Stanford University has recently completed a campus-wide sustainable energy system that cuts greenhouse emissions by 68 percent and fossil fuel use by 65 percent. The new 125,600-square-foot Central Energy Facility designed by ZGF Architects operates as part of this innovative system and establishes visual references to the architectural history of the campus.
The innovative energy system-Stanford Energy System Innovation (SESI)- stretches across the entire campus and replaces the previous, 100 percent fossil-fuel-based electricity infrastructure with grid-sourced electricity and a unique heat recovery system. SESI includes an offsite solar farm that comprises 150,000 high-efficiency photovoltaic panels. The new Stanford Solar Generation Station developed in collaboration with SunPower will operate with the new system and eliminate 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This corresponds to taking 32,000 cars off the road each year.
The new, ZGF-designed facility sits just outside of the campus core and combines sustainability with lightness and transparency. The building integrates the surrounding campus and is architecturally articulated to reference its history. The arrangement of the volumes minimize the facility’s impact, with additional visual shielding provided by metal screens. Weathered CorTen steelaccents create a visual connection to the terra-cotta tile roofs, while board-formed concrete references Stanford’s classical limestone buildings.
Photos by Steve Proehl