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Region 1: EPA New England

Purchasing Green Power

Green Power

Green Power includes "renewable electricity" that is generated using renewable energy resources and is delivered through the utility grid; "renewable energy certificates" or RECs, which represent the environmental, social and other positive attributes of power generated by renewable resources; and "on-site renewable generation", which refers to electricity generated using renewable energy resources at the end-user's facility. Source: Guide to Purchasing Green Power.

Renewable Energy Certificates

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are also known as a green tag or tradable renewable certificate. They represent the environmental, social and other positive attributes of power generated by renewable resources, such as solar or wind. Source: Guide to Purchasing Green Power.

The second major factor to consider in making your event "greener" is energy.

  • How much will be consumed by individuals traveling to and from the event?
  • How much electric power will be used during the event?

Typically, most of the energy consumed would be fossil fuels, which impact human health and the environment through air emissions and other effects. Recently, many organizations that have conducted large events are finding that green power is an effective means to reduce the environmental impacts from the energy used at the event. Visit EPA's Green Power Partnership to learn more about the types of green power and how to purchase it.

Wind Turbine
Wind Turbine

What do the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2006 Torino Olympics, the FIFA World Cup 2006, and the NFL's Super Bowl XLI have in common? They were all carbon neutral events.

Every day, each one of us produces greenhouse gas emissions by driving cars, traveling by air, and by the electricity we use. To be "carbon neutral", the organizers of these events offset the greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing "renewable energy certificates" to mitigate emissions that were projected to be associated with these events.

According to Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC), more than 122,000 greenhouse gas credits were acquired in connection with the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Conventions to offset carbon emissions resulting from travel by the 85,000 convention-goers from their home states to and from Boston and New York. The credits were produced by a variety of renewable sources including solar photovoltaic cells, hydroelectric power, landfill gas recovery, and wind turbines.

To go carbon neutral, first you need to inventory potential emissions, reduce emissions where possible and then purchase certificates in an equal amount to zero out your emissions. These certificates are also known as carbon offsets and are typically measured in tons of CO2 equivalents. Since some offsets are better than others, you need to choose your offsets carefully. There are a number of greenhouse gas calculators and offset programs available on-line that will help you to successfully achieve carbon neutrality. You may also find more information and offset programs available by searching the Web using the terms "carbon neutrality" or "carbon offset".

Fuel Cell.  Photo  (c) 2004. Michael Charney/Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions
Fuel Cell. [Photo Credit]
In addition to purchasing renewable electricity from a utility or buying renewable energy certificates, another option for incorporating green power in your event is to install renewable power generation on-site. Options include solar photovoltaic cells, wind turbines and fuel cells. For example, Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC) used a 250-kilowatt fuel cell to provide much of the power for the media pavilion at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. The fuel cell produced the equivalent amount of energy needed to supply electricity to 150 homes.

To find out more about your options for purchasing green power, contact the National Association of State Energy Officials Click icon for EPA disclaimer. to locate the local utility company, the state energy office, or state public utility commission.

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