Green Energy for Businesses in Alberta
EnergyRates.ca partners with organizations to review their options and provide guidance in acquiring green energy credits. We provide support for the Ecologo and LEED programs, as well as information for customers exploring environmentally friendly energy options.
Environment Canada and Ecologo
In 1971, Environment Canada (EC) was established by the national government as a department responsible for developing environmental programs and policies to protect the country’s environment and shepherding its resources. In 1988, Environment Canada introduced the Environmental Choice Program as a means of recognizing products that are especially friendly to the environment, branding them with the Ecologo symbol to certify EC’s recognition. As of 2013, there are more than 7,000 Ecologo-certified products currently being marketed by more than 300 companies.
For products to be certified with the Ecologo brand, they must pass stringent testing and auditing indicating that the product meets a variety of standards relating to manufacturing conditions, effects on environment and health, and the quality and performance of the product. More information on the certification process is available at http://services.ul.com/service/ecologo-certification/.
The Canada Green Building Council and LEED
Canada has also looked to the outside world for inspiration on how to better serve the welfare of its citizens and the environment they inhabit. In 1993, the U.S. Green Building Council was founded in Washington, D.C. The nonprofit organization sought to promote sustainable practices in the design, construction and operation of buildings. Shortly after its founding, it began to develop the LEED Green Building Rating System, which it launched in 2000. The purpose of LEED system was to establish a metric for measuring the energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings, from the beginning of construction through to completion, subsequent operation and maintenance, and recognizing those structures that performed well across a number of standards for measurement. British Columbia joined as one of the founding members of the Cascadia Chapter of the USGBC in 1999.
This ultimately led to the 2003 formation of the Canada Green Building Council, the Canadian counterpart to the U.S. organization. That same year, the CGBC obtained permission to develop a Canadian version of the LEED system, based on the then current LEED-NC 2.0 system. LEED Canada measures buildings against metrics in a number of categories, including indoor environmental quality, energy and atmosphere, sustainable sites, water efficiency, and innovation in design.
Currently, the CGBC is overseen by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), an organization that reviews and verifies LEED-certified projects to make sure that they’ve met the standards mandated by the LEED system.
Renewable Energy Certificates and Credits
Companies and organizations seeking to achieve Ecologo or LEED certification can earn points toward those certifications by purchasing renewable energy credits (REC). RECs, sometimes referred to as renewable energy certificates, green tags or green credits, are a commodity that serves to represent the value and advantages of utilizing renewable energy sources, such as power sourced from wind turbines, biomass, or solar panels.
One REC represents a megawatt-hour of electricity produced by a renewable energy facility. When a company buys RECs equivalent in value to the company’s energy consumption, the company offsets the power they’ve sourced from traditional energy sources by contributing green energy to the shared power grid. There are a number of renewable energy credits markets, including local “green pricing” programs operated by local utility companies. Renewable energy credit prices are not fixed, but instead have a market price based on supply and demand.
REC owners are allowed to engage in renewable energy credits trading, or the sale of their RECs, but an REC is consumed or “retired” once it is used to apply toward any sort of certification, such as LEED or Ecologo, as well as in a number of other situations.