NORRIS (WATE) - A group of University of Tennessee students have spent the last three years working to build a house that's anything but ordinary.
The "New Norris House" as the project is called, is one of the most energy efficient in the state. A couple is living in the home, and researchers will monitor their lives there.
The house is perched in a row of homes built in the 1930s. Norris was chosen because in the 30s, the residential community was designed by TVA to be at the forefront of suburban living. Researchers are trying to keep that tradition going.
"Our counter tops are made of recycled truck beds," said Matt Lyle, supervising the student-run project. The floors are made of recycled barns, among other recycled materials used in the house.
What stands out, though, is how spacious the 680 square-foot space feels, with high ceilings and miniature appliances.
The bathroom in the house is run on rain water. "Our water is collected on the roof," Lyle explained.
Everything that's turned on or plugged in at the house is closely tracked by researchers using data tracking machines.
For the next year or so, Mary Leverance and her husband will live in the home. "We are guinea pigs for what you could call this experiment," Leverance said.
The couple won't pay rent. Instead they'll blog and document their experiences at the house.
"We'll focus on the inside of the house. Our energy usage, what our observations are and how things change throughout the day," Leverance added.
The goal of the student project is for it to be a lesson on energy efficient living. "That you can still achieve having a wonderful place to live, but in a small house, with little energy consumption," explained Lyle.
You can keep track of how life at the New Norris House progresses by visiting the website.