Norwich University Constructs the Delta T-90 House

Norwich University made a home that is high-performing, solar-powered AND affordable. The 1,000 foot, two bedroom home cost $168,000 and includes all the appliances and energy systems. The team won 1st place in the Affordability competition and also received 1st in Energy Balance by producing more solar energy than the home used or needed.

Norwich won first place in the affordability category.

Norwich won first place in the affordability category in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.

Called the Delta T-90 for the 90 degree temperature variation that takes place through the seasons in its native Vermont, the home was built with double-stud wall framing to increase its insulation quality.

The Solar Decathlon truly tests a home’s performance. In order to receive a score in the Entertainment event, each team must host two dinner parties and screen an accompanying film. This tests the home’s general electrical systems and the combined efficiency of the appliances. They aren’t sitting around saving electricity and using candles. They’re watching films on large screen TVs, making multi-course meals and leaving the lights on. It’s all powered by the sun. Here are the Dinner Menus and Recipes from the University of Norwich (18 page pdf).  They have creative local dishes cider pasta carbonara with bacon cheese fondue and maple mustard vinaigrette.

Photo Gallery


  • The locally harvested northern white cedar rain screen draws from the traditional wood siding found in barns and utility buildings across New England.
  • A flat roof with a fully integrated photovoltaic array introduces modern elegance and accommodates the region’s average of 120 days of annual snow.
  • Thick, 16-inch walls with deep-set windows minimize heat loss and reinforce a spirit of protection and strength.
  • Ample daylighting and high ceilings, rarely found in affordable housing options, create a grand and spacious ambiance.
  • No floor area is dedicated to mechanical systems, making every square foot of floor area (excluding storage and laundry areas) usable by occupants.


  • The building-integrated photovoltaic system, with panels that adhere to the flat roof, eliminates the weight and costs associated with racking and mounting hardware. These panels work in low levels of sunlight to provide power to the house even in less-than-optimal solar conditions.
  • A mini-split heat pump HVAC system with a single supply diffuser provides widely available, compact, and easily serviceable heating and cooling without the need for duct work or overt mechanical elements.
  • The heat-recovery ventilation system provides continuous ventilation to the interior while reducing humidity levels and keeping the building envelope dry. The system is 92% efficient, ductless, and whisper-quiet.

Final Overall Score

Norwich finished the 2013 Solar Decathlon in 12th place, with a final score of 876.928.

Norwich finished the 2013 Solar Decathlon in 12th place, with a final score of 876.928.


norwich university

A student explains the background of the house.

All of the teams achieved a lot in the Solar Decathlon to design, build, finish, dismantle, transport, rebuild, compete in the competition and display the homes (with a smile, over and over and over again) to help educate the public.

They all had amazing, sometimes arduous, yet highly educational and rewarding experiences. The final score is a summation of task completion, monitored performance of the homes and jury evaluations (three esteemed people) within 10 events.



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Keya Lea

Keya Lea likes to spend time outside, enjoying the sun.

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