Buildings account for roughly 72% of electricity consumption in the United States. Appliances, equipment, and lighting throughout those buildings may be powered by electricity of different voltages or different types of current, but it doesn’t matter to those appliances how the electricity is generated. The owners and occupants of the buildings, however, are increasingly recognizing the environmental differences between power from renewably generated and conventional sources, and are choosing to pay more, in some cases, for green electricity.
This article examines why many customers are greening their electricity and weighs various options, including buying grid-sourced renewable energy, buying renewable energy credits (RECs), investing in on-site renewable capacity, and reducing energy demand through conservation. The article also looks at the major certification efforts and issues in the REC market and provides examples from architectural firms and others who have invested in one or more of these areas.