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Obama to Address Research Involving Arts and Architecture Faculty

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When President Barack Obama visits the Penn State University Park campus on Thursday, February 3, he will be addressing the Energy Innovation Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a project in which several College of Arts and Architecture faculty members are involved. Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture faculty Brian Orland, Dan Willis, Mallika Bose, and Stuart Echols are part of the interdisciplinary Penn State research team that will receive $159 million over the next five years from federal and Pennsylvania sources—the largest grant in Penn State’s history—to develop ways to make buildings more energy efficient. The funds will create an Energy Innovation Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a 1,200-acre waterfront development with more than eighty companies and 7,500 employees. Orland, Bose, and Echols have formed a team with Martin Sliwinski, of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and Seth Blumsack and Andrew Kleit, of the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, to study the psycho-social effects of energy-saving strategies in commercial development. Colleagues from Rutgers and Drexel are also part of their team. Willis, in collaboration with Architectural Engineering faculty, will be focusing on the role of design in creating sustainable solutions to energy efficiency. Penn State, which is leading the Energy Innovation Hub project as part of the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC), has been involved in energy efficiency initiatives at the Navy Yard since 2005. Orland and Willis participated in the exploratory workshops that led to the formation of a project team that now includes Penn State faculty from four colleges: Engineering, Arts and Architecture, Earth and Mineral Sciences, and the Smeal College of Business. Penn State is the core of the GPIC, which encompasses another ten academic institutions, two Department of Energy laboratories, five high-profile global industry partners, regional economic development agencies, and community colleges. Go to for the Penn State Live story on the grant.