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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s interdisciplinary Living Light project now has the support of the nation’s largest public power company.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is teaming up with Living Light and other partners in a joint research effort to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy in residential homes.

TVA’s Technology Innovation and Energy Efficiency and Demand Response organizations will work with UT’s colleges of Architecture and Design, Engineering, Arts and Sciences and Business on the Living Light house, UT’s entry into the Solar Decathlon, a national competition challenging 20 universities to build an energy-efficient, solar-powered house.

The Living Light house will display the latest innovations in building materials, information technology, energy efficiency and home design. It features a 10.9 kilowatt solar system to run the house and supply excess power to the electrical grid. The home also uses energy-efficient systems and appliances and a unique and attractive structural design.

As part of the collaborative research agreement with UT, TVA will fund research of mutual interest and provide technical assistance and share research experience in building materials, sustainable building practices and energy-efficient technologies to support the Living Light project.

“Our students are energized by constructing this prototype home, competing with their peers and teaming with TVA to share ideas to gain information on new energy-efficient technologies,” said John McRae, dean of the College of Architecture and Design. “Working with TVA provides the UT team members with a valuable educational experience and a great competitive advantage in this competition.”

Data from recent successful TVA research projects, including the Campbell Creek Energy Efficient homes, will help the UT team create the most effective and affordable energy efficiency technologies and design. The project also will benefit from TVA’s experience in home energy research with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Schaad Companies, the Electric Power Research Institute and others.

“This collaboration will expand TVA’s leadership into home energy research, help raise awareness of TVA energy efficiency programs and technologies and speed their advent into the marketplace,” said Bob Balzar, TVA vice president for energy efficiency and demand response. “We believe the shared information and experience from TVA’s home energy efficiency research will benefit these students’ education and also help them win the Solar Decathlon contest.”

The Solar Decathlon, which takes place in October 2011 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., demonstrates innovative clean-energy solutions while developing a well-trained workforce dedicated to green technologies. Projects will be judged in 10 categories by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Department of Energy.

TVA and Team Living Light will continue to work together for at least three years after the competition on other projects, including the Living Light Tennessee Tour, a post-competition exhibition throughout the state of Tennessee. Potential areas of joint TVA-UT studies will include advanced residential design features, solar electric power generation, home automation, window insulation, sun shading, a ductless heat pump and heat pump water heaters.

More information on UT’s Living Light project entry in the Solar Decathlon is available at

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities that can produce nearly 34,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines.

C O N T A C T :

Mike Bradley, TVA media relations, (865-632-8860,

Kristi Hintz, UT media relations (865-974-3993,