In December 2011, Stanford’s Board of Trustees gave concept approval to the $438 million Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) program, which is a collection of operationally distinct projects designed to meet the university’s energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. SESI represents a significant transformation of the university from 100% fossil-fuel-based cogeneration to a more efficient electric heat recovery system. SESI will result in immense benefits for Stanford University in the years to come. When completed, the current set of projects anticipated under the SESI program will reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, save 18% of campus potable water, open up the energy supply platform to future technologies, enable the campus to better manage its power portfolio, and yield utilities savings.


The implementation of SESI will require significant work throughout the campus between 2012 and 2015. Over twenty miles of hot water pipe will be installed along with changes to the mechanical rooms of 155 buildings. This work will be carefully sequenced in multiple phases to minimize disruption to campus life. The first phase has recently been completed and the next phases are began in the summer of 2012. Once all phases of the hot water conversion are completed, a full transition from the existing cogeneration plant to the new heat recovery plant will be made, and the cogeneration plant will be decommissioned and removed.