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Where Old Buildings Go to Die

When Encina gym was torn down in 2004 to make way for the new Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, its roof tiles were removed and carefully stored for use on other campus buildings. Some of its vintage wooden flooring was installed at a new bar in San Francisco. Select planks were sold to a Berkeley furniture manufacturer, to be turned into tables.

Other campus buildings slated for demolition, like the '70s-era Terman Engineering Center, may be less salvageable. Nevertheless, the University tries to recycle all the wood waste, concrete and metal that it can, says Julie Muir, community relations manager at the Stanford Recycling Center. “This is our 30th year for recycling on campus, and we're always looking for new markets for our materials, trying to expand what we can recycle and reduce what we landfill,” she says.

In addition to reusing and recycling building materials, Stanford has stepped up its efforts in recent years to make all of its buildings as environmentally friendly as possible. Joseph Stagner, Stanford's executive director of sustainability and energy management, is working on a plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions across campus. Older dorms already have been retrofitted with low-flow showerheads and fluorescent light fixtures. Future buildings, like the new Graduate School of Business, will be greener as well, from their rooftop photovoltaic cells down to their drought-tolerant landscaping.

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