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.

The Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking showcases the importance of ideation space for Yale’s student entrepreneurial community. This project achieved LEED Gold certification, reducing water use by 31% from the baseline through low flow/flush fixtures; irrigating with 100% rainwater harvesting; providing ‘quality views’ in 99% of all regularly-occupied spaces; and enhancing both monitoring-based commissioning and envelope commissioning.

This Objective is supported by the following goals. Progress reflects activities and accomplishments from July 2020 - June 2021: 
Goal: 

High-Performance Design Standards

ACHIEVED

By 2019, evaluate existing frameworks for high-performance building design and update Yale design requirements to achieve emissions reductions, optimal performance and use, and positive health and ecosystem outcomes.
 
 
Progress: 

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 25 LEED Gold and 3 LEED Platinum certifications as of 2021, with 14 currently underway. Since the 2019 healthy furniture standard, 119 projects have been completed and furnished without chemicals of concern.

Goal: 

Campus Development Strategy for Carbon Neutrality

ACHIEVED

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

This goal was achieved in 2020. 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 2020 - June 2021: 
Goal: 

Maintenance, Operations, and Occupancy Standards

ON TRACK

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.

Progress: 

In 2021, maintenance and operations priorities shifted to focus on ensuring the health and well-being of University building occupants by updating systems to bring in outside air for safe air changes and upgrading air filtration systems. The maintenance and operations team continued to add equipment into our maintenance management system, completed 91% of all Science Hill work orders on time, and implemented an optimization program that improved chilled water production efficiency by 10%.

Goal: 

Enhanced Space Use Policy

ACHIEVED

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.

Progress: 

This goal was achieved in 2019. Unit and departmental Sustainability Actions Plans included 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 implemented workplace space efficiency strategies for all new renovation and new construction projects.