USGBC Georgia / Athens Area Habitat for Humanity
Design Competition — Green Affordable Housing
Request for Proposals

The US Green Building Council Georgia and the Athens Area Habitat for Humanity are pleased to present the following design brief for a low cost and sustainable “Green Affordable Housing” project. We invite architects, urban planners, engineers, developers, students and other design professionals to submit innovative solutions in response to this call for proposals.

The winning design will receive a prize of $1,000 sponsored by SK Collaborative.

Contest Details


Rural-to-urban migration and natural population growth in urban centers over the past decades has resulted in a dramatic “urbanization” of North America’s geopolitical landscape. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 71.2 percent of the U.S. population resided in areas with 50,000 or more people, with the 48 largest urban areas accounting for more than half of the U.S. urban population. This rapid population growth in metropolitan areas has resulted in a severe scarcity of housing stock, a veritable “housing crisis” that most acutely impacts lower-income households. Without proactive implementation of affordable housing plans in urban centers, unchecked growth will have detrimental effects on the long-term livability and health of our communities. (Source:

Green buildings are helping American families by reducing resource consumption and utility bills, and have the capacity to create healthy living environments. USGBC believes access to the benefits of sustainable, high performance buildings should be available to all, regardless of income. (source:

Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We seek to put God’s love into action, by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Founded in Americus, Georgia, in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has helped build, renovate, and repair more than 1 million decent, affordable houses sheltering more than 5 million people worldwide. Habitat’s long-term dream is to eradicate housing projects around the world, and to replace them with solid, single-family homes built hand-in-hand by volunteers and the future owners themselves.

Athens Area Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1988 based on this mission. We are dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide by:

  • Constructing homes
  • Rehabilitating and preserving homes
  • Advocating for fair and just housing policies
  • Providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions

In order to become homeowners, qualifying families work side by side with volunteers during construction, renovations, and repairs to cut costs and then families must repay the cost of building their home with no interest charge. 100% of the mortgage payments go back towards the funding of future Habitat houses.

For these reasons, we are seeking a design for a house to be built by Habitat for Humanity in Athens, Georgia.



  • All USGBC members and non-members are eligible and encouraged to participate.
  • Team submissions will be groups of not more than ten members per entry.
  • Designs submitted by students must be the work of the students, but guidance may come from the faculty/project advisor and must be accurately acknowledged.
  • Design projects that are used as part of an organized classroom requirement are eligible and encouraged for competition.
  • More than one design may be submitted.

Submission Requirements


This house should incorporate the following design elements:

  • Eligible for certification under the LEED v4 for Homes standard
  • Between 600 and 800 square feet of floor space
  • Acceptable floorplans include 1 bed / 1 bath, or 2 bed / 1 bath
  • The total cost of build should be within the range of $60-$100/sq ft
  • The home should use a crawl space foundation.

Deliverables (minimum drawing requirements; must be to scale):

  • Site plan (Standard flat infill lot approx. 50′ x 100′)
  • Floor plan
  • All 4 exterior elevations

Proposal submission via email to sbuso@usgbc.orgApril 6 2018 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)

  • Submissions should include a cover letter
  • Drawings should be 24×36 or archD format
  • Designs will be scored blind so drawings should not have names



  • RFP Released — December 1, 2017
  • Proposal submissions via email to — No later than April 6, 2018 (by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • Judging Panel Review — April 9-30, 2018
  • Announcement of Winners (via email) — May 1, 2018 (by 11:59 pm Eastern Time)

Basis for Judging


The USGBC Athens Branch Leadership Group and Athens Habitat for Humanity committee that developed this RFP will serve as the judges of the final reports. The committee will evaluate the reports using the categories and scoring listed below. The judges reserve the right to not award all three places. Judges’ decisions are final.

Technical Content (35 points)

This concerns the correctness of the application of LEED principles, validity of reasoning used, apparent understanding and grasp of the subject, etc. Are all major factors considered and reasonably accurate evaluation of these factors presented?

Organization and Presentation (20 points)

The description of the design as an instrument of communication is a strong factor in judging. Organization of written design, clarity, and inclusion of pertinent information are major factors.

Originality (20 points)

The design proposal should avoid standard textbook information, and should show independence of thinking or a fresh approach to the project. Does the method and treatment of the problem show imagination? Does the approach show an adaptation or creation of automated design tools?

Practical Application and Feasibility (25 points)

The proposal should present conclusions or recommendations that are feasible and practical, and not merely lead the evaluators into further difficult or insolvable problems. Cost reduction strategies and ease of volunteer building will be considered as relevant.



The top three design teams will be awarded certificates. The top scoring design will receive an award of $1,000.



The following resources may be used by the teams:



All submissions to the competition shall be the original work of the team members.

Authors retain copyright ownership of all written works submitted to the competition. By virtue of participating in the competition, team members and report authors grant USGBC Georgia and Athens Area Habitat for Humanity non-exclusive license to reproduce submissions, in whole or in part, for all of USGBC Georgia and Athens Area Habitat for Humanity current and future print and electronic uses. Appropriate acknowledgment will accompany any reuse of materials.

Conflict of Interest


It should be noted that it shall be considered a conflict of interest for a design professor to write or assist in writing RFPs and/or judging proposals submitted if (s)he will have students participating in, or that can be expected to participate in those competitions. A design professor with such a conflict must refrain from participating in the development of such competition RFPs and/or judging any proposals submitted in such competitions.