Kroon Hall: A Living Laboratory

Kroon Hall: A Living Laboratory

From December 2015 through May 2016, Yale University will be running an exciting carbon charge experiment, designed to test whether a price on carbon is a feasible and effective policy to reduce the carbon footprint of the University.

For this pilot program, Yale has selected 20 campus buildings that will be divided into four concurrent experimental groups exploring different schemes for pricing carbon emissions. Kroon Hall, the home of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, is among the buildings that will take part in this pilot program along with SOM´s Evans Hall, Yale Health Center, the Peabody Museum and others.

The four experimental conditions include:

• Group 1: Redistributive charge, in which charges are applied to the buildings that perform worse than their counterparts and redistributed as rebates to the buildings that perform relatively better;
• Group 2: Performance target, where buildings are charged by comparing their performance to a predetermined target;
• Group 3: Energy Efficiency earmark, where a unit is charged on a monthly basis and then rebated in full at the end of the year, with a portion restricted for investment in energy efficiency projects;
• Group 4: New type of energy bill, that will include information about their emissions and the social cost in addition to their energy consumption and cost.

All of the carbon-pricing schemes use the federal government´s value for the social cost of carbon, estimated at $40 per ton of carbon dioxide.

One of the goals of the Carbon Charge Project is to test the different initiatives that every building can set in order to reduce their carbon footprint. As the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, it is our duty to lead the discussion and set an example for the rest of the Yale community about the diverse strategies for carbon reduction that different buildings can employ.

In order to reduce Kroon Hall´s carbon emissions, the Environmental Stewardship Committee has created 3 teams formed by F&ES students to help drive our efforts. The technical team will perform data analysis to find the main drivers of energy consumption in Kroon Hall and consider which energy use reduction strategies will be most impactful; the engagement team will be in charge of encouraging the F&ES community to reduce energy consumption; and the communications team will share the results and initiatives taken with the rest of the Yale community.

Moreover, these teams will work with the other schools and offices participating in this experiment to share ideas, thoughts and best practices in order to get the best from this experiment.

To learn more about the Yale Carbon Challenge and the efforts made by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, click here.

If you want to be part of any of the Carbon Charge teams, you can contact me at

(By Mauricio Barragan)