EPA Honors NU’s Delta-T90 Solar House Team with 2015 Environmental Merit Award

EPA Honors NU’s Delta-T90 Solar House Team with 2015 Environmental Merit Award

Staff from the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented six NU College of Professional Schools students and faculty with a 2015 Environmental Merit Award in “recognition of exceptional work and commitment to the environment” at an Earth Day ceremony in Boston.

The four alumni and two professors accepted the award on behalf of the entire Norwich team that helped design and build the university’s award-winning Delta T-90. The 2013 solar house won the affordability category at the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in Irvine, Calif.

Norwich University Board of Fellows member Virginia Houston, senior vice president
of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, joined the NU delegation to accept the award.

“The prestigious EPA Award to our Delta T-90 [team] is greatly appreciated and a profound tribute to their hard work,” she said. “The project was a masterpiece of dedication, inspiration, and creativity.”

Houston added that the award will further inspire Norwich students to excel at tackling big challenges.

Architect, Professor and Dean of the College of Professional Schools Aron Temkin said: “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.”

“We are very pleased to see them recognized this way, because it reinforces the viability and impact of their work.”

He said the latest recognition by the EPA speaks to the impact of the Norwich educational experience. Students from the architecture, engineering, and construction management programs on the Delta T-90 project pursued “a cross-disciplinary collaboration of designer, engineer and constructor that they will be practicing throughout their careers.”

Norwich alum Caleb Burrington M‘14 was deeply involved in the Delta T-90 solar house project while pursuing a five-year, combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture at NU.

“The Solar Decathlon was a great opportunity for me as a young professional to further develop, learn, lead and understand how a high-performance project requires the efforts and collaboration of many different disciplines,” said Burrington, who now works as an architectural designer at Kao Design Group in Somerville, Mass.

“The design-build aspect and education setting of the project provided an optimal setting and ultimately better prepared me for the real world, project management challenges to come,” he said.

Likewise, Shannon Sickler M‘14, now a designer at Cummings Properties in Woburn, Mass., said: “The Solar Decathlon was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that provided me the opportunity to collaborate, lead, and learn the design-build process on a global scale. With an emphasis on energy efficiency, the project forced students to consider how design can affect the future of the industry and, consequently, our careers.”

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.

Norwich University Associate Professor Matt Lutz, the faculty leader of the Delta T-90 project, praised the Westcott partnership and the role the Norwich solar house plays today serving 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.

Top: NU graduates Shannon Sickler, Drew Dana, Brad Paisker and Caleb Burrington, Board of Fellows Member Virginia Houston, Profs Jack Patterson and David Blythe, EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding, several EPA staffers and Vermont Commissioner of Environmental Conservation David Mears.