Scope of Emissions

Yale’s 2005 greenhouse gas reduction goal included two on-campus power plants and purchased electricity at both the main and medical campuses. Since adoption of the greenhouse gas target, Yale has now incorporated into this effort the recently acquired West campus – the former Bayer Healthcare Complex, a 136 acre campus comprised of 1.6 million square feet of laboratories, offices and warehouse space. Our current target does not include the emissions from Yale’s fleet, embodied energy in purchased products and services, employee commuting or university related travel, though some of this is under analysis for future consideration to incorporate.

Based on guidance from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Yale’s emissions can be divided into three categories called “scopes” depending on the university’s level of control over the source activities. The three scopes of emissions are defined as:

Scope 1- direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the university and includes emissions from mobile combustion, stationary combustion, process emissions, and fugitive emissions;

Scope 2- indirect emissions from purchased electricity and purchased co-generation for heating or chilled water; and

Scope 3- indirect emissions from all other sources that occur as result of university operations but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the university.

The Climate Registry

In 2014, President Salovey announced that Yale would join The Climate Registry (TCR), a non-profit organization that works with businesses, universities, and other entities on measuring, verifying, and reporting on their GHG emissions. The University has since submitted two GHG emissions inventories, one for calendar year 2014 and one for calendar year 2015, both of which have been verified by a third party and are available on The Climate Registry website.

By pursuing this effort, Yale is showing its commitment to a consistent and transparent standard in GHG emissions accounting. The numbers reported to The Climate Registry differ from the numbers reported in Yale’s annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Progress Report in two ways:

  • TCR requires calendar year data, while Yale reports on a fiscal year (June 1– July 30) basis 
  • TCR uses an operational boundary, whereas Yale reports on energy consumed by all buildings connected to the University’s two on–campus co–generation power plants and purchased electricity. 

Despite these differences, Yale’s participation in The Climate Registry has confirmed the accuracy of the way the University has been calculating its emissions. The University will continue to report on its GHG emissions both ways until the conclusion of Yale’s 2005 goal in 2020, at which point we will report exclusively through The Climate Registry.

For more information, please visit