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Publication Date


First Advisor

Susan S. Sayre

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Proxy carbon price, Multi-output production, Combined heat and power, Cost-minimization, Climate change, Environmental economics, Sustainability


In 2018, Smith College adopted a proxy carbon price of $70/MTCO2e with a 2.5% annual increase to help meet its carbon neutrality goals. To apply this price, the collegemustidentifyhowchangesinitssteamandelectricityneedswillchangeitstotal greenhouse gas emissions. Smith College currently meets most of its energy demand with the co-generation plant on campus, which is a form of multi-output production. In this setting, the impact of changes in electricity demand depend on current steam demand and vice versa. This paper uses a constrained cost minimization model to find optimal operation solutions, given prices and steam and electricity demand in each hour. This model then provides estimations of marginal emissions reductions associated with changes in steam and and electricity demand in each hour. Using historical data to identify how often each solution applies, I compute a weighted average marginal emission rate for steam and electricity consumption across the heating season. Relative to the engineering estimates currently in use, I find higher marginal emissions for electricity use and lower marginal emissions for steam use.


©2019 Zhuoran Li. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




37 pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (page 35-37)