1 Communicating Your Commitment: Your Guide to Clean Energy Messaging Congratulations on your recent purchase of clean energy from Renewable Choice! Whether you ve purchased green power in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs) or emission reductions in the form of carbon offsets, or both, you ve taken an important step towards reducing your organization s carbon emissions, improving air quality, and supporting the growth of clean energy technology. This guide is intended to provide you with information that will enable you to share the news about your purchase with both internal and external stakeholders.
2 Table of Contents About Renewable Energy Credits (Green Power) 3 How to talk about your green power purchase 4 Equivalencies 4 More about your green power purchase 4 About Carbon Offsets 5 How to talk about your carbon offset purchase 6 Equivalencies 6 More about your carbon offset purchase 6 Phrases to Avoid 7 Green Power Press Release Template 8 Carbon Offset Press Release Template 9 Sample Social Media Announcements 10 Sample Web Content 10 For More Guidance 11 Renewable Choice Logo and Logo Use Guidelines 12 Clean Energy Glossary 13
3 About Renewable Energy Credits (Green Power) Renewable energy facilities like wind and solar farms generate what are known as renewable energy credits, or certificates (RECs), when they produce electricity. RECs are the widely accepted way to track and trade renewable energy in North America. Your purchase of RECs supports renewable electricity production in the region of generation. For every unit of renewable electricity generated, an equivalent amount of RECs is produced, and by purchasing and pairing RECs with your electricity service, you are using and receiving the benefits of that renewable electricity. You will continue to receive a separate bill from your utility for electricity service. Your REC purchase also helps build a market for renewable electricity. The increased demand for, and generation of, renewable electricity helps reduce conventional electricity generation in the region where the renewable energy project is located. It also has other local and global environmental benefits which may include emitting little or no regional air pollution or carbon dioxide. RECs are the best way an organization can ensure that it is purchasing green power, because it s impossible to distinguish one electron from another. We like to use the analogy of a bathtub: turn on a coal tap, a nuclear tap, and a wind power tap, the tub still fills up with water. Once those electrons join the grid, there s no way to separate where they came from or how green they are. Purchasing RECs in the same quantity as an organization s electricity consumption guarantees that the energy used has been added to the grid from a renewable source. RECs allow consumers to make a product choice in the electricity market when they are otherwise unable to do so. RECs ensure that the amount of electricity an organization uses is added to the power grid from a renewable energy facility. They are the so-called proof of green power generation. Organizations that use green power from Renewable Choice can be assured of the validity of their purchase because we sell only Green-e Energy certified RECs which meet the environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions (learn more at Green power conveys many direct and indirect benefits to organizations. These benefits include, but are not limited to: Taking responsibility for an organization s environmental impact by accounting for the organization s Scope 2 emissions and its overall carbon footprint
4 Promoting the development of clean energy projects and technologies while increasing the demand for renewables Reducing dependence on fossil fuels and securing domestic sources of energy production Stimulating economic growth in emerging markets and creating renewable energy jobs Strengthening revenues in local communities where renewable energy projects are located Improving air quality and human health and safety by reducing pollution Creating a socially responsible brand that is attractive to customers and other stakeholders How to Talk About Your Green Power Purchase Renewable Choice has developed guidelines for communicating your purchase. Given the complexity of how green power works, it can be helpful to have easy ways to talk about it with your stakeholders. Here are some easy phrases that you can use to communicate your commitment: We have committed to use % green power by purchasing renewable energy credits We are supporting the generation of green power We are reducing our environmental impact by choosing green power We have purchased kilowatt hours (kwh) of green power in the form of renewable energy credits Equivalencies One way to communicate your commitment is in terms of its impact equivalencies. We recommend using the EPA s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, which can be found at Here are some suggested statements you can make about the equivalent impact of your purchase: The generation of the renewable energy we have purchased has a greenhouse gas benefit equivalent to The 100% renewable electricity that we have chosen over our regular electric service has a greenhouse gas benefit equivalent to More about Your Green Power Purchase
