Stanford University is transitioning from a 100 percent natural-gas heat and power cogeneration system to an electricity-based, combined heating and cooling system.As part of the transition, the university is building an energy facility that will help reduce the campus’ carbon emissions by 50 percent.
According to Stanford News Service, the university conducted a review of its energy usage and determined that more than 80 percent of its heating demands could be met with waste heat from the campus cooling system. In December 2011, the Board of Trustees approved the $438 million Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) project, scheduled for completion in 2015.
Key to SESI is the new 125,000-square-foot central energy facility, which Stanford broke ground on this week. The facility will recover and use approximately 70 percent of waste heat from the campus chilled water system to supply 80 percent of the heating and hot water for campus buildings. Additionally, the new facility will allow the university to acquire electricity from other sources such as wind or solar power.
Once SESI is fully implemented, Stanford’s carbon impact will be reduced by amounts exceeding the goals of California’s AB 32 Global Warming Solutions Act, the university says.
In August, The University of California, Davis won the top spot in the Sierra Club’s annual green colleges list, while Stanford took third place. The Sierra Club recognized Stanford for its more than 20 courses about sustainable agriculture and global food systems.