NU Student Engineers Nerd Out to Solve Urban Water Challenges

Norwich engineering majors Austin Renzetti and Sarah Perry (screen shot from video)
Norwich University Office of Communications

February 1, 2017

At a busy gathering in Kreitzberg Library last December, civil and environmental engineering majors in Prof. Tara Kulkarni’s Environmental Engineering lab shared project designs that addressed major water management challenges in cities across the globe. The Norwich undergraduates worked on the four-week, group projects as part of a service learning partnership with a community partner, Friends of the Winooski River, to promote water education and outreach to local high school students. Watch:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMO2vRX47hI&w=560&h=315]

Ideas @ Work: #1 Tiny House

CAD rendering of Norwich University's CASA initiative tiny house design.
33 ideas big and small from Norwich students, faculty, staff, and alumni that are transforming campus and the world.
The Norwich Record

Spring 2016

Sometimes a big problem requires a small solution. Enter the CASA initiative, a 334-square-foot tiny house with a small $40,000 price tag, solar power included. Norwich University faculty and students developed the house to address Vermont’s affordable-housing crisis. Nearly 12 percent of Vermonters live below the poverty level, and median household income in the state barely tops $54,000. That leaves many low-income residents priced out of the traditional housing market. Those who can, often turn to mobile homes, which cost around $39,900 on average and are typically financed with car loans. But, unlike traditional houses, mobile homes depreciate in value over time.

Seeking to provide an alternative, the Norwich School of Architecture + Art faculty launched the Creating Affordable Sustainable Architecture (CASA) initiative last year. Sparked by a $20,000 seed grant from TD Bank, architecture faculty Tolya Stonorov, Danny Sagan, Cara Armstrong, and Matt Lutz worked on the initial design over the summer. Last fall, CASA principal investigator and civil engineering professor Ed Schmeckpeper began designing and assembling the build-out with Norwich engineering and construction management students. This spring, junior and senior architecture students in a design/build studio led by Professor Stonorov will complete the project.

With clean lines and a gabled roof, the nearly 14- by 28-foot home offers a modernist, minimalist take on a classic Vermont farmhouse. Sliding glass doors open from its small front porch onto a high-ceilinged living room/kitchen/dining area. Beyond lies a bathroom, bedroom, and storage space. The tiny home can accommodate two adults and a child. Solar panels supply the home’s electricity needs, while even more high-powered engineering lies under the roof. Starting next year, the CASA initiative team plans to develop additional units that can “plug” into the starter house, enabling households with growing families and incomes to expand.

Stonorov says CASA’s ultimate goal is to create a house that is not just beautiful, practical, and affordable—but widely available. The CASA team aims to partner with organizations that share the goal of bringing innovative, sustainable housing to income-eligible Vermonters. “This project will fail to fulfill its mission if we only produce one.”

Photo illustration courtesy Tolya Stonorov
More Ideas@Work:

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Norwich University School of Architecture + Art Receives $10k Grant to Fund Free Lecture Series

Norwich University School of Architecture + Art will receive $10,000 from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation to fund the upcoming 2015-2016 lecture series.

For more than 10 years the Byrne Foundation has partnered with Norwich University to support the School of Architecture + Art’s Lecture Series. Through these lectures—which are free to students and the local community—the School of Architecture + Art brings well-known architects, designers, artists and writers to campus from around the country.

The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation is a philanthropic organization that supports cancer research, education and volunteerism, among many charitable endeavors.

Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art is the only National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited architecture school in northern New England. In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The NAAB is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture.

The Norwich curriculum offers a minor in architectural studies, two art minors, a four-year bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies and a one-and-a-half-year Master of Architecture degree. Combined, the bachelor and master programs form a five-year professional degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), a prerequisite for licensure in most states. All are designed for practical people who want to immerse themselves in an experiential academic lifestyle. The School of Architecture + Art is challenging, fun, and dedicated to producing architects who will serve the needs of people.

With approximately 200 students, the School of Architecture + Art is one of the smallest programs of its kind in the country, fostering a natural and effective mentoring relationship between faculty and students. Courses take a balanced approach to both the art and science of architecture and embrace environmental sustainability as part of Vermont’s ethos.

A highlight of the upcoming 2015-2016 lecture series program will be a lecture on Wednesday, October 14, by Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Galvez. The event will be presented in conjunction with the Department of Modern Languages and the College of Liberal Arts’ organized Hispanic Heritage Celebration and include an exhibit of photographs.

“This lecture series is an opportunity for the School of Architecture + Art to not only enhance the education of our students but to also offer ourselves as a resource to the surrounding community as experts in the field and world-class talent,” according to Director Cara Armstrong.

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.  

Media Contact:

Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886; (m) 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews

Norwich University’s Award-Winning Solar House Earns Recognition in Regional EPA Earth Day Awards

Norwich University Office of Communications

Updated May 1, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – A team of Norwich University students was recognized by the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at this year’s Earth Day ceremony in Boston with a 2015 Environmental Merit Award.

The four alumni and two professors present to receive the award helped design and build Norwich’s Delta T-90, the 2013 solar house that won the affordability category at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in Irvine, Calif.

The team’s latest accolade from the EPA was bestowed in “recognition of exceptional work and commitment to the environment” at a special ceremony held at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass., on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

The annual Earth Day ceremony has recognized the environmental achievements of New Englanders for more than three decades.

“Our students tasked themselves with addressing a real and immediate problem in their community—providing a compelling housing solution that is both affordable and sustainable,” said Aron Temkin, an architect, professor and dean of the College of Professional Schools at Norwich University. “We are very pleased to see them recognized this way, because it reinforces the viability and impact of their work.”

Temkin adds that it also speaks to the impact of the “Norwich educational experience of a cross disciplinary collaboration of designer, engineer and constructor that they will be practicing throughout their careers.”

Today’s EPA merit award is the latest in a string of awards and honors the Delta T-90 solar house has garnered since its inception.

More than a year after successfully competing in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, Norwich University’s Delta T-90 House won the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIAVT) 2014 People’s Choice Award.

The Delta T-90 House models how high performance solar-powered dwellings can be made affordably. At the 2013 US Solar Decathlon event in California, the home earned first-place awards for affordability and energy balance. The team also earned the Byron Stafford Award of Distinction for their character and sportsmanship.

Since the competition’s close, the Delta T-90 house has delivered on its mission to educate the public about residential-scale renewable energy and green-design by becoming part of the Westcott Center for Architecture and Design in Springfield, Ohio. The center boasts a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed prairie-style house and seeks to involve and promote architecture and design practices as a medium for educating K-12 students in social studies, math, science, and the arts.

Since moving to Springfield, the Delta T-90 house has graced the cover of Green Energy Ohio magazine and been the subject of many articles. The house has also helped the Westcott Center earn grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Institute of Museum and Library Services by evidencing strong public outreach capabilities.

Through features like its integrated, digital energy-monitoring dashboard, the Delta T-90 house shows students real-time, measurable evidence of the value of design thinking. It does this by comparing real-time energy use to real-time energy production by the Delta T-90’s 5.84KW solar panel system.

Norwich University Associate Professor Matt Lutz, the faculty leader of the Delta T-90 project, praised the Wescott partnership and the role the Norwich solar house plays today to serve the nonprofit’s central mission.

“The Norwich team couldn’t be more proud of the partnership that the Delta T-90 has helped form with the Westcott Center for Architecture and Design. There, the house is really doing what we intended it to do, to become a living laboratory that will educate the public for years.”

Students and faculty in Norwich University’s College of Professional Schools have now embarked on a plan to design sustainable, micro-houses for low-income Vermonters. Read about the project here.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886; 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu