The year 2011 is drawing to a close, and a short reflection back on our first few months in the New Norris House reveals what we learned and what happened during that time. Similar to any new residence, there was a period of familiarizing ourselves to the house and the systems inside it. Some things in the house were brand new to us (the heating and cooling units, the rainwater cisterns, the solar hot water, and the small refrigerator and freezer), while others were familiar but required an adjustment (low flow faucets and shower, cabinet and storage configurations, and the furniture).
cistern in the backyard (on flickr)
The house was ready for occupancy on July 1, and the finishing touches were completed throughout July and August. We set up our post office box and internet service, and enjoyed meeting people who came by for house tours over the 4th of July weekend. Students wrapped up their work on the yard and rainwater garden, and seeded the lawn. Kinks with fluctuating water temperature in the shower were worked out, and the solar hot water heater was installed. Railings on the deck and entry were leveled and secured. Temperature and humidity sensors were installed throughout the house. We became familiar with the air conditioning unit manual as we figured out the ideal way to run the systems in the summer heat.
the house in december (on flickr)
The official ribbon cutting ceremony for the house was in August, and hundreds of people attended and toured the house. Also that month, there were multiple media events to promote the finished project within the Norris and Knoxville areas, and at the University of Tennessee as well. Professors Tricia Stuth and Bob French, along with the student researchers and other student participants, have been a pleasure to work with during this experience. We’ve appreciated their patience with us while we went through learning about the house.
In the next six months, we’re looking forward to some new activities, including starting a garden in the raised beds in the backyard and exploring more of the Norris area. Until then, we wish you a Happy New Year!
Learn more about our project at www.thenewnorrishouse.com.
The New Norris House is a design/build effort from the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design. Began in 2009, the home was designed and built by UT students in collaboration with Clayton Homes. The built project is now complete and the final phase of the project has begun. A team of 4 people (2 living in the home, and 2 graduate researchers) will rigorously document the experience via qualitative assessments and quantitative measurements, posting results to this blog.