A New Norris House

Starting in the studio, students led by professors Tricia Stuth and Bob French conceived a house that would be energy efficient and incorporate an innovative water purification system that captures rainwater and uses the designed landscape to purify graywater.

From the New Deal to a new way of living, A New Norris House brings sustainability one step closer.

In 1932, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt launched the New Deal to pull America out of the Great Depression. One of the initiatives was an aggressive building program across the country, including a new dam in Norris, Tennessee, and a progressive, planned community in Norris designed by Tennessee Valley Authority.

Seventy-five years later, the need for affordable and sustainable housing is even more vital to our nation, so students and faculty embarked on A New Norris House.

Started in 2008 and completed in 2011, A New Norris House became one of the first in Tennessee to earn LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, with many national awards to follow.

Throughout this entire process, we gained knowledge that will get us closer to making sustainable homes more affordable and within the reach of the consumer.

Tricia Stuth, Professor of Architecture

A New Norris House features a rainwater collection system, an extensive native landscape, efficient heating and cooling equipment and environmentally friendly materials.

Research of its sustainable water systems involved collecting and treating rainwater for in-home and landscape use, infiltrating graywater on site and managing 100% of the site’s stormwater. The research produced new conversations about regulations in Tennessee and prompted revisions to city and state policies concerning permissible residential rainwater and graywater uses.

Students from all schools in our college collaborated across UT and industry, working with UT Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, College of Engineering, Department of Environmental Studies, Alliance for Women Philanthropists and Science Alliance, as well as industry partners, Clayton, Environmental Protection Agency, Johnson & Galyon Inc. Contractors, General Shale, TVA, Home Energy Basics and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The project earned the American Society of Landscape Architects Professional Award and was named one of the nation’s “Top 10 Green Projects” in 2013 by the Committee on the Environment of the American Institute of Architects. It also won the 2013 Design Build Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, a 2012 Residential Architect Merit Award for Single-Family Housing, the 2011 Prize for Creative Integration of Practice and Education from the National Council of Architectural Registration Board and the 2009 Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity and the Planet Sustainable Design Competition.