Built Environment

Buildings that Improve the Quality of Life

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends nearly 90% of his or her lifetime indoors. Yale is committed to ensuring healthy living and working environments for people working, living, studying and visiting our buildings. 

Yale’s Efforts

  • Yale is testing a Carbon Charge to assess if price signals can motivate building occupants to save energy.

What You Can Do

  • We want to optimize how and when we condition our buildings. Use buildings during operating hours and avoid heating and cooling spaces unnecessarily.  

Our Objectives and Goals

Transformative Design, Construction, and Maintenance

Develop transformative approaches to project design, construction, and maintenance that address financial, environmental, and social imperatives.

Completed in 2019, the Yale Science Building (YSB) combines state-of-the-art research and cutting-edge sustainable design to offer lab spaces that consume 50% less energy than the average Yale lab. It features chilled beam technology to heat and cool the spaces, efficient lab ventilation systems, and high-tech sensors that regulate the temperature and lighting of a space. To promote researcher health and well-being, the YSB is designed to bring natural light into lab spaces while preventing bird collisions with windows.

This Objective is supported by the following goals. Progress reflects activities and accomplishments from July 2019 - June 2020: 

High-Performance Design Standards


In conjunction with the comprehensive revision of the Yale Sustainable Design Requirements, a process  was established to continually update and improve Yale design requirements. Updates include requirements to eliminate the use of certain chemicals in furniture, new façade design requirements to avoid bird collisions with buildings, and requirements for all gender bathrooms.

This goal was achieved in 2019. 

In keeping with the university requirement that all comprehensive scope construction projects achieve a minimum of LEED Gold certification, Yale has achieved the following LEED certifications as of 2020: 
  • 23 building projects are certified LEED Gold
  • Three building projects are certified LEED Platinum
Building projects currently completed or underway: 
  • One targeting LEED Platinum certification
  • 13 targeting LEED Gold certification

Campus Development Strategy for Carbon Neutrality


By 2020, commit to campus development strategy that increases energy conservation and renewable energy generation in support of the carbon neutrality commitment. 

Campus decarbonization strategies have been developed, including implementation of projects for energy conservation, generation, and distribution; updated high-performance design and maintenance standards that require low carbon construction and operations; and efficient campus growth and development. 

Optimal Building Performance

Develop effective approaches to maintenance, operation, and occupancy of buildings that both ensure optimal performance and are responsive to environmental, social, and financial imperatives.

This Objective is supported by the following goals. Progress reflects activities and accomplishments from July 2019 - June 2020: 

Maintenance, Operations, and Occupancy Standards


By 2019, define and commit to updated high-performance standards and protocols for planned maintenance, operation, and building occupancy that comprehensively integrate sustainability.


Equipment in over 120 buildings was entered into our maintenance management system, identifying more than 10,000 physical assets to streamline improved preventative maintenance. In addition, an enhanced retro-commissioning program optimized systems in approximately 40 campus buildings. Analytics software has been deployed with more than 300 air handling units on Central Campus, resulting in corrections that yielded approximately 18,000 MMBTU of savings. The next priority is to pilot, document, and apply enhanced high-performance standards and protocols for maintenance and operations that integrate sustainability for (at a minimum) all Yale-owned and operated energy-intensive buildings.


Enhanced Space Use Policy


By 2019, develop and adopt a University policy for efficient use of campus space that improves utilization of university buildings and facilities by identifying and reducing redundancies and excess capacity.


Sustainability Actions Plans developed for various administrative units, departments, and professional schools include goals to enhance space use across the university by providing area specific guidance and recommendations that reduce redundancies and excess capacity. In addition, Facilities Planning is implementing workplace space efficiency strategies into all new renovation and new construction projects.