Meeting global energy needs and increasing energy security, while reducing the environmental impacts of energy use, necessitates using the energy we have much more efficiently. Stanford research seeks to reduce energy consumption in buildings, transportation, computers and water systems. Efficient buildings research, particularly at the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC) covers improving lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling in existing commercial structures and homes, as well as advancing efficiency in the design and construction of new buildings. Efficient transportation studies at Stanford look at reducing pollution from current technologies, like improving car mileage, and creating new systems, such as enabling electric vehicles. Engineers in green computing pursue energy efficiency by developing technologies such as low-power wireless networks and energy-efficient data storage. To reduce energy consumption by modern water systems, researchers are looking at ways to use energy recovered from wastewater to run water-treatment plants or other purposes.
Stanford researchers also develop tools to reduce energy waste through personal behavior, sensing and data, and waste-harvesting technologies such as thermoelectrics. Energy behavior studies at PEEC examine many aspects of human decision making for different groups of people, from children to businesses. Stanford scientists also advance tools that take advantage of ubiquitous sensing data generated in daily life to reduce electricity use; for example, by giving people detailed energy-consumption information and helping utilities manage a complex electric grid. Scientists also engineer materials at the nanoscale for low thermal conductivity to be used in thermoelectric devices to generate electricity, and high thermal conductivity for thermoelectric devices used for cooling.
For more information, explore the End Use/Efficiency research areas:
- Energy & Behavior
- Green Computing
- Sensors & Data
- Water Systems