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The built environment at Stanford is a critical component of supporting academic life, and the university designs and creates buildings that preserve existing green space while using responsibly sourced materials to mitigate environmental impacts. Stanford aims to ensure that all buildings on campus are as efficient as possible, which is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, 93% of campus greenhouse gas emissions come from energy generated for heating, cooling, and electricity in buildings.

To improve building efficiency, design teams refer to the Guidelines for Sustainable Buildings, which were influenced by Frederick Law Olmsted, Stanford’s original master plan designer and the visionary founder of American landscape architecture. Olmsted envisioned a beautiful, functional campus that would conserve resources, while accommodating the surrounding environment. The guidelines, which new building projects are expected to follow, uphold Olmsted’s vision in today’s context.

Stanford’s new buildings are designed to meet a whole-building energy performance target. The target is unique to each new building, but based on performance of existing campus buildings of the same space type. Each new building is targeted to perform better than comparable buildings that were built before it.

In addition to meeting energy performance targets for new buildings, the university also makes significant investments to improve efficiency in existing buildings. Upgrades include reducing energy and water use to ensure resources are used sustainably.


View the latest Sustainability Year in Review for more information on energy and water use in buildings and overall campus performance. 

Completed Projects​

  • The Bio-Medical Innovations Building (BMI) helps the School of Medicine to translate medical research discoveries into treatments and cures. The new building will is approximately 215,500 sf with four above-grade floors of research labs and light-filled gathering places, and a lower basement level with reduced functional square footage for utility support. The design includes a number of features that should enable the building to exceed its aggressive energy performance targets, including high performance walls and windows, efficient lighting systems, exhaust air heat recovery, low pressure-drop ductwork, high efficiency supply fans, and variable air volume fume hoods, which automatically turn down when not in active use.
  • The Escondido Village Graduate Residences (EVGR) is the largest expansion of Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) to-date, and increases graduate student housing capacity on campus by almost 20 percent, meeting a critical university priority as Bay Area housing costs continue to rise. The project finished on time to welcome new residences even during shelter-in-place in response to COVID-19. As part of this project, mid-rise buildings (new and existing) in Escondido Village will be connected to Stanford’s central hot water loop for space heating, thereby avoiding the need for gas boilers on site. The buildings include sustainability as a focus throughout the space
  • The Center for Academic Medicine (CAM) will provide a consolidated office and administrative environment for several Stanford Medicine departments currently located throughout the Stanford Medicine campus. The new center will primarily house clinical faculty, computational researchers, and departmental administration and leadership. Although the building will not house clinical functions, it will be essential to support clinical faculty and educators as they perform their duties in the nearby Hospitals and Clinics. The CAM project has two major components:
    • A four story, 170,000 gross square foot office and administrative building that includes several amenities for the building occupants, such as a small conference center, a café, and a fitness center.
    • A three story underground parking structure with approximately 830 spaces to replace existing surface parking and provide adequate parking for the new building occupants.

In-Progress Projects

  • Shutlz and 1215 Welch Rd. buildings