Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Students dancing

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
Former Provost, Stanford University

Campus Operations

Main content start

The university is dedicated to improving sustainability of all campus operations. It relies on an integrated system of utilities meters and controls that improve business processes, promote data-driven decisions, and offer analytical tools to optimize efficiency. This system ultimately provides greater insight into Stanford’s utility infrastructure to operate in the most reliable, safe, and cost-effective way, enabling adept management to conserve resources.

Learn more about each of the six categories of campus operations:

Central Energy Facility

Energy and Climate

We’re building on a decades-long commitment to energy conservation and efficiency, as well as the advantages of a temperate climate and strong state energy codes.

Jasper Ridge


Stanford has an extensive history of effective water conservation efforts and sustainable practices, while preserving ecological systems and vital resources for future generations.

Marguerite Shuttles


Stanford runs one of the most comprehensive programs in the country to reduce university-related traffic impacts – it’s an essential part of our drive for sustainability.

Buildings and Grounds

Building and Grounds

To pursue world-changing research and respond to environmental concerns, Stanford designs and creates buildings that use resources wisely to provide healthy, productive environments.

Arrillaga Family Dining Commons

Food and Living

Stanford Dining provides sustainable, locally-produced, fresh, and delicious meals and reducing food waste, to help decrease pollution, reduce energy use, and support small businesses.

Digital Waste Sculpture


By using less, reusing more, recycling and composting, Stanford can preserve land, save energy, conserve water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve natural resources.

For more about Campus Operations:

See how the university serves as a living lab, at both Stanford's main campus and the Redwood City campus.


The university has undertaken major ongoing initiatives to reduce energy and water use, apply stringent environmental standards to all new buildings, encourage sustainable living, promote low-impact transportation, conserve natural resources, and decrease waste, even with continued campus growth. Stanford continues to analyze the effectiveness of its sustainability programs and identify opportunities for improvement. In addition to tracking absolute consumption and intensity trends, Stanford considers annual per capita resource use. For a complete review, please view the Sustainability at Stanford: Year in Review. 

Stanford actively manages it performance and tracks its progress via campus-wide dashboards aimed at increasing efficiency across all operations. As the university continues to grow to support its academic mission, responsible growth is both a priority and a tool for informing long-range strategic planning. Stanford is dedicated to driving resource conservation at the individual and operational levels, and the efficiency and conservation programs implemented by the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management and its partner organizations ensure that each individual footprint shrinks. The performance snapshot below showcases progress compared to baseline years of measurement.

These are statistics from 2020, comparing various baseline years. Total energy use increased 4% since 2000. Total energy intensity dropped 36% since 2000. GHG Emissions, GHG Intensity, Landfilled Waste, Drive-Alone rate, and domestic water use has decreased at least 50% in the last 50 years.


Sunset view from Stanford Campus