Climate Action

Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions is the greatest environmental and socioeconomic challenge and opportunity of our time. To address it, Stanford is developing global solutions and implementing them on campus. High performance buildings, continued efficiency improvement in existing buildings, a cutting edge energy system, and a greener campus lifestyle continue Stanford’s legacy of environmental leadership in teaching, research, and action.

In October 2009, Stanford released a comprehensive and long-range Energy and Climate Action plan. In December 2011, Stanford's Board of Trustees gave concept approval to the energy supply component of the plan – Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI).

Click on one of the topics below to see how Stanford University has crafted an Energy and Climate Action Plan that fulfills the promise of sustainability to green the environment, as well as the bottom line.

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Since the 1980s, Stanford has employed energy metering on all of its facilities to understand how and where energy is being used. In addition, the campus has used efficient natural-gas-fired cogeneration for virtually all its energy supply since 1987. For many years Stanford has employed best practices on both the supply and demand sides to reduce the cost and environmental impact of energy used to support the university mission of teaching, research, and public service. Stanford accepts the challenge of our time to go beyond these efforts and raise the bar in energy efficiency and the use of innovative, clean, and renewable energy supplies.

“If we are to leave our children a better world, we must take steps now to create a sustainable environment. So it is critical that we model sustainable citizenship on our own campus.”
— John Etchemendy
Provost, Stanford University
The Energy Retrofit Program has delivered an estimated cumulative savings of over 240 million kilowatt-hours of electricity since it began in 1993—and prevented 72,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
New buildings must use 30 percent less energy and 25 percent less potable water than similar traditional buildings.
Systems retrofits to the most energy-intensive buildings on campus are expected to save $4.2 million a year and cut energy use by 28 percent.
About 40 percent of Stanford Dining produce is organic or regionally grown; some is even grown on campus.
About 60 percent of Stanford’s total contiguous land remains undeveloped.
Recycled paper is less expensive than virgin paper under the campus-wide office supply contract.
From 2002 to 2010, the percentage of Stanford employees driving alone to campus dropped from 72 to 48 percent.
Stanford diverted 64 percent of its solid waste from landfills in 2008—more than 14,500 tons.
Effective August 1,2014:
Irrigation in Faculty & Staff Housing may occur only on Tuesday and Saturday nights for even numbered addresses, and Wednesday and Sunday nights for odd numbered addresses, between the hours of 7pm and 7am.
The goal of Sustainable IT is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our IT infrastructure.
The goal of Sustainable IT is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our IT infrastructure.
Stanford invests IN sustainability through a broad range of initiatives in research, education, efficiency improvement, conservation systems, new technology, student-led projects and more.
New buildings must use 30 percent less energy and 25 percent less potable water than similar traditional buildings.
New buildings must use 30 percent less energy and 25 percent less potable water than similar traditional buildings.
Systems retrofits to the most energy-intensive buildings on campus are expected to save $4.2 million a year and cut energy use by 28 percent.
About 40 percent of Stanford Dining produce is organic or regionally grown; some is even grown on campus.
From 2002 to 2008, the percentage of Stanford employees driving alone to campus dropped from 72 to 51 percent.
Stanford diverted 64 percent of its solid waste from landfills in 2008—more than 14,500 tons.
Stanford diverted 64 percent of its solid waste from landfills in 2008—more than 14,500 tons.
The Energy Retrofit Program has delivered an estimated cumulative savings of over 240 million kilowatt-hours of electricity since it began in 1993—and prevented 72,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
Stanford completed 50 major water efficiency retrofit projects from 2001 through 2008, pushing down average domestic use from 2.7 million gallons per day (mgd) in 2000-01 to less than 2.3 mgd in 2007-08, despite campus growth.
New buildings must use 30 percent less energy and 25 percent less potable water than similar traditional buildings.