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Welcome to SESI

Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI) powers the university with innovative solutions that result in the most sustainable and efficient use of resources.

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SESI encompasses the best of both North American and European district heating and cooling system advancements, with engineers, manufacturers, and constructors from both continents collaborating to develop this state-of-the-art transformation of Stanford into one of the most efficient district energy systems in the world. Aside from extremely efficient operations, sustainability features are incorporated throughout the Central Energy Facility (CEF) so that it can serve as an example for generations to come. 

Situated on 8,180 acres, Stanford University requires a significant amount of energy to support its academic mission and the research functions housed within more than 1,000 campus buildings. Efficiently managing energy supply and demand, as well as the corresponding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is critical to the university’s future.

Making Headlines

Stanford Energy System Innovations

Stanford Energy System Innovations, or SESI, represents one of the most comprehensive and cutting-edge energy supply transformations on a campus of this size in the world, and serves as the foundation for how the campus operates today. This new system, along with Stanford’s solar power procurement, has reduced campus emissions by 80% from peak levels, and in its first year of operation, it saved 18% of campus potable water.

Learn about our impact

Award-winning Facilities

In 2015, as part of the Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI) program, a new Central Energy Facility (CEF) was built. It is the heart of SESI and houses multiple, groundbreaking innovations and a  multifaceted system that provides Stanford with sustainable, cost efficient, thermal energy. Sustainability wasn’t just considered in the mechanical design, it was a guiding principle of the entire project.

Learn about the Central Energy Facility

Energy System

Dive into the specifics of the Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI): the components that are housed within the Central Energy Facility (CEF), how campus has direct access to the electric grid through a high-voltage substation, and the details of hot and chilled water distribution.

Renewable Energy

The use of clean energy is one of the three primary components of Stanford's Energy and Climate Action Plan. Because SESI relies on electricity more than natural gas to power heating and cooling systems, Stanford has been able to take a significant step towards transitioning away from fossil fuels to a more efficient system that relies on renewables.

Visit Us

Group, self-guided, and video fly-through tours are all available and give energy explorers a better understanding of these state-of-the-art innovations. Tours are led by energy industry experts and other professional staff who work to make Stanford’s future more sustainable.


Designing the Energy System

Dig a little deeper and get a behind-the-scenes look from resources that provide a unique dive into SESI. Whether you are interested in the architectural specifics or cutting-edge energy solutions, these technical documents will provide in-depth information.

Find technical resources

The History & Transformation of SESI

Since the school was founded in 1891, utility management for the majority of campus buildings has been overseen by skilled teams of university staff.  Stanford’s latest energy supply transformation advanced the campus Energy & Climate Action Plan, accelerating the path to net zero emissions by 2050. SESI serves as an operational sustainability model for other campuses, organizations, and cities.

Our Story

Be Empowered

SESI utilizes completely replicable and scalable technologies for systems as big as large cities, or as small as individual homes. Empower your organization with learnings around the history and transformation of Stanford’s energy system, examples of the scalability of SESI, and the future of sustainable energy technologies at Stanford.