Exterior of Steidle

Modernization has transformed a beloved campus icon into a high-performance, leading-edge research environment. Originally designed by renowned architect Charles Klauder, the Steidle Building was constructed to meet the needs of industry in the early 20th century. After nearly a century, however, this once state-of-the-art facility had become outdated, energy inefficient, and too small for the Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) program. Re-establishing Steidle as a unique destination for engineering science required the close collaboration of the design team – including preservation architects, energy analysts, and laboratory planners – with key Penn State staff and representative constituents.


  1. Feature 1:

    A 40% window-to-wall area ratio in the new exterior facade achieves the desired penetration of daylighting while respecting the original campus vernacular.

  2. Feature 2:

    A glycol loop system captures and recirculates waste heat throughout the building.

  3. Feature 3:

    CO2 sensors turn on heating, cooling, and/or ventilation only when rooms are occupied, enabling empty spaces to “sleep.”

Building Facts

  • 34,000 GSF new
  • 66,000 GSF modernization
  • Electrochemistry labs
  • Structural materials labs
  • Polymer systems labs
  • LEED Silver certified

Awards & Honors

  1. Illumination Award for Lighting Control Innovation

    Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)

Iconic Renewal

The design preserves the historic fabric of the Klauder exterior, including its original front entry. The interior organization respects the symmetrical spirit of the original building, but expansive glazing in the new infill addition now infuses previously dark labs and offices with natural light and reveals the activity within formerly hidden spaces.


Annual Energy Savings Modeled vs ASHRAE 90.1

$185,501 Cost Savings
24 % Cost Reduction
468,549 kWh Energy Savings
23 % Energy Use Reduction

No Silver Bullet

Steidle building diagram


  1. Feature 1:

    The roof assembly has a minimum R-value of 20. A "white roof" like this reduces building cooling load by reflecting solar gain.

  2. Feature 2:

    The Variable Air Volume system allows user control for increased occupant comfort while using the same air stream.

  3. Feature 3:

    Almost all lighting is LED with energy-saving daylighting controls such as stepped dimming, occupancy sensors, and dual-level fixtures.

  4. Feature 4:

    40% window-to-wall area ratio in the new exterior facade achieves the desired penetration of daylighting while respecting the original campus vernacular.

We led a series of collaborative working charrettes to advance, test, and abandon/adopt systems and features to maximize energy efficiency without breaking the budget. Metering infrastructure will enable us to compare actual energy consumption with anticipated performance to expected performance, so that we can recommend enhancement options to maintain peak energy-efficient operations over the coming decades. 

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