McHale Energy has an in-house database of New York City electricity Green building guidelines and policies. Our understanding of the uses of benchmarking which will give building owners a better understanding of the buildings energy consumption and our hands-on approach ensures that we consistently exceed client expectations and sustainable ambitions. McHale Energy also provides carbon emissions evaluations for its clients.
Technically, there isn’t one. Terms like “green” and “environmentally friendly” currently have no standard definition in the energy industry. The Green-e program set a definition of “green” energy so consumers can have an objective standard against which products can be compared. The Program ensures that energy products receiving Green-e certification meet this standard. The Green-e Program calls a power product “green” if it contains at least 50% renewable power, it has lower air emissions than traditional power, and it contains no direct purchases of nuclear power. It’s cleaner because it results in lower air emissions, less nuclear and mining waste, and is produced from renewable resources. The Green-e Program calls a Tradeable Renewable Certificate (TRC) “green” if it contains 100% new renewable resources.
TRCs are created when renewable energy is substituted for traditional power. TRCs represent the environmental benefits of renewable energy generation in the form of a marketable commodity. Renewable energy is sometimes more expensive than buying traditional power so TRCs are purchased in addition to the electricity that most consumers now use. Purchases of TRCs allow renewable plants to be built where cost is lowest, while their positive attributes are delivered to customers anywhere. Buying TRCs allow consumers to create similar environmental benefits to buying green power: reduced dependence on burning fossil fuels to produce electricity and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollution.
According to the World Watch Institute in Washington, D.C., electric generation worldwide produces more pollution than any other single activity. In the US, electric power generation accounts for two-thirds of the Country’s emissions of sulfur dioxide (a pollutant that causes acid rain) and more than a third of the carbon dioxide (causing global warming). Electricity production also creates nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog. A recent study estimated that approximately 64,000 people in the US die prematurely from heart and lung disease every year due to particulate air pollution – more people than die each year in car accidents. Children and seniors are most susceptible.
Not necessarily. Some products actually cost less than traditional “brown” power. All of the companies participating in the Green-e Program are required to provide you with a cost-comparison, depending on the amount and type of renewables you choose.
Switching your provider will not effect reliability. The wires that deliver electric power to you are still owned and operated by local utilities that serve you now. If the lights go out, you should call the same company you do now.
A vast electric power network, often referred to as “the grid”, connects States in the US. This electricity grid of wires, transformers, substations and other infrastructure provides a large pool of energy. Each region has its own power pool, although electricity can be delivered between regional pools. Our demand for power would drain these electricity pools in an instant if not for power plants continuously replenishing the pools by generating more electricity. In the past, your electric utility decided what types of power plants were built, and generated the power that gets poured into the pool to match your energy needs. In states that have green energy options, people can choose who to buy their power from and, consequently, what types of power gets poured into the pool. Nationwide, people can support renewable energy through the purchase of Tradable Renewable Certificates. When people choose renewable power, they are directing their energy dollars to companies that contract with renewable electricity generators, who will put green power into the grid.
Renewable power sources are those that rely on “renewable” resources, rather than fossil or nuclear fuels. Listed below are brief descriptions of each of the available clean power sources. Solar: The term “solar energy” in this context refers to sources that collect solar radiation to produce electricity. The two most common forms of solar energy are photovoltaic panels, which are semiconductors that directly generate electricity, and solar thermal panels, which use the sun to create steam to turn a turbine. Wind: The heating of the earth is uneven due to the daily rotations of our planet and creates winds whose energy can be captured by turbines and converted into electricity. This is one of the cheapest, and fastest growing, renewable energy technologies. Biomass: Energy that is stored in green plants and other organic matter is referred to as biomass. Biomass facilities burn wood, agricultural wastes and/or methane gases from landfills to spin a turbine that generates electricity. Using biomass in this way helps reduce the amount of material that goes to landfills and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Biomass resources that are not eligible under the Green-e standard include municipal solid waste incineration (MSW), tire incineration and additional regional exclusions. Geothermal: Geothermal power plants, which like biomass facilities resemble conventional power plants, utilize steam that lies below the surface of the earth in certain locations to generate electricity. Geothermal plants emit little air pollution and can have minimal impacts on the environment. Hydroelectric: The energy produced from flowing water is the oldest and most readily available form of renewable energy. While all forms of hydro-power are renewable, not all facilities qualify for Green-e. Currently only small hydro and Low Impact Hydro qualify. Green-e defines small hydro as dams 30 megawatts or less in size. Hydro-power facilities that have been certified by the Low Impact Hydro-power Institute (LIHI), regardless of size also qualify for Green-e, beginning in 2002. The LIHI criteria for certifying dams takes into account the environmental impacts of the hydro-power plants.
Yes and no. Currently, there are enough renewable resources to meet the current demand for renewables. However, as demand for renewable energy grows, more resources will need to be built. When individuals and businesses switch to renewable energy, it sends a strong message to generators, developers and investors that there is a growing demand for renewable power over fossil fueled power. Green-e certified electricity products are required to have an increasing percentage of power from new renewable resources, and TRCs must contain 100% new renewables, to help encourage the development of renewable resources.
Green-e Certified providers have signed a contract with the Center For Resource Solutions’ Green-e Program agreeing to submit to an annual verification and abide by our Code Of Conduct. In addition, the company must tell you, in writing, the price of power, the fuel source used to generate power, terms and conditions of service and the amount of any additional charges. Consumers can revoke any contract under a three-day “right of rescission.” These consumer protection and environmental requirements help protect consumers from fraud and abuse.
More than 350 green power products are currently available through investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, and cooperatives in monopoly markets, or through competitive marketers in deregulated States.