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Thursday, November 09, 2006

5 Easy Steps For Offices, Stores To Acquire Renewable Energy

What is renewable energy? Should my office switch? Does my office need to be located near a wind farm? Is it simple to buy? What are my options?

Many office- and retail-based companies are switching to renewable energy and "greening" their energy supply. While this is often not difficult to do, the overwhelming amount of information available can make it a confusing process, especially for newcomers.

The World Resources Institute (WRI) cuts through the clutter with essential information – in just 26 pages – for financial institutions; real estate, retail, law, and publishing firms; universities; non-profit organizations; and many others to understand the basics of how they can go green.

Switching to Green provides a five-step outline for acquiring renewable energy (see figure). It also includes links to essential resources and brief examples of how companies have diversified their energy supply and supported the growth of clean energy technologies by incorporating renewable energy into their operations.

"Depending on your office's goals, you could have multiple renewable energy options, from local green power to a nationally-sourced product," said Samantha Putt del Pino, author of the how-to guide.

Renewable energy can be used to generate heat and electricity, from sources such as solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, geothermal, and some types of certified hydropower.

Unlike fossil fuels, these resources do not contribute to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes global warming.

Many office- and retail-based companies and organizations -- including Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, FedEx Kinko's, Staples, and the World Bank Group -- have made the switch to renewable energy. These companies have purchased green power to help meet their climate or energy goals. For others that want to do the same, Switching to Green can help.

The guide’s five-step process includes:

  • a discussion of the business case for buying renewable energy
  • an overview of delivery options, including some of the advantages and disadvantages of going green
  • cost-saving strategies that companies use
  • a breakdown of how to buy renewable energy, from understanding the data you need to signing a contract, and
  • a description of how the carbon benefit of your office’s renewable energy purchase is calculated.
Switching to Green draws heavily on the lessons and publications of the Green Power Market Development Group, whose members include many of the largest corporate users of renewable energy.


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