Eco-friendly new building sets sustainability standards
Last March, Stanford University dedicated its new Jerry Yang
and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building (dubbed
‘Y2E2’), a hub for multidisciplinary environmental research and
teaching. An innovative model of sustainability, Y2E2 was named
after the co-founder of Yahoo! Inc. (a Stanford trustee) and his
wife – both Stanford alums who had contributed $50 million
toward the building’s construction.
In line with the university’s commitment to reduce its carbon
footprint, Y2E2 was built to conserve natural resources as well as
offer a unique learning environment. In fact, the building’s green
design is expected to deliver substantial efficiency gains over similar
conventional buildings – using an impressive 56 percent less energy
and 90 percent less potable water. Given Y2E2’s eco-friendly standards,
it’s no surprise that the building is supplied with steam, chilled
water and electricity from the campus Central Energy Facility.
The 166,000-sq-ft building is the first of four that will make up
Stanford’s new Science and Engineering Quad 2. It is a pioneering
model for interdisciplinary organization, providing space for faculty,
staff and students from more than 10 different departments, centers,
programs and institutes.
In lieu of traditional departmental spaces, the building accommodates focal areas for the research that takes place there on various
global environmental problems. The spatial connections provided by
the building’s four large atria and its interior and exterior transparency support the spirit of collaboration and interdisciplinary
solutions. Each atrium serves as a central light well that illuminates
the common areas on all three floors and in the basement. Office
walls rimming the atrium are translucent above 7 ft to allow the
light to flow deeper into the building. Also reducing the need for
artificial light are light shelves, slabs attached horizontally to the
outside of west- and south-facing windows that are painted white
on top to catch light and reflect it into the building.
In addition to natural ventilation, Y2E2 employs highly efficient
active systems for heating and cooling. Active chilled beams, fed by
chilled water from the campus chilled-water system, were installed
throughout the building (the north side is passive cooling only).
Radiant flooring, using hot water charged by the campus central
steam system, was installed in the entry. Both technologies use water
to conduct heat rather than the less-efficient yet conventional air.
Y2E2 is designed to make the most effective use of natural
light, distributing it throughout the building in winter and summer
without creating excess heat in the building. Sunshades are positioned
below the top of windows so that there is window above and below
the shade. In summer, when the sun is at a high angle (76 degrees),
the sunshade prevents the sunlight from directly entering the building
and adding undesirable solar load. The primary method for keeping
the building cool and ventilated in hotter months is a nightly air-
flushing process. When evening arrives and the temperature drops
to about 60 degrees F, top windows of common areas automatically open to let cool air rush in; and as heat in the building rises, it
vacates via the atria that also opens.
An enhanced measurement and verification system tracks the
performance of the various building systems. The main utility systems
are metered, including electricity, steam, chilled water, domestic
water, recycled water and irrigation water; there is also extensive
electrical submetering. An extensive database is being created
with information on building performance, building energy use
and photovoltaic performance that will be available to students
and faculty for use in their research and classes.
The Y2E2 building is part of a major campus expansion that
will ultimately add 2 million sq ft of new buildings and more than
2,400 new student housing units. These facilities will be supplied
with electricity, steam and chilled water from Stanford’s Central
Energy Facility through a distribution system that first began providing steam to the campus in 1891. Steadily expanded over the
years, the Central Energy Facility currently includes a 49 MW combined-cycle power plant; four backup boilers, totaling 280,000 lb/hr;
and five steam and eight electric chillers with a peak capacity of
approximately 24,000 tons, backed up by 120,000 ton-hr of ice
storage. In support of Y2E2 and the remainder of the new engineering
quad, the facility has added a new recycled water plant that will
capture cooling tower blowdown water for use in building toilet
flushing and irrigation.
Although it is setting new sustainability standards for Stanford,
Y2E2 is not the university’s first green building. Two predecessors
paved the way: the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global
Ecology building and the Leslie Shao-ming Sun Field Station at the
Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Additional sustainable construction
projects are also planned.
Courtesy Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co.
Stanford University’s Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and
Energy Building has been hailed as a model of sustainability.
For lists of other buildings using district energy service,
see the District Energy Space section of IDEA’s Web site