Partner Corner: How Can Our Association Be Greener?

By: Kathy Kiernan

Two ways your organization can participate in the green energy movement.

Challenge: Our members expect us to be conscientious of our carbon footprint. How can we participate in green energy?

Solution One: You can participate by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs). All electricity consumed in your community is transmitted on the same grid system. "Brown" electricity sources, such as coal, feed electrons into the grid the same way as "green" systems (for example, wind farms, solar arrays, hydro systems, and biomass facilities).

In order to go green, purchase enough RECs to equal the amount of electrons your association takes from the grid. Each REC represents one megawatt hour of green energy created from a renewable generation source somewhere in the United States.

Solution Two: Reduce your footprint by purchasing carbon offsets. Each carbon offset represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide prevented from entering the air somewhere in the United States. In May, ASAE purchased carbon offsets to neutralize the environmental impact of anticipated travel, hotel stays, and energy used for its Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference.

Bonus Challenge: How can we buy RECs and carbon offsets?

Solution: You can purchase directly from your local utility company or an independent third party, including most competitive electricity suppliers. RECs and carbon offsets fund renewable energy projects and provide resources for renewable energy generation. In many cases, RECs and carbon offsets are affordable.

Kathy Kiernan is senior vice president of APPI Energy. Website: www.appienergy.com; phone: 1-800-520-6685

Bonus ASAE Green Resource

If you're looking for additional ways for your organization to be more environmentally friendly, check out ASAE's Convene Green Alliance. There you'll find articles, case studies, and the latest news on how the industry is working to decrease its environmental footprint. Visit www.convenegreen.com for more information.