5 The renewable energy projects that Renewable Choice works with are helping to grow the voluntary market for renewable energy. In the voluntary market, RECs are purchased by organizations that choose renewable energy, rather than being required to purchase it. These projects often do not benefit from state or federal compliance requirements. All of Renewable Choice s RECs are certified by Green-e Energy, the leading consumer industry standard for green power certification. The Green-e program was established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions to provide an objective, comprehensive standard for consumers to compare renewable energy options. To learn more, visit To receive certification from Green-e, Renewable Choice must track the acquisition and sales of RECs via an annual audit to ensure that we are compliant with Green-e s rigorous standards. This translates into assurance for our customers: you can be certain that the environmental benefits you are claiming when you purchase RECs from Renewable Choice are yours and yours alone. About Carbon Offsets A carbon offset, or verified emission reduction (VER) is a counterbalancing mechanism used to ensure that a metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is removed from the atmosphere or prevented from entering it. VERs are valuable in helping organizations achieve reductions in emissions that come from sources other than purchased electricity, such as business travel. Offsets like the VERs that are sourced by Renewable Choice come from a variety of projects around the world that are working to reduce atmospheric emissions, either through the process of removing those emissions via carbon sequestration, or by preventing them from entering the atmosphere through incineration. Sequestration is the process of sinking carbon dioxide into plant matter. For example, forestry is considered a method of carbon offsetting because trees act as a carbon sink, removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Incineration occurs when other greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as methane (CH4) are captured and flared in order to prevent them from entering the atmosphere. This is important because methane and other GHGs are actually more damaging than carbon dioxide. When the methane is burned, it results in carbon dioxide and water.
6 By purchasing carbon offsets and removing damaging GHGs from the atmosphere, organizations take responsibility for the overall impact of their business activities, help to reduce that impact, and promote increased air quality and the development of carbon offsetting technologies. Renewable Choice only sells carbon offsets that are quantifiable and verifiable. All of our emission reductions have been verified by credible third-party organizations including Climate Action Reserve and the American Carbon Registry, among others. This ensures that you receive carbon offsets of the highest standard and transparency. How to Talk About Your Carbon Offset Purchase Renewable Choice has developed guidelines for communicating your purchase of carbon offsets. Here are some easy phrases that you can use to communicate your commitment: We offset our (business travel, employees commute, etc.) with the purchase of verified emission reductions We are reducing our environmental impact by purchasing carbon offsets We are reducing our environmental footprint by support carbon reduction projects Equivalencies One way to communicate your commitment is in terms of its impact equivalencies. We recommend using the EPA s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, which can be found at Here are some suggested statements you can make about the equivalent impact of your purchase: Our use of verified emission reductions is equivalent to The carbon offsets we have purchased to reduce the environmental impact of [our business travel] has a greenhouse gas benefit equivalent to More about Your Carbon Offset Purchase All the emission reduction projects that Renewable Choice chooses to work with are certified by highly respected, third-party organizations that are helping to grow the carbon offset market. Some of these organizations include the Climate Action Reserve, the Verified Carbon Standard, Green-e Climate, and WWF s Gold Standard. These verifiers ensure the credibility and quality of the emission reductions and conduct periodic audits of projects to ensure that emissions are being measured and accounted for properly.
7 Renewable Choice works with emission reduction projects that don t benefit from state or federal compliance requirements. These projects participate in the voluntary market where carbon offsets are purchased by organizations that choose to reduce their carbon footprint. We also aim to work with projects that serve to develop economies in rural communities and with project developers with a proven track record of success and accountability. Phrases to Avoid It s important to be specific and transparent about your purchase of clean energy so that stakeholders can understand your commitment. The following are concepts and phrases that may be misleading, confusing, or inaccurate, so we recommend avoiding them. Green Tags Carbon Neutral or Carbon Free : Carbon neutrality is a goal, and using RECs can help you to achieve that goal. However, true carbon neutrality can only be achieved through a combination of energy efficiencies, carbon reduction, and carbon-reducing technologies that neutralize all sources of emissions. If you ve only purchased green power or emission reductions, this will help you towards a goal of carbon neutrality, but does not guarantee your status. Organizations interested in measuring their carbon emissions and working towards carbon neutrality should contact our GHG accounting partner, Mosaic Sustainability, for help. 100% powered by wind : This statement can be confusing, as it is most commonly associated with the onsite generation of renewables. We re wind powered : This type of statement should only be used when the details of your renewable energy credit purchase is made available at the same time.
