Staengl Engineering Settles In Below Crozet Library

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Andy Wright and Galen Staengl
Andy Wright and Galen Staengl

Staengl Engineering, a firm that designs energy-efficient mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for “green” buildings, has opened its office on the lower level of Crozet Library, joining neighboring Crozet Running and completing the occupancy of the building.

The company, founded in 2002 by Galen Staengl, has been based in Charlottesville. Staengl is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“We were in a small office in cubicles,” said Staengl. “We needed bigger space and lots of us live out here [in Crozet].

“It is about quality of life, the live-work balance,” added Andy Wright. “We like the open office where we can collaborate.”

Mechanical systems are exposed in the office’s black-painted ceiling. “It’s part of what we do,” Wright noted.

The firm has a staff of seven, including Staengl. “We’re still growing,” he said. “We want to bring on more staff. So we started looking on this side of the county. This checked the boxes. We like the idea of being in Crozet. We like the feel. We like the community taking on the development of downtown in a smart way.”

The firm’s design principle is to “use the minimum energy that still functions,” he said. “We hope to be able to help with our expertise. We’re involved in cutting-edge building projects.”

The firm is engaged in the biggest passive solar project underway in the U.S. right now, a 300-unit apartment building in Kansas City, as well as a net-zero-energy house in Tennessee. The firm is also competing in a design competition to renovate the former Clifton Forge high school, a three-story building.

“We think we can have the same spaces we have now but use less energy,” said Staengl. “As building methods have evolved, the costs, relatively, have come down. You can save money if you design the right way. That’s what allows us to grow. We’re working under architects to design internal systems. We try to help them think more energy-efficiently.”

Staengl said a 50-unit, multi-family commercial project is the firm’s strong suit. “A 50,000-square-foot building is a good project for us. We do some residential. It helps if the owner is already thinking about sustainability. It’s hard to put on a balance sheet the virtue of a sustainable plan. It takes time to see it.”

The firm’s lease is for only one year as the library shies away from longer leases for fear of needing the first floor space. “We hope to be here for a while and enjoy what the community is doing in Crozet. We’re interested in space in the new projects.”

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