Cross-Disciplinary Efforts Land New Norris House National Research Award

Sep. 29, 2014

The New Norris House, a sustainable home and landscape designed by UT students and faculty has earned a national Honor Award for Research from the American Society of Landscape Architects. New Norris House

The American Society of Landscape Architects Professional Awards program celebrates the best work in the United States and world and recognizes top public, commercial, residential, institutional, planning and research projects. Recipients are also featured in Landscape Architecture Magazine.

The New Norris House is noted for its integration of sustainable water systems into designed landscapes. The design and subsequent research involved collecting and treating rainwater for in-home and landscape use, infiltrating graywater on site and managing 100 percent of the site’s stormwater.

New Norris HouseThe research was conducted over three years of residency and data collection. Its results produced new conversations about regulations in Tennessee and support revisions to city and state policies concerning permissible residential rainwater and graywater uses, explains Tricia Stuth, associate professor of architecture and the principal investigator of the New Norris House.

“These national awards cross many disciplinary boundaries and are true testaments to the power of interdisciplinary collaboration,” said Stuth.

Stuth credits two key contributors, John Buchanan, assistant professor, who provided the knowledge to help determine when to test, and Valerie Friedmann, who lived in the house and contributed to the research. Friedmann is also an adjunct assistant professor of landscape architecture and project researcher.

The New Norris House goes beyond creation of a model home and landscape. As state and local codes prohibit treated rainwater use in residences, carrying out the New Norris House design required special permission to allow this project. The process included revision to Norris’s ordinances to allow treated rainwater use and started a new regulatory discussion concerning state-issued permitting for residential graywater treatment, Stuth explained.

The project team worked with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for two years to obtain experimental permits for the greywater system that would ensure safe operations and responsible monitoring and data collection. Experimental permits remained in place for the duration of the study.

Stuth described the project as one of “community openness, knowledge, and collaboration,” which involved the Norris Water Commission, the City of Norris, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Building Technologies Research and Integration Center, BRAE/Watts Water Technologies, and UT’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

The project’s success also reflects an interdisciplinary effort at UT that included the College of Architecture and Design, Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, Civil Engineering, and the Water Quality Lab.

This award is the latest accolade the New Norris House has achieved. It was named among 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.

Read more about the history of the New Norris House in Tennessee Today.

Watch the short video below to learn about the rainwater and graywater systems.

C O N T A C T :

Kiki Roeder (865-974-6713, kroeder@utk.edu)

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