The University of Tennessee recently opened the New Norris House, a 21st-century home that revisits the old Norris community project.  As background, during the Great Depression, the Tennessee Valley Authority built a model community as part of a water works project in Tennessee.  According to the New Norris House site, the old Norris homes were innovative and included electricity and heating systems for the first time in the region.

The New Norris House builds on this history with a prefabricated home, solar hot water, rainwater collection, and all sorts of features that should reward the project team with LEED Platinum certification.

The project is a “living laboratory to measure energy efficiency, natural light, air quality and the effectiveness of an innovative water infiltration and treatment system. The system relies on gardens to treat rainwater and grey water,” according to a recent statement issued by the University.

UT landscape architecture professor Ken McCown and information science graduate student Mary Leverance will live in the 768 square-foot home during the next year to provide tours and help with monitoring efforts.  McCown and Leverance will blog here about their experience living in the home.

Clayton Homes, the company behind this net-zero i-House, assisted with the design and construction of a prefabricated base of the home.  New Norris also has Andersen windows/doors, reclaimed white oak floors, and a random pattern of white cedar board cladding.

The total project cost is guesstimated to be about $300,000 – $400,000, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, which approximates over two years of work with salaries, transportation to and from the site, land costs, site work and installation, etc.

The legal footprint of the home is smaller than the average American home, yet it was designed to live larger with a storage loft, decks, a large outdoor patio space, and an extensive landscape effort. The design won an EPA award in 2009 and a 2011 Prize for Creative Integration of Practice and Education from the National Council of Architectural Registration Board.

[+] More info on the New Norris House from the University of Tennessee.

Credits: Ken McCown (#1, #4), UT (#3), Michael Patrick (#2).