B.S. ​Lafayette CollegePh.D. Penn State

Leidy Klotz is the Copenhaver Associate Professor at the University of Virginia. His research is filling in underexplored overlaps between engineering and behavioral science, in pursuit of more sustainable energy systems. To support this interdisciplinary work, Klotz has been awarded over ten million dollars in competitive research funding, including a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, as well as one of the very first awards through the NSF’s INSPIRE program. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles in venues that include top academic journals in built environment engineering, engineering education, and design, as well as imprints of both Science and Nature.

Nationally recognized as one of 40-under-40 professors who inspire, Klotz has received multiple institution-level teaching awards for his classes and close work with undergraduates, eleven of whom have earned competitive national awards valued in excess of $100,000 each. He was an early adopter of massive open online courses. One is currently offered through Coursera, and another, on Sustainable Energy Innovation, led to real projects on at least three continents. Klotz also advises influential decision-makers that straddle academia and practice, working with the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security, the National Institutes of Health, the World Bank, Resources for the Future, Evidn., and ideas42.

Klotz has built a research-to-practice community around his scholarship. At the University of Virginia, he co-founded and co-directs the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative, which brings together the Schools of Engineering and Business to engage and support dozens of faculty and students doing applied, interdisciplinary research. At the international scale, Klotz is co-chair of an ongoing expert panel, convened by the journal Nature Sustainability. In this role, he is bringing together scholars, funders, and practitioners in order to keep advancing behavioral science for design. He’s advised 20 Ph.D. students, and his former advisees now hold influential positions in industry and academia including at: Virginia Tech, Purdue University, Colorado State University, The University of San Diego, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and The University of Florida.

In all of his work, Leidy is a champion for diversity and inclusion. More than three quarters of his advisees are from groups underrepresented in their respective fields and his research has uncovered new pathways for underrepresented groups into engineering.

Klotz is a regular columnist for the Behavioral Scientist and has written for venues such as Fast Company, The Daily Climate, Inside Higher Ed, and ASEE Prism. His next book, based on his research with social psychologists in the Batten School of Public Policy, is in draft form and under contract with Flatiron Books. Klotz previously wrote an academic book, Sustainability Through Soccer: An Unexpected Approach to Saving Our World. (Before his academic career, Klotz was a professional soccer player.)  


  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation 2011
  • 40 under 40: Professors Who Inspire, Nerdscholar 2014

Research Interests

  • Sustainable Energy
  • Behavioral Science
  • Complex Systems
  • Design

In the News

Selected Publications

  • “Beyond rationality in engineering design for sustainability.” Nature Sustainability. 1: 225-233. ABS Klotz, L., Weber, E., Johnson, E., Shealy, E., Hernandez, M., Gordon, B. (2018)
  • “Framing effects to inform more sustainable infrastructure design decisions.” ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management (04016037). Shealy, E., Klotz, L., Weber, E., Johnson, E., Greenspan Bell, R., (2016).
  • “Sustainability as a route to broaden participation in engineering.” Journal of Engineering Education, 103(1): 137-153. Klotz, L., Potvin, G., Cribbs, J., Godwin, A, Hazari, Z., and Barclay, N. (2014).
  • “Social sustainability considerations during planning and design: A framework of processes for construction projects.” American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 139(1): 80–89. Valdes, R. and Klotz, L. (2013).
  • “A framework for sustainable whole systems design.” Design Studies. 33(5) 456-479. Blizzard, J. and Klotz, L. (2012).
  • "Interest in STEM is contagious for students in biology, chemistry, and physics classes." Science Advances. 3(8). ABS Hazari, Z., Potvin, G., Godwin, A., Cribbs, J., Klotz, L., and Scott, T. (2017)
  • “Unintended Anchors: Building Rating Systems and Energy Performance Goals for U.S. Buildings.” Energy Policy. 38 (7): 3557-3566. Klotz, L., Mack, D., Klapthor, B., Tunstall, C. and Harrison, J. (2010).

Courses Taught

  • Systems and Sustainability in the Built Environment Spring
  • Behavioral Design Fall
  • Sustainable Energy Innovation Online

Featured Grants & Projects