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Stanford University Central Energy Facility

The 125,614 SF Central Energy Facility — designed by ZGF Architects — is located on the west side of the central campus, just outside the campus core. Its siting respects Olmstead’s original axial campus plan and functions to align the University’s founding and future quads. The energy complex is comprised of five distinct components: an Entry Court and Administrative/Teaching Facility serves as the knuckle between two major plant buildings – the Heat Recovery Chiller (HRC) Plant with its two large cold water storage tanks, and the California State Office of Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) Plant.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-03-Robert-Canfield-759x486 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield

The Stanford Replacement Central Energy Facility (RCEF) project consists of a non-OSHPD energy building, an OSHPD energy building, an office/administration building, a control room building, a workshop building, two chilled-water tanks, one hot water tank, two electrical equipment yards, three tall tank screens, one L-shaped trellis, and associated energy equipment. R+C was Structural Engineerof-Record for the entire project.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-04-Robert-Canfield-759x506 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield

At the heart of Stanford University’s transformational, campus-wide energy system is a new, technologically advanced central energy facility. The system replaces a 100 percent fossil-fuel-based cogeneration plant with primarily electrical power—65 percent of which comes from renewable sources—and a first of its kind heat recovery system, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and fossil fuel and water use. The facility comprises a net positive energy administrative building, a heat recovery chiller plant, a cooling and heating plant, a service yard, and a new campus-wide main electrical substation. Designed to sensitively integrate into the surrounding campus, the architectural expression is one of lightness, transparency and sustainability to express the facility’s purpose.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-07-Matthew-Anderson-759x827 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Matthew Anderson

“The university today announced a new agreement to provide the majority of its campus electricity from renewable sources within California. A Stanford Solar Generating Station, to be designed and built by SunPower, is expected to provide half of all campus electricity. Combined with planned solar power from installations on campus rooftops and the purchase of further renewable power from the grid, renewable energy will supply 65 percent of all campus electricity. The renewable energy is joined by a first-of-its-kind campus heat recovery system, which began operating March 24 to heat and cool campus buildings. The combined new system – Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) – makes Stanford one of the most energy-efficient research universities in the world. It far exceeds the aggressive goals of California’s AB 32 Global Warming Solutions Act, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.” – Stanford University

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-08-Robert-Canfield-759x485 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield


Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-09-Robert-Canfield-759x486 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield

The Central Energy Facility (CEF) is the most prominent visual component of the Stanford Energy Systems Innovations engineering project, cumulatively projected to be 70% more efficient than Stanford’s previous energy production and distribution system, reducing carbon emissions by 75% and potable water use by 60%.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-10-Robert-Canfield-759x494 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield

The engineered systems occupying most of the CEF include heat recovery chillers, standard chillers and hot water generators that capitalize on daily heating and cooling overlap to heat the entire campus and Stanford hospitals. Thermal energy storage tanks provide twelve million gallons of hot and chilled water capacity to decouple the production from the load. The new substation allows flexible management of Stanford’s energy supply platform and SESI’s campus-wide circulation system collects and returns waste heat to the CEF.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-11-Robert-Canfield-759x512 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield

Sited on the western edge of the campus, the CEF is primarily occupied by the central engineered systems of the Stanford Energy Systems Innovation project. The building also provides classrooms and workstations that benefit from chilled sails, natural ventilation, abundant daylighting, daylight and occupancy sensors, phase change materials, and thermal radiant slabs for heating and cooling. The CEF is an exercise in engagingly legible functionality. Indoor and outdoor spaces are physically and visually integrated, with outdoor circulation and courtyard spaces centered on the massive thermal tanks. The campusfacing main entrance is shaded by solar panel frames that extend along an east façade glazed to display vividly painted heat recovery chillers, OSHPD chillers, and hot water generators to a community committed to sustainable planning and living.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-12-Robert-Canfield-759x503 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield

“This project fulfills a carbon-neutral strategy for Stanford and houses a central plant and facilities building. The facility demonstrates a long-range climate and energy plan in action. It transforms what would be a typical unappreciated energy plant into a classroom and a moment of architectural joy. A naturally ventilated, daylit work environment is provided for facilities staff who would normally be in a windowless basement. It sets a high bar for a university to provide national environmental leadership and design excellence.” – Jury comments / AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-15-Matthew-Anderson-759x510 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Matthew Anderson

ZGF Architects:

Stanford University has just completed a transformational campus-wide energy system— replacing a 100% fossil-fuel-based combined heat and power plant with grid-sourced electricity and a first-of-its-kind heat recovery system. Positioning Stanford as a national leader in energy efficiency and carbon reduction, the results are impressive: greenhouse gas emissions are slashed by 68%; fossil fuel use by 65%; and campus-wide water use by 15%. This comprehensive Stanford Energy System Innovation (SESI) initiative will eliminate 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of removing 32,000 cars from the road every year. Expected energy savings to Stanford over 35 years is $425 million.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-18-Tim-Griffith-791x1200 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Tim Griffith

