Yale Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Yale has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent since 2005, despite a 5.5 percent increase in the size of the campus during that period.

Four years ago, President Richard C. Levin committed Yale to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 43 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2020.

Yale is progressing toward its ambitious goal by improving energy efficiency in existing buildings, establishing sustainable standards for new construction and large renovations, increasing the efficiency of on-campus energy production and distribution, and launching renewable energy projects. It is anticipated that the University can achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goal at a cost of less than one percent of its annual operating budget.

“Universities have an important role in the effort to curtail global warming,” Levin said. “Much of the work on climate science that has led to the detection and understanding of climate change was done within our walls, and we have been at the forefront of modeling the economic, social, and environmental impact of rising global temperatures and sea levels. Universities have begun to take the lead, along with enlightened corporations and municipal and provincial governments, in setting standards for carbon emissions that are substantially more restrictive than those adopted by national governments.”

Emissions included in the University’s 2005 greenhouse gas reduction goal include those produced by its two power plants on campus and electricity purchased for its central and medical campuses. In addition to these sources, Yale has now incorporated the emissions from the recently acquired West Campus (the former Bayer Healthcare Complex) and emissions from fuel and electric purchases for buildings on and off campus not connected to the power plants.

Yale’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy is the centerpiece of the University’s efforts to operate a sustainable campus. These efforts are coordinated by the Office of Sustainability, established in 2005 and directed by Julie Newman.

“We have a comprehensive sustainability framework that includes protection of natural ecosystems, conservation of our water resources, recycling of materials, and the use of natural, locally grown food in our dining halls,” Levin said.

“We aspire to leadership in all of these dimensions of sustainability, and we hope to inculcate in our students a lasting consciousness of what it means to live on a planet with finite resources in full awareness of how human action today affects the future of both humanity and the natural environment.”

Details of Yale’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy can be found online at:

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Media Contact

Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345