Renewable energy is derived from natural resources, such as the wind and sun, that do not deplete the earth’s resources. Many businesses have the ability to choose an electricity plan from renewable sources, so that your company may:
To purchase electricity from renewable sources, your space must be separately metered for electricity – in other words, each individual tenant space in a building has its own electric meter (vs. a single master meter for the entire building). Many buildings are setup this way, and determining the configuration for your space is simple:
If you don’t know whether you’re separately metered, simply ask your property manager. Assuming you’re separately metered, you can choose a retail electric provider that offers renewable plans. Many states and utilities offer opportunities to purchase renewable energy directly from your utility service provider.
In areas where you cannot purchase renewable energy through your existing provider, your company may want to consider enrolling in a utility green pricing program or purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs), which ensure that energy providers deliver renewable electricity to the grid that is equal to the amount you consume. RECs represent an investment in future renewable energy generation projects. Instead of buying renewable energy directly from your electricity provider, purchasers of RECs ensure that renewable facilities deliver clean energy into the grid and displace nonrenewable energy sources. By helping to substitute fossil fuel generation with renewables, your company helps to prevent emissions of greenhouse gases.
The EPA’s Guide to Purchasing Green Power is an excellent reference, with step-by-step instructions and lists of available resources. The cheapest, cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use. Before purchasing renewable energy, consider improving the energy efficiency of your facilities. With the money you save, you can consider investing in renewable energy and still reduce your overall energy bill. You will typically pay a slight premium for renewable energy. Ask prospective retail electric suppliers to quantify the difference for you in their proposals to determine whether the costs justify the benefits.