Last week, I received news that Herban Lifestyle has been approved as an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Parter. The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that supports companies’ procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources. Green power is electricity produced from renewable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro.
Herban Lifestyle offsets 100% of its carbon footprint by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from Clean Currents, a locally based company. RECs are certificates issued by clean power producers and certified by independent auditing bodies. Each REC equals the environmental benefits of producing 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity from a clean energy generation source rather than a fossil fuel source or other non-renewable energy source. By purchasing RECs you are paying the difference between market rate and the production rate for clean energy, thus subsidizing clean power producers and allowing them to compete against the big guys.
If you’re interested in learning more, The University of Maryland has a very thorough description of what RECs are and how they work. And Montgomery County has a good fact page on the benefits of purchasing RECs.
If you are interested in purchasing RECs, Clean Currents has a carbon calculator that lets you estimate what your carbon emissions are per year or month based on how much you drive, what type of car you drive, your electric and gas usage, etc. and can tell you how much it will cost to offset some or all of your footprint. The EPA has an enhanced household emissions calculator that lets you not only calculate your carbon usage, but also allows you to play with ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint.