Kroon Hall: Seeing campus as a living lab

“The Kroon Carbon Team is proposing that we … come together in an effort to share our collective knowledge on how to … take action to reduce our school’s carbon emissions.”

Yale’s campus has become a living lab for testing carbon pricing following a December announcement from the University’s President and Provost about a pilot experiment studying different incentive and information structures for reducing energy use.

Centrally, Yale is learning what it takes to design and implement an internal economic policy for driving carbon abatement. On a decentralized level, buildings like Kroon Hall are tapping into the research opportunities created by the program by drawing on student and faculty expertise and taking deep dives into building systems and occupancy behavior.

Check out the Kroon Carbon Team’s recent blog posts and video interview with Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law & Policy Daniel C. Esty, both below, to learn more about how Kroon Hall is seeing campus as a living lab.

Thanks to James Ball (M.E.M. ‘16), Mauricio Barragan (M.E.M. ‘17), and Rachel Ett (M.E.M. ‘16) for contributing.

Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law & Policy, on the opportunities presented by Yale’s carbon charge project, courtesy of the Kroon Carbon Team:


February 3, 2016
by Rachel Ett
Welcome to the Kroon Carbon Challenge!
In December 2015 Yale University launched a four part pilot program exploring a variety of internal carbon charge strategies using twenty Yale buildings. The goal of this program is to analyze whether carbon pricing is an effective way to improve the university’s environmental sustainability.
Kroon Hall, home of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, is a part of this pilot program. After seeing Kroon’s December report, Forestry faculty, staff and students felt discouraged. The building was not performing nearly as well as we would have hoped, especially since we consider ourselves sustainability leaders on this campus. Energy usage in December increased in almost every category (lighting, heating, plug loads, and hot water) compared to 2014’s data. Kroon Hall is already extremely energy efficient and considered one of the top ten greenest buildings in the world. Despite this challenging start, we know that our community is up to the challenge of bringing down energy levels to below last year’s usage.
The F&ES ESC is excited to mobilize students to change the way the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies uses energy. A team has joined together to create the Kroon Hall Carbon Task Force, and our Facebook page is up and running to provide ongoing information to the community.

Please stay tuned to learn more about our initiatives and progress this semester – the pilot ends on June 1st so we have to seize the day! Check out our Facebook page and reach out if you would like to collaborate on helping us reach our goals. 

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February 23, 2016
by Mauricio Barragan
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


February 24, 2016
by James Ball
We are at an auspicious moment in the global movement to address the affliction of excessive carbon emissions. The signs of change are present in all major sectors of our society as seen through:
The newly introduced Yale Carbon Charge Project
… and much more.
In the spirit of “Carpe Diem” the Kroon Carbon Team is proposing that we, as a community of diverse yet like-minded individuals, come together in an effort to share our collective knowledge on how to address this carbon challenge and take action to reduce our school’s carbon emissions.
Our call to action for you is to:
1. Communicate your knowledge of how we can succeed at cutting our school’s carbon emissions. Post a blog, give an interview, make a video, or write a full-length article on what you know about carbon. Our combined knowledge on this subject is of global value and we believe a concerted effort to aggregate and disseminate information at this moment could determine the success of Yale’s Carbon Charge.
2. Engage with the hands on effort to reduce our school’s carbon emissions. Turn off a light, a projector, a heater, or anything that uses energy! We are also looking to support your research projects and experiments that are focused on carbon emission reduction. We have the skills to demonstrate the success of community-based carbon reduction.
Let’s lead the charge on carbon!
To learn more about the carbon charge and share your knowledge visit the Kroon Carbon Challenge on Facebook.

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