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Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI)

SESI Resources

Energy and Climate Plan
Project Fact Sheet
Technical Innovation Overview
Technical Documentation
Design Fly-Through

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.

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 then accepted 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. In October 2009, Stanford released a comprehensive and long-range Energy and Climate Action plan. The plan includes high-efficiency standards for new buildings; continued efficiency improvements for existing buildings; and the cutting-edge energy supply system known as the Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) project, which the Board of Trustees gave concept approval of in December 2011.

SESI represents a transformation of university energy supply from 100 percent fossil-fuel-based combined heat and power plant to grid-scourced electricity and a more efficient electric heat recovery system. In 2013, Stanford’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions totaled 264,000 metric tons. This new system, along with Stanford’s solar and geothermal power procurement, is anticipated to reduce campus emissions approximately 80% from current levels and save 15% of campus potable water. 

Conceived in the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management (SEM) and being implemented in collaboration with the Department of Project Management (DPM), the university architect’s office, Land Use and Environmental Planning, Zones Management, Buildings and Grounds Maintenance, and many other departments, the SESI program is an all-hands Land, Buildings & Real Estate engagement that will deliver immense benefits for Stanford University in decades to come.