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A Building That Breathes

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By Marguerite Rigoglioso

The new Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, nicknamed Y2E2, is a fitting workplace for its occupants—environmental and energy specialists previously scattered across campus. “In effect, the entire building will constitute a living laboratory for sustainable design techniques,” says Jeffrey Koseff, civil and environmental engineering professor and director of the Woods Institute for the Environment. The building consumes 57 percent less energy than a traditional equivalent would, and energy use throughout is monitored. “That data will be available on our public website so that anyone can learn about how the building is functioning, and where improvements might be made to buildings in the future,” says Koseff, who was closely involved in the design.

Located in the new science and engineering quad at Via Ortega and Panama Streets, Y2E2 has four atria providing light and fresh air to the whole structure. Louvered side windows connect to a system that monitors indoor and outdoor air temperature and wind direction. “This information signals them to open and close at appropriate times so that the building can be cooled by a natural flushing process,” Koseff says. “That means the temperature of the building stays comfortable with less need for energy-intensive cooling and heating. It lets us take advantage of the fantastic climate we live in.”

To supplement the cooling system, Koseff explains, “in very hot weather, the interiors of the ceiling beams in the southwesterly offices will circulate chilled water that travels down from Stanford's [cogeneration] facility. Heating will be provided when necessary by very efficient radiant heating systems.”

As a dozen or so departments, programs and research centers finish moving in this January, the 166,000-square-foot Y2E2 stands to become Stanford's largest teaching tool.

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