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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 are expected to save $4.2 million a year and cut energy use by 28 percent.

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

  • An energy-saving overhaul of the Stauffer Chemistry Building, completed in June 2007, led to a 35 percent drop in electricity use, 43 percent cut in steam use and 62 percent fall in chilled water use. The project reduced the building’s carbon dioxide emissions by 762 metric tons per year and cut its energy costs by 46 percent in the first 12 months. Similar results have been achieved at the neighboring Stauffer Phyiscal Chemistry Building.
  • Preliminary results of a HVAC controls upgrade at the Gates Computer Science Building show a 62 percent reduction in steam use as well as 16 percent drop in chilled water consumption.
  • The Energy Retrofit Program has delivered an estimated cumulative savings of over 240 million kilowatt-hours of electricity since it began in 1993 – roughly equivalent to 15 months of the university’s current use – and prevented 72,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

More efficient water heating in residences saves 100,000 therms of natural gas annually. See Energy Initiatives for program details and more results.


  • 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)