New Norris House opens

With the cut of green ribbon, UT marked the opening of the New Norris House, a nationally recognized model for efficient and sustainable living.
The UT student-led team has worked for more than three years to bring the concept, first conceived in a classroom, to the modern and appealing 750-square-foot structure.
The original Norris houses, first built in 1933, are the centerpiece of the progressive, planned community. The affordable and efficient design is one of many innovations that stemmed from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Norris Dam project.
More than 78 years later, many environmental and economic challenges make the need for affordable and sustainable housing even more vital to our nation, said Tricia Stuth, associate professor of architecture and project manager.
Last year, Clayton Homes worked with the team to design and manufacture a pre-fabricated base of the house. Many additional partners contributed their resources and knowledge.
The project is led by the UT College of Architecture and Design, and its primary participants are the UT Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, the College of Engineering, and the Department of Environmental Studies.
The house is now home to a UT couple: landscape architecture professor Ken McCown and information science graduate student Mary Leverance. For the next year, it is also 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 greywater. The couple will provide feedback about what it is like to live in the home and blog about their experiences at
The New Norris House will also be a source of education and information-sharing and will be used for tours and accreditation workshops for professionals and organizations, including the US Green Building Council.
 Samuel Mortimer, a 2010 UT architecture graduate and now the project’s research associate, has invested many hours to ensure the house is a welcomed asset to the historic community.
Loy Johnson, a member of the Norris City Council, said the house is a welcome addition to the town’s rich history.
The New Norris House will seek LEED-platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council, which will make it just the seventh LEED-platinum home in Tennessee and the first LEED-platinum project for UT Knoxville.
In addition to the Town of Norris and the Clayton Homes Foundation, many philanthropic, business, and industry partners contributed, including the UT Alliance for Women Philanthropists, Johnson & Gaylon Inc. contractors, General Shale Brick, TVA and the EPA. Community members Jeff and Regina Merritt, who are active in renovating other historic Norris homes, helped facilitate the university’s acquisition of the home site.
The New Norris design won a top Environmental Protection Agency award in 2009. The National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) gave the project the 2011 Prize for Creative Integration of Practice and Education.

Joint Institute for Computational Sciences participates in ‘Kickoff’

A group of experts — including Director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (JICS) Robert Harrison — gathered at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to speak with interested students, faculty, and staff about professional and educational opportunities in computational science and engineering. At the meeting, JICS members noted their interest in expanding the university’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science (IGMCS) program.
Currently, IGMCS is available as a minor, but there is a push to develop the program into a major area of study.
Harrison, also a professor of chemistry, discussed the partnership between Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and UT Knoxville that established JICS more than 20 years ago — a partnership that continues to bring together internationally recognized computational research and faculty members in fields such as physics, materials science, mathematics and molecular biology.
Graduate students majoring in applied math, a computer-related field, or a domain science can apply to pursue a minor in computer science. Fifteen departments within the university are a part of the IGMCS program. A student studying in a department outside the 15 IGMCS participating departments can still apply for the minor after consulting with Dongarra. IGMCS students have worked with organizations like MathWorks, Google and Nvidia to fulfill internship requirements.
The main facility managed by JICS is NICS, the National Institute for Computational Sciences, which facilitates 65 percent of all computational work done under funding from the National Science Foundation. Housed at ORNL, NICS enables research through three computers: Nautilus, a shared-memory machine for visualization and data analysis; Keeneland, a GPU-based hybrid machine jointly managed by the Georgia Institute of Technology, NICS, and ORNL; and Kraken, the world’s first academic supercomputer capable of one quadrillion calculations per second.