On July 1, 2017, Yale’s carbon charge went into effect.

After experimenting with four schemes in the Pilot Project, the Office of the Provost selected the revenue-neutral option and is applying it to 265 buildings on Yale’s campus, covering over 70% of Yale’s operational building-related emissions.

Read about the Yale carbon charge history here.

The Basics of Implementation
  1. Energy reports: Starting in September 2017, participating buildings receive a monthly report detailing their energy consumption and the greenhouse gases (a.k.a. carbon) they are responsible for emitting. These reports show consumption of the four energy commodities - electricity, chilled water, natural gas, and steam.
  2. Carbon charges: Using widely accepted conversion factors, commodity uses are converted to metric tons of CO2-equivalent (MTCDE). Then a $40 charge is applied per MTCDE emitted, producing a carbon charge number for each building.Share of carbon return: Returns are based on a comparison of two changes:

     a. Percent change between a building’s current year emissions and its historical emissions.
     b. Percent change between Yale’s current year emissions and its historical emissions.

If a building does better than Yale as a whole, its return will be larger than its charge.  If it does not do as well, its return will be smaller than its charge.

In November and June each administrative unit with financial responsibility for buildings is assessed the difference between the charge and return for each of its buildings. Although the charge and return numbers will be similar, meaning net charges and returns will be relatively modest, the economical approach is to realize that each metric tonne of emissions avoided will benefit an administrative unit nearly $40.