Five of the Ten greenest buildings of 2013 chosen by the American Institute of Architects

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Norris House
credit: College of Architecture & Design, UT Knoxville Photo: Ken McCown

New Norris House

The American Institute of Architects has dropped sustainable design as a requirement of continuing education; They claim it is so mainstream that it is no longer necessary to teach it to practicing architects. The Committee on the Environment evidently didn't get the memo; they are still going through the motions of handing out awards for "structures that use a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology to provide architectural solutions which protect and enhance the environment." Maybe it is not so mainstream after all.

New Norris House

There are some interesting choices ranging from the small, like the New Norris House, designed by students and faculty from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Architecture and Design.

At 1008 square foot, this production house is less than half the size of the median house. “Rightsizing” reduced material and operational loads and costs, and shifted funds to quality design and construction, passive strategies and high-efficiency systems. The dormer and skylight are placed so daylight is reflected and diffused. No-VOC paint color is warm white with a punch of red-orange hidden within the swing space to produce a warm glow from reflected light. Low-E glass and translucent blinds provide further control over heat, glare and privacy. All interior rooms are daylit throughout the day. Electric lighting is integrated with cabinetry and includes low-energy LEDs.

The original Norris houses were built in 1933 as as a model of cooperative, egalitarian living, by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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