Background: Establishing our Boundaries
Strategy to date
Since 2005, Yale has reduced annual GHG emissions by 20%, despite a 30% increase in campus population and a 21% increase in campus square footage. The cumulative reductions are the result of consistent investments in our central utility systems, our buildings, and in the energy we buy.
Reductions depend on available technology, project economics, and programmatic requirements. Due to these variables, our emissions reduction path has been a combination of annual increases and decreases leading to a net reduction.
What drives these small year-to-year variations?
- Increasingly warm summer weather requires extra chilled water generation to cool and dehumidify campus buildings. Yale experienced an extended period of heat and humidity through August and September this past year.
- In addition, cold weather impacts natural gas supply across the region. To accommodate these regional demands, Yale power plants switch from natural gas to heating oil, a more carbon intensive fuel.
- As new buildings open and fill with occupants, they are commissioned to ensure optimal energy performance. This process can take up to two years.
- During 2019, Yale completed construction and initiated post-occupancy commissioning on several projects of all scales. Early commissioning also began at Yale Science Building with significant energy impacts.
Yale purchased the Bayer Pharmaceutical campus in 2007 to expand the University’s science and medical research. The 2005 figures represent emissions from Bayer while it was operating at full capacity. Yale has not yet reached full occupancy of the campus.
In 2015, we successfully installed a 90,000 square foot photovoltaic solar array at West Campus. The facility provides 1 megawatt of installed capacity.
Scope of Emissions
- Scope 1: Direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by Yale, emissions from Yale’s fleet of vehicles, and emissions from its two power plants.
- Scope 2: Indirect emissions from purchased electricity and purchased co-generation for heating or chilled water.
- Scope 3: Indirect emissions from all other sources that occur as a result of Yale operations but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the University, such as employee commuting, air travel, and paper consumption.
Inventories for Yale’s Scope 3 emissions associated with employee commuting, business travel, waste generated in operations, purchased goods and services, capital goods, and downstream assets are analyzed on an annual basis but are not currently included in Yale’s emissions reduction target. Efforts to incorporate student travel are underway.
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 GHG emissions inventories annually since 2014, all 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 get updated as our access to data increases—as a result, the figures for 2014 and 2015 differ slightly from what appeared in Yale’s 2016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Progress Report. For more information, visit The Climate Registry.
The numbers at-a-glance
- 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.
Yale Emissions Report
The Climate Registry