Sunday, June 1, 2014

Auction of Home, Part II

As mentioned, the New Norris House auction has begun again... but this time with no minimum bid.

This process will again be a sealed bid auction and is being overseen by the State of Tennessee Real Estate Asset Management (as a State owned property built by the University's College of Architecture and Design).

The flyer below indicates the most basic information about the sale and the home itself, but more detailed information can be found here at the state's website.

For information about the auction process, please contact Frank Baugh via phone or email. or (615) 741-5821

For information about the home itself, please contact the NNH team directly.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Auction of Home Beginning again - NNH Still available!

Friends, the New Norris House did not sell last month and is still available for purchase.

In the coming week we will announce further detailed into the new auction process that will take place with no minimum bid.

Please stayed tuned for further details.

For information about the auction process, please contact Frank Baugh via phone or email. or (615) 741-5821

For information about the home itself, please contact the NNH team directly.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Norris Dam State Park Spring Wildflowers

One of the best aspects of living in Norris is being so close to Norris Dam State Park -- it takes less than ten minutes to drive to the dam from the New Norris House. And although I haven’t tried it, you can walk from the community path on our property to the community center and get on the Norris Watershed Trail System which links to the state park’s trails. 

Map from Outdoor Knoxville

I’ve spent many evenings exploring the meadows along the Song Bird Trail below the dam and hiking around the historic mill on Clear Creek. The Andrews Ridge trail system has views of the lake and is ideal for trail running, but my favorite place to explore is the River Bluff Trail on the west side of the Clinch River just below the dam. In just 3.1 miles, the trail passes through several plant communities as it climbs and descends the ridge across north, east, and south facing slopes. The many microclimates found along the trail are home to an impressive variety of spring wildflowers. The park even hosts wildflower walks every year around this time. 

Here are a few examples of the many wildflowers you can see along the River Bluff Trail this time of year:
Cutleaf Toothwort, Dentaria laciniata

Yellow Trillium, Trillium luteum 
Strange flowers of the Little Brown Jug plant, Hexastylis arifolia

Fernleaf Phacelia, Phacelia bipinnatifida

Trout Lily, Erythronium americanum
Not sure the species of this fern as its fronds were just unfurling from their winter sleep!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Olde Wood Limited Article

Check out coverage from our new friends at Olde Wood Limited below!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Greywater and Rain Water Systems Tour for State and Local Officials

Last month a group of state and local environmental officials visited the New Norris House to learn about the results of our ongoing data collection. Members of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Norris Water Commission (NWC) attended the tour led by Profs. Tricia Stuth, Dr. John Buchanan, and Valerie Friedmann.

During the tour we highlighted several of the water quality and quantity benchmarks we have been able to achieve such as a 61% reduction in city water use compared to the average US home and the on-site infiltration of almost 24,000 gallons of greywater in one year. The members of TDEC and the NWC were particularly interested in the implications of the greywater infiltration bed. Dr. Buchanan of UT's College of Biosystems Engineering summarized the impacts of such on-site greywater treatment:

"We want to separate people from their waste water, and we've been doing a good job of that. But if we can be more sustainable by putting water back in the landscape so it can recharge the ground water and not focus so much water at a point discharge or waste water treatment plant, then it's much more sustainable. Much more doable over the long term."

Members from TDEC and the NWC were quick to point out that many communities in the region are experiencing strain on their waste water infrastructure due to aging pipes. Practices such as on-site infiltration at the individual or neighborhood scale could help alleviate these strains. However, there are many challenges to implementing distributed treatment facilities. One challenge is the region's topography. Many of our developed areas, including the site of the New Norris House, are located on hilly terrain. We used a terraced bed approach to provide a level area for infiltration.

Terraces were constructed to provide level areas on the existing 25% slope
Another challenge is the regulatory process. We worked with both State and City of Norris officials through the entire process of designing, building, and monitoring the greywater bed. At the state level we have a permit for an experimental greywater treatment bed that expires when we sell the home. To be permissible in the City of Norris, the NWC revised the water and sewer code to allow for greywater treatment for a trial period.
Groups involved in permitting and building the rainwater and greywater systems
Pages from the City of Norris Codes with revisions for the New Norris House experimental greywater bed
It will be interesting to see what happens to both the rainwater harvesting and greywater infiltration systems with the auction of the home in the coming months. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, August 12, 2013

One year in Norris

This month marks one year for me as a resident at the New Norris House. As a previous resident of various apartments near the center of Knoxville, one of the most interesting aspects of living in Norris has been the increase in time I’ve spent outdoors and the animals I’ve happily encountered along the way.

One frequent visitor is the brown snake. I’ve seen several of these (or maybe it is the same one?) around the landscape this summer. They are friendly snakes and don’t mind to be picked up and relocated away from the main walkways to the terraced gardens.

Brown snake, Storeia dekayi
While weeding the perennial bed this nest of small eggs was discovered. I had noticed several dozen juvenile five-lined skinks in the area. A little online research indicates that these are five-lined skink eggs.
Five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) nest

A juvenile skink found nearby sunning on top of the retaining wall.
Everyday, hundreds of bees, flies, dragonflies, and butterflies visit the rainwater and greywater beds and the meadows and perennial beds. The black-eyed susan’s and purple coneflowers are a favorite as well as the nodding onions and the passionflower vines, which are frequented by big, buzzing bumblebees.

The animals seen on a regular basis in the New Norris House landscape are not rare or threatened in East Tennessee, but every time I see one of them it brings a sense of joy and wonder to my day. However, it seems that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find these animals in many urban and suburban residential yards. Additionally, there is a growing body of research indicating that humans, especially young people, are not spending enough time outside engaged with plants and animals.

Fortunately, landscape methods, such as pesticide-free gardening with native plants and establishing small patches of native grass meadows as a lawn alternative, can create habitat for these and other species in urban and suburban yards. Native plantings are easier to care for than many non-natives because natives have evolved defenses against local predators and adaptations to thrive under local weather patterns. The reason native plants attract so many beneficial species of wildlife is also because they evolved together – with the plants providing food and shelter in return for species-specific relationships with the animals that pollinate or spread their seeds.

The New Norris House landscape is an example of how alive a suburban residential yard can feel.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A New Norris House and Brooks+Scarpa

The New Norris House team is in Denver this week to receive the Committee on the Environment's Top-10 Green Award.

Saturday morning fellow Top-10 winners Brooks + Scarpa will sit down with the NNH team and representatives from the AIA to discuss their two winning residential projects. A part of this discussion, a brief article was published today giving a short background on both projects.

Check it out!

(image by Ken McCown)