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Redwood City Campus

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As with the main campus, sustainability is a cornerstone of the Redwood City campus design and culture, with extensive thought given to opportunities to advance progress and innovations. If you have specific questions or ideas, or would like to get involved with the sustainability working group at Redwood City, please contact us.

With the first major expansion of the Stanford campus in its history, the sustainability working team at the Redwood City campus plays a critical role in embedding sustainability programs and progress into the culture of the new campus, acting as ambassadors for the nine departments who occupy the campus. 

Department membership includes:

  • Business Affairs
  • Health Improvement Program 
  • Medical School Office of Development 
  • Office of Research Administration
  • University Human Resources
  • University Information Technology

Buildings & Grounds

The Redwood City campus takes into account best practices from years of efficient design. The buildings feature state-of-the-art controls that monitor occupancy, temperature, and outside light to maximize efficiency. All of the buildings feature floor-to-ceiling windows (as well as mechanical shades for the summer) to augment both heating and light needs. These unique features minimize the need for any additional personal comfort equipment (e.g., space heaters, fans), as the conditions are optimized based on the people in the room. Programs like Cardinal Print offer streamlined services to maximize efficiency across operations. The landscape incorporates bio-swales for water retention, as well as native plants, to both enhance the Stanford look and feel, as well as conserve water.


Waste is managed through Recology in Redwood City but incorporates the same waste building system as the Stanford campus. Stanford University is working towards a zero-waste campus, defined as having 90% landfill waste diversion or higher, by 2030. A key component of the diversion effort is a streamlined recycling system that combines plastic, metal, and glass with paper into one bin. Centralized waste stations in common areas rather than individual bins at work stations reduce the amount of chemical cleaning supplies needed, further simplify sorting for occupants, and offer wellness benefits by encouraging a respite and movement from workstations to recycle and compost. All kitchenette stations and bathrooms, as well as the fitness area of the Redwood City Recreation Center, also offer paper towel composting.


Stanford in Redwood City supports the university’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, and relies on a smaller version of the campus Central Energy Facility (CEF) for heating and cooling. The plant features one 600-ton heat recovery chiller, a 1 million-gallon capacity chilled water thermal energy storage tank, three 8,000 gallon capacity hot water thermal energy storage tanks, and backup chillers and hot water generators. It provides all of the heating demand for the campus through recovered waste heat, as well as saves approximately $60 million in operating costs over 30 years compared to a traditional local building heating and cooling system. The new system is a 1/10-scale of the CEF, demonstrating scalability. The Redwood City campus also ties into Stanford’s electricity procurement, which is 100% renewable electricity.


Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) manages the Cardinal Café and Catering Services for Redwood City, and its commitment to sustainability remains a key component of its operations there. R&DE prioritizes local, organic, humanely raised, fairly traded food, as well as food from family-owned farms and sustainable fisheries. The Café also features a food donation program and encourages the use of reusable serviceware to minimize waste. Popular programs like the Seed Library and “Know Your Food” will continue to offer staff engaging opportunities to explore their relationship with food.


All Redwood City buildings follow California’s Title 24 requirements to incorporate water-efficient fixtures, including toilets, faucets, showers, and urinals. Water meters will monitor consumption to ensure that plumbing fixtures reduce overall potable water use by 20% compared to normal. Additionally, recycled water is used prominently throughout Redwood City, and on the Stanford Redwood City campus it primarily serves as irrigation for the landscape and is utilized in toilets and urinals. Advanced irrigation controls and sub-metering specifically for the landscape features will help to identify further opportunity for efficiency.


Stanford’s Redwood City transportation program prioritizes sustainable commutes, and has a host of programs to that aim to reduce the drive-alone rate to the Redwood City campus. Eligible commuters can enjoy many of the same programs available on campus, including Clean Air Cash, free carpool permits and vanpools, and other rewards. Staff are encouraged to take advantage of public transportation and shuttles to campus, and can receive free Caltrain Go Pass, SamTrans pass, and VTA SmartPass, along with bicycle amenities. Visit Stanford Transportation for more information on alternative commute options and services for Redwood City.