Norwich University’s Delta T-90 House is a 996 square foot, two-bedroom home that is tuned for the unique seasons of the northeastern bioregion. The Delta T-90 home is designed to maintain a comfortable 70 degrees when exterior temperatures reach -20 degrees. Recognizing the environmental and economic requirements of the northeast, the Delta T-90 Team set out to design a house that is affordable for households earning 20% less than the average Vermont median income. The Delta T-90 team believes that high performance, solar powered dwellings should be available to all and that good design is not a function of cost. We are confronting the issues related to high performance and affordability for New England by taking a bold design position driven by performance criteria, building science, and time honored architectural maneuvers.
The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition organized by the U.S. Department of Energy that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and showcase solar-powered homes. Norwich University from Northfield, Vermont was chosen to participate in the 2013 competition in Irvine, California. Approximately eighty-two percent of households in Vermont earning under $41,000 annually direct more than one-third of their income toward mortgage and housing costs. Couple this statistic with the fact that Vermont ranks sixth highest in the United States in terms of annual heating demand, it becomes clear that the challenges of home ownership for lower-income households can be overwhelming. In October 2013, Norwich University students will travel to Irvine for a month to showcase an economically responsible option for solar-powered living.
The design streamlines mechanical, electrical, and building envelope systems in an effort to increase affordability and reduce primary energy demand. Our team is committed to providing a hammer-ready, widely accessible solution for New England’s unique challenges. The functional and economically practical requirements of consumers in the northeastern United States challenged students to concentrate on elegance while keeping affordability at the forefront of our mission. Through the support of industry partners and a shared mission in promoting intelligent yet beautiful design, the Delta T-90 represents the only viable solar-powered housing option for households with wages below the median income level.