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Reducing energy use is central to creating a sustainable campus. It’s also a formidable task, given the growing energy needs of research universities. Stanford has a strong foundation for success, however, as we’re building on a decades-long commitment to energy conservation and efficiency, as well as the advantages of a temperate climate and strong state energy codes.

Driving down the university’s greenhouse gas emissions is a priority, and meeting reduction goals require a significant drop in energy use campus-wide. To make that happen, Stanford employs a full range of strategies, from stringent energy-performance standards for new buildings and retrofits of existing buildings to programs encouraging everyone who lives, studies and works on campus to save energy.

Systems retrofits to the most energy-intensive buildings on campus have saved more than $4.5 million a year and cut energy use by an average of 24 percent.

Our energy efficiency programs have yielded significant results. For instance:

  • As of 2014, Stanford has reduced energy intensity on campus by 8% from a 2000 baseline
  • Through the Whole Building Energy Retrofits Program, Stanford will spend $30 million on major capital improvements to the 27 biggest energy users on campus. On average, buildings that have participated in the WBERP program are seeing 24% reductions in their energy usage, with some buildings achieving savings of up to 50%.
  • Since 1993, Stanford’s Energy Retrofit Program has provided more than $15 million for projects to improve energy efficiency, reduce building costs, reduce utility demand, and decrease maintenance costs. In those years, these energy retrofits have resulted in an estimated savings of 39 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, 360,000 ton-hrs of chilled water, and 11 million MBtu of hot water/steam, or cumulatively over $4 million.
  • Since 2001, the annual Winter Closure Program has targeted the two-week campus shutdown over the winter holidays as an opportunity to conserve energy by turning off heating and ventilation systems in most buildings across campus. As of 2015, the program has resulted in a net energy cost savings of $3.3 million since its inception. 


  • 1st Place, 2008-2009 ASHRAE X Technology Award for the Stauffer Chemistry Building HVAC retrofit project
  • Avery Aquatic Center pump retrofit project, $110,000 rebate from PG&E (2009)
  • Stauffer Physical Chemistry Buildings HVAC retrofit project, $110,000 rebate from PG&E (2008)
  • Stauffer Chemistry Building HVAC retrofit project, $180,000 rebate from PG&E (2007)
  • Honorable Mention, Flex Your Power Awards (2005)
  • Reservoir 2 photovoltaic project, $135,000 rebate from PG&E (2004)