August 22, 2019

On the chilled water curtailments

Dear Members of the Stanford Community,

As you know, the main Stanford campus has been experiencing a series of chilled water curtailments, including one again today. These recent curtailments have been frustrating and very disruptive for members of our community, whether you are working in a too-warm building or are focused on preserving equipment or the continuity of a research project. So, the first thing I want to say to you is: Thank you for your efforts, your flexibility, and your forbearance.

The second thing I want to say, emphatically, is: Our university absolutely must have the systems in place to support continuity of operations, and the wellbeing of our people, in ALL weather conditions.

Provost Drell and I met today with the academic deans and other university leaders, and the cooling curtailment was a major focus. We have been tracking the cooling situation closely throughout the curtailments of both last week and this week, and we will continue to do so.

I want to assure you that we are aggressively working on mitigations. In the short term, we are working to bring online additional temporary cooling towers, which were initiated following the June curtailment. We anticipate them being functional by Monday, and hopefully sooner. In the longer term we will be investing significant resources to expand permanent capacity for the chilled water system.

In addition, we are hearing and inquiring about other possibilities for mitigating the impact of these curtailments. If you have written to me or others in the university leadership, please know that we are investigating your suggestions and looking at all available options.

We are committed to doing whatever is necessary to deal with the problem in the short term, and to solve it in the longer term.