What We Are Doing

Sustainability is a core value at Stanford, and the campus continues to make significant investments in and strides toward sustainability at the operational, academic, and programmatic levels.

Central to the academic endeavor has been the Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability, which boosted interdisciplinary research and teaching in all seven of Stanford’s schools, as well as in interdisciplinary institutes, centers, and associated programs across campus, in recognition of the fact that solutions to complex challenges demand collaboration across multiple fields. To learn more, visit Teaching and Research.

The Department of Sustainability and Energy Management (SEM) within Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE) leads initiatives on campus physical infrastructure and programs in energy and climate, water, transportation, building operations, and information systems. The Office of Sustainability (founded in 2008) connects campus departments and entities and works collaboratively with them to steer sustainability-specific initiatives. The Office works on long-range sustainability analysis and planning, evaluation and reporting, communication and outreach, academic integration, behavior-based programs, and governance coordination. Learn more in the topic areas above.

Stanford's successes and achievements are compiled in the annual report, Sustainability at Stanford: A Year in Review. It presents noteworthy initiatives and accomplishments of both academic and operational departments from the past year. The University's sustainability efforts are frequently recognized by third-party evaluators. Learn more at Recognition and Awards.

“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 7 pm and 7 am.
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 of 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.

LEADERSHIP EARNS RECOGNITION

Kudos from third-party evaluators and successful partnerships with innovative organizations underscore Stanford's leadership in the evolving field of sustainability.

  • 2015 Green Honor Roll, Princeton Review. Stanford was named as one of the most environmentally friendly schools in the nation for the second consecutive year, earning 99 points (the maximum possible) in the survey of 861 schools.
  • Top 10 ranking, “Cool Schools,” Sierra magazine, for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Gold rating, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Stanford earned a Gold rating under AASHE’s latest version (2.0) of its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).*

* Though STARS does not formally rank institutions, Stanford’s score of 74.6 percent became the highest earned to date by any institution within the new framework. A total of 314 colleges and universities report into various versions of STARS.