green buildings

Stanford Solar Decathlon: Start.Home

Stanford Solar Decathlon team

Monday, June 3, 2013 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Derek Ouyang Rob Best Felipe Pincheira Collin  Lee

Start.Home is Stanford's first entry into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition ( This biannual competition challenges 20 teams to design and build netzero, solarpowered homes that are judged on 10 different contests, from affordability to engineering.

While modern green homes often boast adaptive systems that reduce energy use behind the
scenes, our philosophy is that technology alone cannot solve the global energy problem. Equally important is awareness of how each of our daily choices affect our environmental footprints. Only through a combination of a passive home and an active mind can we achieve a lifestyle that is truly sustainable.

Stanford Solar Decathlon is a team of committed engineers and entrepreneurs seeking to design
a home that not only excels at the competition, but also has the potential to become an effective
business model in the future. To this end, we are developing a “Start.Home” concept that will provide sustainability at the push of a button to a new generation of environmentally conscious homeowners. The design will emphasize innovation in the constructability of modular architecture and advancements in controls for an intuitive building management core. Every component of the home will be optimized for customizability, affordability, and life cycle value. As a marketable brand, Start.Home will reflect the spirit of Stanford students to challenge preconceived notions of “green” and start a new movement in sustainable living.

Four student leaders from the team will present the unique Start.Home design vision, share their
experiences designing and building the netzero home, and emphasize the importance of projectbased, interdisciplinary learning. After the presentation, the audience is encouraged to join the team on a short 5 minute walk over to the construction site located by Terman Park and tour the Start.Home. For more information, please visit

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Powering the Armed Forces: Meeting the Military's Energy Challenges

Admiral Gary Roughead, Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Monday, October 22, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

From the introduction to the book "Powering the Armed Forces, Meeting the Military's Energy Challenges," written by Sharon E. Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs:

For the nation, our energy security, economic well-being and national security are inextricably linked. For the U.S. Department of Defense, better energy security means a more effective military force–one that is more agile, lethal and adaptable, and one that can better fulfill its mission to protect the nation.

At the same time, several trends, from the rising global demand for energy to changing geopolitics, as well as new threats, mean that the cost and availability of energy for Americans and our troops will be less certain in the future. By being smarter about our energy use, we can make a military and nation built to last.

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Unlocking the Benefits of Active Customer Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets

Frank Wolak, the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

Because electricity is a necessary input to so many economic activities, there are significant political obstacles to charging business and residential customers retail prices that reflect the hourly wholesale price of electricity. A long history of retail electricity prices that do not vary with real-time system conditions makes this task even more difficult. Finally, the lack of interval meters on the customer’s premises makes it impossible to determine precisely how much energy each customer withdraws in a given hour.

Recently a number of jurisdictions in the U.S. have installed the interval meters necessary for customers to participate actively in the wholesale market. This talk will summarize the results of a number of research projects at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development for allowing electricity consumers to benefit from active participation in wholesale electricity markets. The results of dynamic pricing and information provision experiments will be summarized, and current and future directions for research at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development will be described.  Necessary changes in state-level regulatory policies that can also unlock the economic benefits of modern technologies for active participation of final consumers will also be discussed.

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Solar Energy Mini-Series: The Silicon Photovoltaic Roadmap

Richard Swanson, SunPower Corp.

Monday, November 14, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

SunPower Founder: Solar’s Learning Curve Paves Way to Competitive Costs

By Mark Golden

Solar power, despite critiques that it is too expensive to significantly contribute to a green future, will be cost competitive without government subsidies in just a few years, according to a pioneer of both the solar industry and research.

The price of generating solar power in some cases is already on par with electricity generated by burning fossil fuels, according to Richard Swanson, who was an electrical engineering professor at Stanford University for 16 years before he left to found SunPower in 1991. Large photovoltaic (PV) power plants, like the one SunPower is building to supply PG&E, are already cost competitive, as are home rooftop panels in Hawaii and several European countries.

“We’re at the precipice, man,” Swanson enthused. “PV is basically right there, after all these years of hard work.”

