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 standards for new construction and renovations address energy and water efficiency, access to natural light and use of nontoxic materials.
- 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.
- Green certify your workspace, laboratory, or next event to help save energy, water, and materials.
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.
The new home to Yale’s Tobin Center for Economic Policy and Department of Economics at 87 Trumbull Street exemplifies one of Yale’s key strategies to meet our emissions reduction goals in 2035 and 2050: building electrification. Opened in 2023, the building is one of Yale’s first facilities equipped with electric heat pumps for heating and cooling, which reject excess heat to the campus chilled water utility rather than the atmosphere, and employs a central cooling system to reduce the need for inefficient window units. The innovative building design also improves accessibility to adjoining historic buildings compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and features bird-deterrent windows to prevent bird mortality on campus in alignment with the Yale Bird-Friendly Building Initiative.
High-Performance Design Standards
This goal was achieved in 2019. In keeping with the requirement that all comprehensive construction projects achieve LEED Gold certification at minimum, Yale has achieved twenty-seven LEED Gold and three LEED Platinum certifications as of 2023.
Campus Development Strategy for Carbon Neutrality
This goal was achieved in 2020. Since then, a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal has been set and campus decarbonization strategies have accelerated. By 2050, we plan to reduce campus energy use through conservation and expansion of our renewable energy portfolio. For detailed information about our decarbonization efforts, please visit our Climate Action Strategy webpage.
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.
Maintenance, Operations, and Occupancy Standards
By 2025, pilot, document, and apply enhanced high-performance standards and protocols for maintenance and operations that integrate sustainability for all Yale-owned and operated energy-intensive buildings.
In 2023, an Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus Stewardship position was created to align Facilities’ organizational structure with the expanding need for advancing Yale’s sustainability goals. In addition, a team of consultants conducted a comprehensive analysis of the entire Facilities unit, resulting in recommendations that are being integrated into planning for the future.
Enhanced Space Use Policy
By 2019, develop and adopt a University policy for efficient use of campus space that improves utilization of buildings and facilities by identifying and reducing redundancies and excess capacity.
This goal was achieved in 2019. Renovation projects like Kirtland Hall are consolidating classrooms to improve utilization across academic departments in coordination with the University Registrar’s Office.