Award Winning Stanford Central Energy Facility

The central hot water storage tank,
or the "heart" of the facility.
Morin W-12 aluminum and
perforated stainless steel panels.

Stanford Central Energy Facility

  • ZGF Architects
  • Panel profiles:
    • F-12 (30,000 sf) perforated and nonperforated
      • 35.45% OA 1/4 x 5/32
      • 20.85% OA .0326 x 5/32
      • 11.82% OA .433 x 5/32
  • W-12 (16,000 sf) perforated and nonperforated
  • Aluminum, stainless steel

Stanford University’s new Central Energy Facility is transforming the university into a leader of clean and efficient energy production. The facility uses progressive energy production technologies like solar panels and a heat-recovery system to power the campus. Replacing a fossil-fuel based plant, the facility will cut carbon emissions by 68%, fossil fuel use by 65% and water use by 15%. It will eliminate 150,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually and is expected to save $425 million over 35 years. (Source: But not only is the facility impressive in it’s function, it is also impressive by architectural standards.

The front exterior of the CEF

In 2017 the Stanford Central Energy Facility was honored by the American Institute of Architects with the Institute Honor Award for “excellence in architecture, interior architecture and regional and urban design.” When you enter, the first structure you see is the hot water storage tank. The 2.5 million gallon tank is encompassed by 16,000 sf of alternating stainless steel perforated and aluminum nonperforated Morin W-12 panels. It is the “heart” of the CEF in the design schematic based on the human circulatory system. Light floods through Morin’s steel perforated F-12 panels at night illuminating this “heart. Aluminum and stainless steel F-12 panels are used on the walls surrounding two massive chilled water tanks. Perforated F-12 panels were used throughout the facility as shading and screening to match the facility’s low impact on the environment with it’s also low impact on the eyes.  As stated by the architects: “The overall architectural expression is one of lightness, transparency and sustainability to express the facility’s purpose.”


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