Stanford 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.
Proper assessment of Stanford’s success in achieving a culture of sustainability depends heavily on tracking performance metrics and reporting them both internally and externally. A commitment to transparency and accountability helps the university strengthen its sustainability programs and services.
In addition to tracking absolute consumption and intensity trends, Stanford considers annual per capita resource use. As the university grows to support its academic mission, responsible growth is both a priority and a tool for informing long-range strategic planning. As the total campus population continues to grow, the suite of efficiency and conservation programs implemented by the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management and its partner organizations ensures that each individual footprint shrinks. As a testament to these efforts, per capita consumption has dropped in every category compared to each baseline year, illustrating the effectiveness of resource management at Stanford. The university continues to analyze the effectiveness of its sustainability programs and identify opportunities for further improvement.
CHANGES IN RESOURCE CONSUMPTION
The figures below depict trends in resource consumption this past year and compared to baseline program years. Mindful of the continued growth necessary to support and advance its academic mission and enroll more students, Stanford maintains an unrelenting commitment to reducing its impact on resources. The graphic below depicts resource use in 2015 compared to both 2014 and the baseline year. Baseline years other than 2000 represent formal program start dates and/or the earliest year for which data is available.
OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY SUMMARY
Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 20071
Decrease in Greenhouse Gas Intensity since 2007
Decrease in Energy Use since 2000
Reduction in Domestic Water Use since 2000
Decrease in Landfilled Waste since 2000
Decrease in Drive-Alone Rate since 2002
Greenhouse Gas Emissions1
Greenhouse Gas Intensity
Domestic Water Use
1This reduction in emissions only reflects the first nine months of operation of the Stanford Energy System Innovations project, and is not representative of the full reductions that will be achieved with complete implementation by December 2016.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Stanford began operating its new Central Energy Facility (CEF) in April 2015. The substantial efficiency increase from the previous cogeneration plant has allowed for an immediate 35% drop in campus emissions after the CEF’s first full year of operation. Installation of 5.5 megawatts of onsite solar and 67 megawatts of offsite solar power will allow Stanford’s emissions to decrease by a total of 68% by the end of 2016.
PUBLICALLY REPORTED HISTORICAL GHG EMISSIONS
This chart depicts the breakdown of Stanford’s total 2015 emissions. It includes Stanford University’s third-party-verified, publicly reported Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, which capture all direct and indirect emissions from the purchase of electricity, heating, and cooling, as well as emissions associated with Stanford Hospital and Clinics (SHC) as a result of the heating and cooling they purchased from Stanford’s Central Energy Facility. The total emissions chart also includes Scope 3 emissions from driving commuters and business air travel, bringing direct and indirect emissions associated with Stanford operations to 199,648 metric tons of CO2 in 2015.
2015 EMISSIONS INVENTORY
Total Metric Tons of CO2
The Road to Carbon Reduction
This past year, Stanford’s greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 63,500 metric tons. That’s the equivalent of removing 13,400 vehicles from the road for an entire year. As Stanford’s renewable energy comes online, and with efficiency gains from new high-performing buildings and numerous retrofit programs, Stanford will continue its emissions reductions.
After the launch of the Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) project, Stanford’s energy use in buildings decreased by 17% in 2015 compared to 2014, which equates to a 7% overall decrease since 2000. Total energy intensity has consistently decreased year to year and is now 25% lower than it was in 2000, which reflects the effectiveness of energy-efficient new construction and retrofits, as well as the introduction of the new energy system.
HISTORICAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Total water use has decreased substantially since 2000 due to the success of Stanford’s water efficiency programs. The university’s dedicated drought response efforts since 2014 have reduced its water consumption even further.
WATER CONSUMPTION TRENDS
Every Drop Counts
This past year, Stanford was able to save over 135 million gallons of water as a result of its Water Efficiency program and implementation of the SESI project.
The amount of campus waste that is landfilled has decreased significantly since 2000 as recycling and composting have become prevalent.
2015 WASTE DIVERSION
Stanford’s continued focus on increasing recycling and composting on campus brought the amount of waste diverted from the landfill up by 4% between 2014 and 2015.
HISTORICAL WASTE MINIMIZATION
Stanford has significantly lowered the number of commuters who drive alone to campus since 2002, and the percentage has remained steady around 50% since 2013, thanks to an extensive Transportation Demand Management program.