Since 2001, the annual Winter Closure program has served an important role in energy conservation at Stanford. Previously voluntary, the two-week shutdown of building heating, ventilation, and custodial services became mandatory in 2003 via a program administered jointly by the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management and Zone Management. Winter Closure has resulted in a cumulative net energy cost savings of $3.7 million since its inception. Of 247 zone-maintained buildings, 121 fully participated in the program in 2015, and 67 partially participated. Overall, the university saved $340,000 in operating costs and avoided 806 metric tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to taking 170 cars off the road for a year.

To encourage building occupant support for the program, Sustainable Stanford hosts a Turn Down for Break pledge drive each year for faculty, staff, and students living on campus. In 2015, building occupants were also eligible to trade in their space heaters for Sustainable Stanford fleece jackets and receive rebates for upgrading their ultra-low-temperature freezers in lab spaces. A record number of people participated in this year’s campaign.