snow in the backyard
The weather in Norris this winter has felt almost spring-like, with the exception of the past week. Temperature highs have been in the low to high 50s, and the forecast for the coming week is for more of the same—highs in the mid 50s and lows in the 30s and 40s. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, Tennessee’s winter this year is going to be very mild and very wet.
map available here
But back to the past week. Outside, the temperatures dropped into the 30s for the highs and into the 20s for the lows, and we received about an inch of snow over a two day period. We drove to campus the day after the Norris snowfall, and noticed there was no snow in Knoxville. Norris is about 1085’ in elevation, and Knoxville is about 890’, according to non-scientific measurements taken from Google Earth. While this isn’t a significant difference in elevation, the Norris/Clinton area sits on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau and the weather patterns here are different than those in Knoxville (more information here).
norris is around the 'e' in plateau (original map here)
While it was cold outside over the past week, we had our first chance to experience what it’s like inside the house during much colder temperatures. The house is very airtight, which means no cold air rushing in through gaps in windows—a welcome change from the unsealed windows in the historic building where we lived in downtown Knoxville. The heaters in the living area and swing space keep the living space warm, but we’re not using the bedroom heater. The bedroom is an enclosed area with a standard height ceiling, and stays warm enough that heat isn’t needed even at night. The loft is the warmest area in the house because it benefits from the rising heat; it’s a couple degrees warmer than the main floor.
view from the picture window at the front of the house
The short winter preview has given us an idea of what to expect inside the house when (if?) the temperatures drop again. As for more snow, time will tell if the Almanac is right and we receive more rain in the coming months instead.
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.