Carbon Charge Task Force seeks ideas from Yale community through contests

January 20, 2015

Starting Tuesday, January 20, 2015, Yale’s Presidential Carbon Charge Task Force will host two contests – with cash prizes – to solicit ideas from Yale students, faculty, and staff for reducing energy use at the University. The Task Force will also engage ten students to research best practices in energy conservation at universities across the country.

Both the contest and the student-led research project are part of the Task Force’s efforts to investigate an internal carbon pricing mechanism for Yale in response to a request made by President Peter Salovey in August 2014.

To utilize the knowledge and experiences of Yale students, faculty, and staff, one of the Task Force’s four working groups, chaired by Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy Dan Esty, will host two contests to identify ways to help Yale reduce its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions – seeking ideas from the Yale community on how best to use energy information and incentives to engage students, faculty, and staff in the effort to reduce Yale’s carbon footprint.

Contest One:

On a campus where many energy consumers are unaware of the amount of energy used and the associated greenhouse-gas emissions, how can the University direct attention to – and ultimately reduce – energy use?

The Task Force encourages individuals to think of opportunities to help Yale reduce energy use in the following areas:

  • Students, faculty, and/or staff behavior
  • University and/or departmental policies
  • Building use, operations, and/or construction
  • Future campus planning
  • The purchase and use of major equipment

Entrants are eligible to submit as many ideas as they would like using this form. Submissions will be judged by the Task Force subcommittee. Cash prizes of $100 per winning idea (with as many as 10 winning submissions totaling $1000) will be awarded to a Yale club, group, department, office, or college of the winner’s choosing.

Contest Two:

What is the “best practice” that you know of to promote energy conservation?

Ideas can be drawn from other institutions, companies, and governments. The Task Force asks that submissions include the identified best practice and provide detail on its source, operation, cost, staffing, and engagement of the community.

Entrants are eligible to submit as many ideas as they would like. Submissions will be judged by the Task Force. One grand prize of $500 will be awarded to a Yale club, group, department, office, or college of the winner’s choosing.

The deadline to submit ideas is February 1, 2015, 5:00 PM EST. All Yale students, faculty, staff are encouraged to apply. The rules of the contest and the submission form can be found on the Office of Sustainability’s website [link].

Student Job Opportunity: Show Your Energy Leadership!

The Task Force will also be hiring ten students to research best practices in energy conservation and engagement at universities across North America ranking high for their sustainability. Each student selected will be responsible for investigating a small number (ideally 5 but up to 10) universities’ energy conservation programs – exploring in some detail how those institutions use incentives, contests, prizes, and information to induce energy conservation among students, faculty, and staff.  Each student will be asked to identify the best practices their research reveals and to prepare written reports for the Task Force detailing their findings.

Once hired, the Research Assistant to the Presidential Carbon Charge Task Force should expect to work between 8-10 hours total at the Office of Sustainability, located at 70 Whitney Avenue. Research Assistants will be expected to start conducting research immediately. Reports are due Friday, February 6, 5:00 PM EST.

Applicants should submit a resume and one-paragraph statement of interest to ryan.laemel@yale.edu by Friday, January 23, 5:00 PM EST.  

In November 2014, the Task Force hosted a student forum to solicit feedback from Yale undergraduates and graduate/professional school students. The Task Force expects that the information collected from the contests and the student research effort will prove useful in its final recommendation to the President.

Questions? Email sustainability@yale.edu.