Investing in Sustainability

Stanford invests in sustainability through a broad range of initiatives: research and education, efficiency improvements in existing buildings, advanced conservation systems in new buildings, new technology demonstrations, student-led projects and financial policies that support sustainability. Below are examples of projects and policy initiatives that highlight Stanford’s commitment to sustainability.

Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability

The university is raising $250 million for the Initiative on the Environment and Sustainability to support interdisciplinary research and teaching across the university. Part of The Stanford Challenge, this major campus-wide effort aims at seeking solutions to the world’s most pressing problems and educating students for leadership in the 21st century. Stanford is working to raise $4.3 billion over five years to advance these goals. Learn more at the Stanford Challenge website.

Student Green Fund

Established in 2008, this fund provides grants for projects with direct student involvement that will help create a more sustainable campus. A total of $20,000 is available per academic year. See Student Green Fund for details.

Existing Buildings

The university has allocated $15 million for major capital improvements to the most energy-intensive buildings on campus.

The Energy Conservation Incentive Program rewards schools and administrative units for saving energy—rebates totaled $830,000 by the end of the program’s third full year.

The Energy Retrofit Program has invested more than $10 million over 15 years in improving energy efficiency through technology upgrades. See Energy Initiatives for details on these and other programs.

New Construction

All new buildings and most major renovations must meet Stanford’s Guidelines for Sustainable Buildings, which adapt the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system and the U.S. government’s Labs21 guidelines to the university setting. Base capital budgets include funding to meet these standards; project leaders can pursue higher standards through special funding.

Among the projects receiving special funding are the Science and Engineering Quad 2 development, including the new Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment + Energy Building; the upcoming Knight Management Center, the new home of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business; and Leslie Shao-ming Sun Field Station at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. See Green Buildings for project details.

Utility Supply

The university is running solar energy demonstration projects throughout the campus. See Energy Initiatives for details.

Sustainability Working Team on Economy

This team analyzes environmental sustainability issues that may arise in the areas of endowment transparency, investment priorities and shareholder engagement, and makes recommendations to campus leaders.

Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility

In 1971, the Stanford Board of Trustees became the first governing body of a major academic institution to adopt a statement on investment responsibility and created the Commission on Investment Responsibility, later renamed the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility (APIR). Find out about the panel’s work at the APIR website.

Financial Policies

Stanford has established financial policies related to environmental and equitable aspects of sustainability, including living wage and sustainable purchasing policies. Learn more at the Policies and Initiatives website.

“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
Provost, Stanford University
The Energy Retrofit Program has delivered an estimated cumulative savings of over 240 million kilowatt-hours of electricity since it began in 1993—and prevented 72,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
New buildings must use 30 percent less energy and 25 percent less potable water than similar traditional buildings.
Systems retrofits to the most energy-intensive buildings on campus are expected to save $4.2 million a year and cut energy use by 28 percent.
About 40 percent of Stanford Dining produce is organic or regionally grown; some is even grown on campus.
About 60 percent of Stanford’s total contiguous land remains undeveloped.
Recycled paper is less expensive than virgin paper under the campus-wide office supply contract.
From 2002 to 2010, the percentage of Stanford employees driving alone to campus dropped from 72 to 48 percent.
Stanford diverted 64 percent of its solid waste from landfills in 2008—more than 14,500 tons.
Effective August 1,2014:
Irrigation in Faculty & Staff Housing may occur only on Tuesday and Saturday nights for even numbered addresses, and Wednesday and Sunday nights for odd numbered addresses, between the hours of 7pm and 7am.
The goal of Sustainable IT is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our IT infrastructure.
The goal of Sustainable IT is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our IT infrastructure.
Stanford invests IN sustainability through a broad range of initiatives in research, education, efficiency improvement, conservation systems, new technology, student-led projects and more.
New buildings must use 30 percent less energy and 25 percent less potable water than similar traditional buildings.
New buildings must use 30 percent less energy and 25 percent less potable water than similar traditional buildings.
Systems retrofits to the most energy-intensive buildings on campus are expected to save $4.2 million a year and cut energy use by 28 percent.
About 40 percent of Stanford Dining produce is organic or regionally grown; some is even grown on campus.
From 2002 to 2008, the percentage of Stanford employees driving alone to campus dropped from 72 to 51 percent.
Stanford diverted 64 percent of its solid waste from landfills in 2008—more than 14,500 tons.
Stanford diverted 64 percent of its solid waste from landfills in 2008—more than 14,500 tons.
The Energy Retrofit Program has delivered an estimated cumulative savings of over 240 million kilowatt-hours of electricity since it began in 1993—and prevented 72,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
Stanford completed 50 major water efficiency retrofit projects from 2001 through 2008, pushing down average domestic use from 2.7 million gallons per day (mgd) in 2000-01 to less than 2.3 mgd in 2007-08, despite campus growth.
New buildings must use 30 percent less energy and 25 percent less potable water than similar traditional buildings.