Penn State at The Navy Yard hosts Ice Box Challenge

June 04, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — To further promote a commitment to sustainability, Penn State at The Navy Yard is hosting the Ice Box Challenge, a public science experiment and demonstration in high-performance building, from May 24 to June 20.

For four weeks, two nearly identical structures, each filled with 1,800 pounds of ice, will sit in League Island Park behind the Penn State’s buildings at The Navy Yard. One of the structures is built to standard building code, and the other to passive house standard, an energy-efficient and cost-saving way of improving buildings in Philadelphia and beyond.

Ice Box Challenge structures

The two Ice Box Challenge structures can be found in League Island Park behind Penn State's buildings at The Navy Yard until June 20.

IMAGE: Kristen Footo

On June 20, the boxes will be lifted, revealing how much ice is left in each box. During the challenge, people can visit and vote on how much ice they think will remain, as well as learn more about the challenge and check on the fluctuation — or lack thereof — of temperature within the boxes. At the end of the challenge, the first three people close enough to the actual amounts will win prizes.

The challenge has made stops all over the continent, some notable locations being Vancouver and Seattle. The challenge kicked off their east coast tour in New York in the spring, and after Philadelphia will make stops in Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.  

Passive house standard is an energy-efficient and cost-saving method of reducing the ecological footprint of buildings by controlling unnecessary outside airflow, reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable, quiet environment. To learn more, visit, and follow the Ice Box Challenge on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Last Updated July 23, 2018