features and more:

  • Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
  • Solar-ready to provide electricity throughout the house
  • Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems
  • Greenguard Gold certified paint and carpet
  • Ability to heat and cool only the rooms homeowners need

WIN has embraced sustainability since the late 1980s.

“We don’t want to be behind the curve,” says Sister Busch. “We’d like to be ahead of the curve. And one of the reasons I wanted to do this is it will help our children to understand there are opportunities for jobs in the alternative energy field.”

The Net Zero Urban Village is south of I-74, east of Beekman, down to I-75 and back to the Mill Creek.

Groundbreaking on the first new homes in the Net Zero Urban Village are scheduled for January.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology