B.S. ​Lafayette College, 2000M.S. ​University of Washington, 2005Ph.D. Penn State, 2008

Leidy's scholarship merging engineering and social science for a more sustainable and resilient built environment has been consistently funded, including through an NSF CAREER award and through one of the first awards through NSF’s interdisciplinary INSPIRE program. He also played a lead role in programs, funded by grants from NSF and the Department of Education, which support cohorts of graduate students on interdisciplinary research in a more resilient and sustainable built environment. Since 2012, he has advised 11 Ph.D. graduates (ten from groups underrepresented in engineering) and eight graduates of his research team have secured faculty positions.

Leidy has twice been selected by students as top teacher in his department and twice recognized for individual mentoring of top undergraduates.

Before becoming an academic, Leidy worked managing the design and construction of building projects in New Jersey and before that he played professional soccer for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. 

Leidy is always looking for excellent students from all backgrounds who want to do Ph.D. research merging engineering and social science.


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

Research Interests

  • Sustainable Infrastructure Systems
  • Applied Social Science
  • Smart Buildings/Cities
  • Applied Psychology
  • Risk and Decision Analysis
  • Bio-inspired systems

In the News

  • Using Behavioral Science to Redesign the Built Environment

    China’s most famous painting is “Along the River during the Qingming Festival.” Often referred to as “China’s Mona Lisa” (more for its fame and mysterious history than for any likeness to da Vinci’s portrait), the painting dates from the early 1100s and stretches over 17 feet. In intricate detail, the painting depicts daily life in Bianjing, now the city of Kaifeng.

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  • Sustainability through Soccer

    While he was busy earning Mid-Atlantic Region All-America honors on the soccer field at Lafayette College in the late 1990s, Leidy Klotz was also in the process of earning a civil engineering degree.

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  • From Air Conditioning to Urban Planning, defaults and standards create dysfunction by design

    For the past three years Shealy and Klotz have been experimenting with another default flip to make “greener” choices the default option in project rating systems such as LEED, which scores building projects using various measure of sustainability (such as water consumption, support for bicycling and use of recycled materials). Shealy and Klotz tested a sustainability-by-default approach by reprogramming a software package called Envision that was created at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design as a civil engineering analog to LEED. Envision rates the sustainability of infrastructure projects such as civic transport redesigns and land-use plans.

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  • Virtual reality can make a remote crisis real - and spur effective responses

    Article about the scholarship and motivation of Ph.D. student Bethany Gordon. “It is our moral obligation as people who possess this knowledge to not forget about the problems of our poorest global citizens.”

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Selected Publications

  • “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).
  • “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, CEE/Arch/GSVS course open to all students Spring
  • Behavioral Design in the Built Environment, CEE/Arch course open to all students Fall
  • Climate Mitigation through Connected Design Thinking, STS/GSVS course open to all students Summer Institute course at UVA Morven Farm

Featured Grants & Projects