A recently announced $129 million grant from several federal sources, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and an additional $30 million from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, marks the beginning of a major five-year research project to make buildings more energy efficient. The effort will include 23 faculty members from five Penn State colleges, including Engineering; Arts and Architecture; Earth and Mineral Sciences; Health and Human Development; and the Smeal College of Business, and will create an Energy Innovation Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The grant is believed to be the largest ever provided to an institution in Pennsylvania and the largest in the university’s history. It includes $122 million from the DOE, $7 million from three other federal agencies and a $30 million pledge from Gov. Ed Rendell to construct a new facility at the Navy Yard Clean Energy Campus in Philadelphia.

“Buildings consume 40% of the energy used in the United States,” said Graham Spanier, Penn State president. “Finding ways to improve energy efficiency in buildings is the next big frontier in energy research and development.”

“This is going to be a milestone endeavor,” said David Wormley, the Harold and Inge Marcus dean of the College of Engineering. “It is not just going to be experts in our Architectural Engineering department conducting this energy efficiency research, but in collaboration with countless people across academia, industry and government.”

The entire effort, called the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC), includes 11 academic institutions, two DOE laboratories, five global industry partners, regional economic development agencies and community colleges. All member organizations will maintain key, full-time personnel at the Navy Yard.Henry Foley, vice president for research at Penn State and principal investigator on the proposal, said he expects the award to spur innovation and job growth not only in Philadelphia, but also in the region and beyond.

Partners in the initiative include Bayer MaterialScience; Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Carnegie Mellon University; Collegiate Consortium; Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center; Drexel University; IBM Corp.; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Morgan State University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.; PPG Industries; Princeton University; Purdue University; Rutgers University; Turner Construction; United Technologies Corp.; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; Virginia Tech; and Wharton Small Business Development Center.

For more information, visitwww.psu.edu.