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The Graduate School of Business' Knight Management Center: LEED + PV

Kathleen Kavanaugh, Program Director, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Bhima Sheridan, Jon Biegenzahn, and Ben Tarbell, Solar City 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | | Free and Open to All

Please note different time and location: Wednesday 5/11, 4:15-5:15pm at Knight Management Center C106


An interactive presentation on the design and implementation of the Graduate School of Business' goals for sustainability at it's new Knight Management Center campus.  Kathleen Kavanaugh, LEED AP and Program Director at the Knight Management Center will discuss the vision for the campus, which is seeking LEED Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council.  Bhima Sheridan will talk about Solar City's approach to engineering the photovoltaic system and integrating it with the building's energy efficient design.  Jon Biegenzahn will talk about the project development process at Stanford including construction coordination challenges and involving campus stakeholders.


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Low Energy Building: European Design & Control

Clas Jacobson, United Technologies Corporation, Building Control Systems

Monday, May 9, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All


Buildings consume nearly 40% of the world’s energy which is significantly more than either the transportation or industrial sectors. Any comprehensive plan to reduce energy usage and carbon emissions and to enhance energy security must include actions to increase energy efficiency in the building sector. This talk will focus on the current understanding of the options available to reduce energy usage in buildings and will highlight the role of a systems approach and controls in increasing energy efficiency. The delivery process for buildings will be used to highlight where energy is lost in the design, construction and operation of buildings and both current approaches and research opportunities will be highlighted for increasing energy efficiency.

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Cities and Climate Change: New York and the World

Rohit Aggarwala, City of New York, New York, Director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability 2006-2010

Monday, January 3, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment & Energy Building (Y2E2) | Free and Open to All

Followed by the Orange Bowl Reception and 5:15pm Kickoff on the Plasma TV, in the Y2E2 Social Entry (for faculty, students, and staff), 473 Via Ortega, Stanford.

Increasingly, the focus of the global fight against climate change is shifting to cities, both as national policies and global agreements seem unlikely to change in the near term, and as policymakers appreciate the extent to which the frontlines of the fight are in the cities themselves.  Home to the majority of humanity, and the vast majority of global consumption, cities will clearly be the locations of most efforts at improving energy efficiency and reducing transportation emissions.  In most of the world’s cities, it is local government that has direct control over the planning decisions, building codes, transit systems, and waste systems that must change if the world is to transition to a low-carbon economy.  Finally, in many countries, urban populations are more willing to adopt low-carbon policies than national populations, which make it far more politically feasible for mayors to act decisively.


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York is increasingly seen as a leader on urban sustainability policy, both for his local efforts in New York City and globally, upon his recent assumption of the chairmanship of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, an organization of many of the world’s largest cities working together on climate change policy.


Rohit T. Aggarwala, Bloomberg’s former sustainability director and currently an advisor to C40, will talk about the content, history, and execution of PlaNYC, New York’s award-winning sustainability efforts.  From planting a million trees to adopting congestion pricing to requiring hybrid taxis to imposing retrofit requirements on existing buildings, PlaNYC was an ambitious plan that has had major successes and significant defeats.  Aggarwala will discuss, in particular, lessons learned from the victory on green buildings and the defeat of New York City’s congestion pricing proposal.

In addition, he will talk broadly about the challenge facing the world’s cities.  C40’s members account for one-twelfth of humanity and 20% of global GDP, but the needs, powers, and political constraints affecting municipal government vary dramatically across those cities.


No slides available

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A Celebration of Abundance: Something Lived, Something Dreamed

William McDonough, William McDonough + Partners, author of Cradle to Cradle

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Cubberley Auditorium | Free and Open to All

October 15, 2008 - William McDonough, from William McDonough + Partners, discusses green building design. He celebrates the abundance of natural resources and how this effects the way we plan our lives. McDonough questions whether, by polluting and degrading the environment, humans are counteracting their purpose on Earth. However, as a byproduct our actions, the effects of human development on the planet are intrinsic to the design of a new system. McDonough argues that people focus on the economic portion of sustainable development, but in order to be successful they must include ecology and equity in the design of new systems. He encourages others to reimagine the structure of our urban landscapes and suggests that the effective use of our space and materials will look quite different than our current built environment.

The talk was held in conjunction with the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders program and the podcast may be played at: Audio Podcast: Balancing Economy, Equity, and Ecology Through Design.

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