8 Green Power Press Release Template [Organization] Announces Partnership with Renewable Choice Energy [Organization] to purchase green power from Boulder-based firm [to reduce its environmental impact] [CITY, STATE] [DATE] [Organization] announced today that it has purchased green power from Renewable Choice Energy to equal % of the organization s electricity use in [year]. In total, the organization has purchased kilowatt hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) from Renewable Choice. [About Organization] [About Organization s Sustainability Efforts] [Internal Quote] RECs are the way that green power is tracked and traded in North America and are used by thousands of U.S. and Canadian organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to decrease environmental impact. The RECs purchased by [Organization] are certified by Green-e Energy, the nation s leading third-party certification program for renewable energy. [Quote from Renewable Choice contact your sales representative or Your Boilerplate About Renewable Choice Renewable Choice Energy is a pioneering global supplier of products and services that advance clean energy development and the adoption of carbon reduction technologies, providing customized solutions to corporate, industrial, and institutional buyers. Recognized as a leading partner to more than 160 Fortune 500 companies and a generous cross-section of the Global 500, the firm s portfolio also includes scores of educational institutions, municipalities, green buildings, and small-to-medium enterprises. Renewable Choice was the recipient of prestigious Green Power Leadership Awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2006, 2012, 2014, and 2015, and is a certified B Corporation. ###
9 Carbon Offset Press Release Template [Organization] Announces Partnership with Renewable Choice Energy [Organization] to purchase carbon offsets from Boulder-based firm [to reduce its environmental impact] [CITY, STATE] [DATE] [Organization] announced today that it has purchased carbon offsets from Renewable Choice Energy to reduce the environmental impact of its [business travel, supply chain, etc.]. In total, the organization has purchased metric tons of verified emission reductions from Renewable Choice. [About Organization] [About Organization s Sustainability Efforts] [Internal Quote] Carbon offsets are used by thousands of global organizations to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with business activities such as fuel combustion, travel, waste generation, and the supply chain. The carbon offsets purchased by [Organization] are thirdparty verified to the highest available standards. [Quote from Renewable Choice contact your sales representative or Your Boilerplate About Renewable Choice Renewable Choice Energy is a pioneering global supplier of products and services that advance clean energy development and the adoption of carbon reduction technologies, providing customized solutions to corporate, industrial, and institutional buyers. Recognized as a leading partner to more than 160 Fortune 500 companies and a generous cross-section of the Global 500, the firm s portfolio also includes scores of educational institutions, municipalities, green buildings, and small-to-medium enterprises. Renewable Choice was the recipient of prestigious Green Power Leadership Awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2006, 2012, 2014, and 2015, and is a certified B Corporation. ###
10 Sample Social Media Announcements Twitter We re using #greenpower to reduce the environmental impact of our purchased electricity! #renewables #sustainability We re using carbon offsets to reduce the environmental impact of our business travel! #sustainability #carbonfootprint Facebook We re using green power! Thanks to our partners at Renewable Choice Energy, we re reducing the environmental impact of our purchased electricity. Ask us how. #renewables We re using carbon offsets! Thanks to our partners at Renewable Choice Energy, we re reducing the environmental impact of our purchased electricity. Ask us how. #carbonfootprint LinkedIn We ve taken an important step towards reducing our environmental impact. We re now using green power equal to [or a percentage of] our purchased electricity, thanks to our partners at Renewable Choice Energy. We ve taken an important step towards reducing our environmental impact. We re now using verified emission reductions to offset our [business travel], thanks to our partners at Renewable Choice Energy. Sample Web Content We recognize the importance of reducing our environmental impact for the sustained success of our organization. To that end, we re using green power in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to % of our annual purchased electricity. The RECs we ve purchased from Renewable Choice Energy are Green-e Energy certified, which meet the environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions (learn more at Our RECs are the equivalent of removing X number of passenger vehicles from the road for a year. We recognize the importance of reducing our environmental impact for the sustained success of our organization. To that end, we ve purchased verified emission reductions in
11 the form of carbon offsets to counterbalance the emissions from our [business travel]. The carbon offsets we ve purchased from Renewable Choice Energy have all been third-party verified to the highest accountability standards. For More Guidance The Renewable Choice marketing & communications team is here to help! We can provide you with support on messaging your purchase, as well as additional templates and resources to help you with stakeholder communications. We re also happy to proofread any content for accuracy. You can reach us anytime by ing or ask your sales representative for an introduction.