SESI combines an o site, dedicated solar farm producing 68 megawatts of clean renewable electricity via 150,000 high-eficiency photovoltaic panels; conversion of the heat supply of all buildings from steam to hot water; and an innovative heat recovery loop that captures nearly two-thirds of waste heat generated by the campus cooling system to produce hot water for the heating system. At its heart is a new Central Energy Facility that embodies the latest technological advances in heat recovery. Heated and chilled water is stored in three massive water tanks totaling 12 million gallons. A patented technology developed by Stanford continuously monitors the plant’s equipment, predicts campus energy loads, grid prices and weather, steering the system to optimal efficiency. The automated software also reviews its own performance.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-21-Robert-Canfield-759x496 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield

The 125,614 SF Central Energy Facility is located on the west side of the central campus, just outside the campus core. Its siting respects Olmstead’s original axial campus plan and functions to align the University’s founding and future quads. The energy complex is comprised of ve distinct components: an Entry Court and Administrative/Teaching Facility, which serves as the knuckle between two major plant buildings; the Heat Recovery Chiller (HRC) Plant with its two large cold water storage tanks; the California State O ce of Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) Plant; a service yard; and a new campus- wide, main electrical substation. The massing and arrangement of the various components minimize the overall facility’s impact, with additional visual shielding provided by elegant metal screens. The main entry is on the prominent eastern edge, facing the central campus, while the electrical substation is located on the western edge to minimize its visual presence.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-24-Robert-Canfield-759x488 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Robert Canfield


Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-Diagrams-02-759x523 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

Diagrams 02 – © ZGF Architects

The overall architectural expression is one of lightness, transparency and sustainability to express the facility’s purpose. The Central Energy Facility’s materiality takes its cues from Stanford’s rich collection of historical and contemporary buildings. Stanford’s classic limestone buildings are represented by integrally-colored, board-formed concrete, while weathered CorTen steel accents suggest the terra-cotta tile roofs. Extensive glazing, dark steel columns and polished aluminum establish a contemporary vernacular, while reclaimed wood so fits in the arcades add warmth.

Stanford-University-Central-Energy-Facility-By-ZGF-Architects-31-Steve-Proehl-759x506 Stanford University Central Energy Facility / ZGF Architects

© Steve Proehl

Project Data:

Project name: Shanghai Tower
Location: Stanford, California 94305, United States
Coordinates: 37.428115, -122.184413
Type: Energy Facility
Number of stories: 3
Site area: 534,019 sq.ft
Project area: 125,600 sq.ft – CEF
Project Period: 2012-2015
Status: Built
Cost/Budget: $485 million
Completion: March, 2015

Awards:

  • 2017 – AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects – Winner
  • 2017 – Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design Awards,  – Green Good Design Award
  • 2016 – American Architecture Prize –  Category: Architectural Design / Industrial Buildings – Bronze award
  • 2016 – The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA San Francisco Awards  – Design Awards – Honor Award
  • 2016 – AZURE Magazine’s Awards – Environmental Leadership Award – Winner
  • 2015 – International Design Awards (IDA Awards) – Category: Architecture / Professional / Sustainable Living/Green – Gold Award
  • 2015 – Engineering News Record (ENR) Awards – Best of the Best Projects – Category: Energy Industrial – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Stanford University – 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, United States
Architects:

  • ZGF Architects – 1223 SW Washington Street Suite 200 Portland, Oregon 97205, United States

Interior designer: ZGF Architects

Project Team:

  • Lead Designer: Toby Hasselgren
  • Design Team: Joe Collins (Partner-in-Charge), Renee Kajimoto, Chris Flint Chatto, Curtis Williams, Glen Justice, Solvei Neiger, Halliday Meisburger

General contractor: The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Engineers:

  • Mechanical/Electrical/ Plumbing Engineer: AEI Consulting Engineers
  • Structural Engineering: Rutherford + Chekene
  • Civil Engineering: BKF Engineers

Consultants:

  • Landscape: Tom Leader Studio
  • Lighting: Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
  • Acoustic Consultant: Colin Gordon Associates
  • Control System: Johnson Controls Inc.

Selected suppliers & subcontractors, Manufacturers:

  • Timber column shipwrights: Ventis & Brasker Masten
  • Timber decking & handrail: CTS Bridges, Russwood
  • Decking & handrail treatment: Koppers Micropro by Norclad
  • Rope supply: Bristol Rope & Twine
  • Cable-net meshing: Carl Stahl
  • Bench joinery/manufacture: Heseltine Design

Text Description: © Courtesy of ZGF Architects, Stanford University, AIA/COTE Top Ten
Images: © ZGF Architects, Stanford University, Matthew Anderson, Steve Proehl, Robert Canfield, Tim Griffith

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