Chilled Water Capacity
Stanford's Central Energy Facility (CEF) relies on hot and cold water for heating and cooling, respectively, and utilizes a heat recovery process to meet campus needs efficiently. To further improve infrastructure resiliency during heat waves, and to eliminate disruption to teaching and research, additional cooling equipment was installed in September 2019 to expand the cooling capacity of the system by 35 percent. We are also in the process of planning and installing yet further expansions that will come online in the next few years, and we will continue to monitor emerging needs so that we can address them proactively. Should unanticipated and extreme heat conditions tax even these augmented systems, the university is prepared for different stages of chilled water curtailment, and the campus community can use the dashboards on this site to understand current and forecast conditions, and prepare appropriately.
The dashboards above display the actual chilled water capacity at the CEF and corresponding campus loads, as well as forecast projections for the week ahead, showing how the system may handle spikes in weather conditions. Yellow caution will occur if projected loads exceed 80% of total system capacity. Red caution will occur if projected loads exceed 95% of total system capacity. Total system capacity equals the total daily production capacity of all system chilling equipment plus a portion of available chilled water thermal storage. Storage is prorated by the number of days the heat event is expected to last. The second dashboard shows the gap between cumulative capacity and cumulative forecast.
In the unlikely event of a chilled water curtailment, every effort will be made to communicate with chilled water customers as quickly as possible. Facilities teams will communicate information to the Stanford community using the AlertSU system as soon as curtailment information becomes available.
Curtailment Stages and Impacts
During periods of curtailment, the situation is often very dynamic. The response may not always be systematic or progress sequentially through the specified stages, and some situations may require rapid escalation in curtailment stage levels with limited notice.
Click each stage to view a summary of associated impacts and how to prepare
STAGE 4 (A, B, C)
For those in research areas, please be aware that elevated temperatures can affect any equipment that utilizes process cooling water, including vacuum pumps, cryostats, and microscopes. In extreme cases, it can also lead to the overheating of freezers, the need for equipment re-calibration (such as lasers), and fume hood shut downs. Finally, it could lead to differences in the performance of experiments including an increase in reaction rates, higher vapor pressure of volatile solvents, increased evaporation of solvents and/or increased condensation on equipment. There are a number of non-curtailable spaces that house life safety functions and will not be included in any curtailment stages. For more detailed information:
You can also contact EH&S at 650-723-0448 with specific questions or concerns.
Proactive Demand Management
Curtailment periods should not be the first time to take stock of your energy and chilled water demand. To reduce heat gain in buildings, and support energy conservation goals, incorporate the following best practices into your daily habits:
- Turn off lights in unused rooms
- Lower window shades
- Keep doors and windows closed
- Power down unused office equipment
- Close laboratory fume hood sashes where not in use
- Shut off lab equipment not currently in use (where possible)