Sto Corp. has teamed up with Pratt Institute and Passive House for Everyone as an advocate sponsor for the first-ever U.S. Collegiate Designed and Built rendition of the International Passive House Ice Box Challenge. Created to demonstrate the essential role Passive House standards can play in mitigating the global climate crisis, the Ice Box Challenge has been an effective illustration around the world. Passive House design and construction has five principles that are fundamental to the energy efficiency of buildings, drastically reducing a building’s energy use while enhancing health and comfort.

The Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Ice Box Challenge will demonstrate these principles effectively and publicly as the architecture students design and construct two ice box structures, one according to local standard building codes and the other guided by high-performance Passive House building standards. Students and onlookers alike will be able to then observe how a half-ton of ice blocks inside each structure fares over one week.

In Cho, Pratt Institute visiting professor and founder of the climate education nonprofit Passive House for Everyone, is overseeing the challenge as part of her curriculum. Pratt Institute’s iteration of the international Ice Box Challenge is notable on multiple fronts. The students at Pratt are the first to feature a modular construction technique, which will allow the two ice box structures to be deconstructed and reassembled on other campuses for future Challenges.

Sto Corp. is more than just an advocate sponsor of the Ice Box Challenge. Dan Canova, Construction Design Manager at Sto Corp., provided hands-on training on Sto’s energy-efficient system solutions. “This project was about educating our up-and-coming generation, so it was a real treat to get to work directly with the students,” Canova noted. His instruction was essential to this challenge, as Sto Gold Coat, an air- and water-resistive barrier, will be applied to the Passive House structure. Additionally, Sto is a contributor to the Passive House movement, with a wide range of systems designed to minimize energy consumption. “Energy efficiency is a major focus of what we do at Sto,” said Jose Berlingeri, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sto Americas. “So, we’re excited to be a part of Pratt Institute’s Ice Box Challenge and to support these rising students. Together with the next generation, we can start a new era of building with conscience for new and retrofit construction.”

According to Cho, current building practices are a leading cause of climate change. “Buildings contribute up to 40 percent of carbon emissions that are conducive to climate change, and in dense cities like New York, that number is almost up to 70 percent,” she said. Cho said Passive House principles can go a long way toward addressing these issues by lowering “heating and cooling energy demands by up to 90 percent.” While climate action is the primary thrust of Passive House principles, its appeal is multi-faceted. “It’s great for energy efficiency, but it also creates incredible comfort and health,” Cho added, referring to the cleaner, filtered air and more consistent temperatures inside Passive House buildings.

The Pratt Institute’s Ice Box Challenge is set to launch on May 1 in the Rose Garden of the main campus, with the final result to be revealed on May 8. For more information about the Ice Box Challenge, visit To reserve your spot at the reveal, visit

Sto will share the results of the challenge.