Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Renewable Energy Credits

I was looking into REC's (Renewable Energy Credits) for a project and what I discovered was interesting. I had always thought that REC's were noble credits, but they were not cost effective. I think I have changed my mind.

I am working with a client that has done an incredible job of building a sustainable office. Their project was registered right at LEED Gold, but my concern was "what if the USGBC throws out a few of their credits?" This project had nothing extra to cover any lost points. This would cause their project to be Silver, despite their golden commitment.

The client was looking into adding more photovoltaic panels to their project, but this was something they preferred to do at a later time. Adding this 18kWh system would require a large capital outlay, but they were willing to do this earlier than scheduled to gain 3 LEED credits. They had already maxed out the Renewable credits, so this would be just to optimize the Optimize Energy credits.

The client had invested significant capital in a PV system, and wanted to conserve their next investment for a few years. Yet, three additional credits might mean the difference between Gold and Silver. Then it occurred to me that there might be another solution: REC's. REC's would allow them to pay a small premium to use green electricity for 70% of their buildings needs. For their building, the initial estimate is between $1000 to $2000 a year for two years. There would be two LEED credits available for using this approach. This is not too bad of an option when faced with a $100,000 - $200,000 additional investment in a photovoltaic array for three LEED credits.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Getting with the program

No posting since September! This is no reflection of activity. It's been busy, but I do not see things slowing down for a while. Thank you green economy. Since I do not see things slowing down, I need to find time to add to this Blog. This will be my new years resolution.