12 Renewable Choice Logo and Logo Use Guidelines
13 Clean Energy Glossary American Wind American Wind is the name of Renewable Choice s 100% wind power product. It is a blend of RECs from wind farms across North America, primarily the United States. All American Wind RECs are certified by Green-e Energy. Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) A common value used in reporting and measuring GHG emissions, regardless of the emission source. GHGs are measured based on their global warming potential (GWP), and converted into CO2e in order to be able to aggregate all generated emissions. In this way, an organization can consider its total volume of CO2e emissions as its carbon footprint, even if that footprint includes methane and other GHGs. This is especially useful when reporting emissions or when purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon Offsets Carbon offsets are emission reduction mechanisms designed to counterbalance the emissions produced through business activities. The offsets are an investment in projects that reduce or prevent an equivalent amount of emissions from entering the atmosphere. Offsets are used to help organizations take responsibility for emissions produced from activities such as onsite fuel combustion, business travel, waste generation, and more. Examples of project types that offset emissions include reforestation and conservation, methane capture and flare, and fuel switching. Clean Source Clean Source is the name of Renewable Choice s blended power product, featuring RECs from a variety of renewable energy generation technologies from across the United States. These technologies include wind power, solar power, power from small hydroelectric projects, geothermal power, and power from biomass. All Clean Source RECs are certified by Green-e Energy. Fossil Fuels Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons that are burned to produce energy. The predominant sources of hydrocarbons are coal, petroleum (oil), and natural gas. The burning of fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to global climate change, as well as particulates that can negatively impact human health.
14 Most electricity worldwide is generated by burning fossil fuels, primarily coal, and electricity production is the single largest source of GHGs. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol The GHG Protocol divides emissions into three categories based on the generation source of the emissions. Scope 1 emissions are generated from combusting fuel onsite, for example, to generate heat or operate a boiler. In this case, the organization can exercise greater control over the amount and type of fuel used. Carbon offsets are the appropriate mechanism for neutralizing these activities. Scope 2 emissions result from purchased electricity, and are considered indirect emission sources. Organizations can best reduce the impact of these emissions by purchasing RECs (green power). Scope 3 emissions are other indirect emission sources such as business travel, employee commute, emissions from landfill waste, and those emissions within the supply chain. Again, organizations should use carbon offsets to neutralize these emission sources. Kilowatt Hour A kilowatt hour (kwh) is a unit of energy equal to 1,000 watt-hours. The electricity produced by power companies is generally available for purchase in units of kwh. Renewable Energy Renewable energy, also referred to as clean energy, clean power, or green power, is defined as energy that is derived from a source that is regenerative or cannot be depleted. Typical sources of renewable energy include wind power, solar power, tidal power, hydropower, geothermal power, and the heat produced from the combustion of biomass. Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) RECs are a market mechanism that represents the environmental benefits associated with generating electricity from renewable energy sources and are the established, recognized way that green power is tracked and traded in North America. A renewable energy production facility, such as a wind farm, is credited with one REC for every 1,000 kwh of electricity produced. A certifying body assigns each REC a unique identifier to ensure the REC is not double counted. The clean power itself is then fed into the national electric grid.