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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.63
Liaison Moira Hafer
Submission Date July 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Stanford University
IC-2: Operational Characteristics

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Endowment size:
18,700,000,000 US/Canadian $

Total campus area:
8,180 Acres

IECC climate region:

Urban fringe of large city

Gross floor area of building space:
14,562,639 Gross Square Feet

Conditioned floor area:

Floor area of laboratory space:
3,739,860 Square Feet

Floor area of healthcare space:
0 Square Feet

Floor area of other energy intensive space:
74,705 Square Feet

Floor area of residential space:
4,534,139 Square Feet

Electricity use by source::
Percentage of total electricity use (0-100)
Biomass 0
Coal 0
Geothermal 0
Hydro 0
Natural gas 100
Nuclear 0
Solar photovoltaic 0
Wind 0
Other (please specify and explain below) ---

A brief description of other sources of electricity not specified above:

Between 1987 and 2015, Stanford obtained the vast majority of its electricity and heat from an onsite cogeneration facility that used natural gas as its fuel source. In April 2015, Stanford opened a grid-powered Central Energy Facility housing a high-voltage substation that distributes electricity to the campus.Also in April 2015, Stanford entered an agreement to build 78.5 MW of solar PV, 5.5 MW of which will be installed at 19 sites across Stanford’s campus. Combined with the renewable electricity Stanford already receives through the California grid, a total of 65% of Stanford’s electricity supply will be renewable by the end of 2016. For more details, please visit: http://sustainable.stanford.edu/sesi.

+ Date Revised: Dec. 2, 2015

Energy used for heating buildings, by source::
Percentage of total energy used to heat buildings (0-100)
Biomass 0
Coal 0
Electricity 0
Fuel oil 0
Geothermal 0
Natural gas 100
Other (please specify and explain below) ---

A brief description of other sources of building heating not specified above:

The vast majority of campus building heating needs are met by hot water generated from Stanford's new Central Energy Facility, which uses heat recovery chillers to recover the waste heat from the chilled water that Stanford uses to cool its buildings to create hot water used for heating. Through this process, Stanford is able to meet 93% of its simultaneous campus heating needs with 57% of the waste heat from its chilled water. Due to the significant heat recovery and lower line losses of hot water compared to steam, the new energy system is approximately 70% more efficient that the previous combined heat and power process provided by cogeneration, which had been employed at Stanford since 1987 until the launch of the new energy system in April 2015. For more details, please visit: http://sustainable.stanford.edu/sesi.

+ Date Revised: Dec. 2, 2015

In December 2011, Stanford’s Board of Trustees gave concept approval to the $480 million Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) program, a project designed to meet the university’s energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. SESI represents a significant transformation of the university’s energy supply from a 100% fossil-fuel-based cogeneration plant to a more efficient electric heat recovery system.

The program converted Stanford’s heating supply from steam to hot water, requiring the installation of over twenty miles of hot water piping and changes to the mechanical rooms of 155 buildings. The project also included construction of a new Central Energy Facility (CEF), which came online in April 2015. The CEF includes heat recovery chillers, three large water tanks for thermal energy storage, and a high-voltage substation that receives electricity from the grid. Do to the heat recovery chillers, the new CEF is 70% more efficient than the old cogeneration plant.

By the end of 2016, Stanford will procure 65% of its electricity from renewable sources, 78.5 MW of which will be owned by Stanford. This transition to renewable sources, along with the efficiencies gained from the new CEF and the conversion from steam to hot water, will reduce Stanford’s greenhouse gas emissions by 68%. SESI will also allow the campus to save 15% of campus potable water, open up the energy supply platform to future technologies, and enable the campus to better manage its power portfolio. For more details, please visit: http://sustainable.stanford.edu/sesi.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.