Wouldn’t it be nice to know that for every hour you’re using electricity to run your office, you’re also supporting a stream restoration project, or contributing to the clean energy efforts of a business? That’s exactly what TEN7 is doing as a company with our energy offset program.
As president of TEN7, I do a lot of thinking about how, as a company, we can make a difference in people’s lives, and whether we can have a broader impact than the immediate members of the team.
As a fully distributed company, we’re cognizant of the amount of energy each team member consumes on a daily basis, whether plugging away at code or conducting the perpetual Zoom meetings. We can try to be energy efficient, but there’s a certain level of what’s called an “unavoidable environmental footprint.” To counteract this, we kicked off 2019 with an official commitment to the environment and are proud to offer a new benefit to our full-time employees: Renewable Energy Certificates and Water Restoration Certificates, purchased from the helpful team at the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF).
Every quarter, each TEN7 team member receives one REC and one WRC, personalized with the owner’s name, along with the environmental project that benefits from the purchase of the REC or WRC. Here’s a recent REC bought on behalf of Jonathan.
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
It would be great if we could choose to only use electricity that comes from renewable sources. Unfortunately, energy from all sources goes into the power grid, and we currently can’t track the source of any particular electrons. RECs were created to represent the electrons that are saved by using clean, renewable energy. So if you don’t create your own renewable energy, purchasing RECs allow you to offset your electricity consumption.
The average household uses 10,000 kilowatt hours annually. One REC represents 1000 kilowatt hours of renewable electricity, so the purchase of 10 RECs will offset a person’s electricity usage for an entire year!
RECs are purchased and sold by Green-e energy providers, such as BEF. Learn more about the process by watching this short video.
Water Restoration Certificates (WRCs)
WRCs are offered exclusively through BEF. The process of how they work is similar to RECs, but instead of electricity, these certificates provide water restoration to offset a water footprint. The money that BEF recieves through the purchase of WRCs supports water restoration projects and goes back into their mission work.
Each WRC represents 1,000 gallons of water restored to its natural environment, or restored to a critically depleted watershed or water resource. WRCs are purchased in 1,000 gallon increments. Each person uses 26,000 gallons of water annually, which equates to the amount of water in three average-sized in-ground swimming pools. The purchase of 26 WRCs would offset a person's water consumption for an entire year.
The WRCs of the TEN7 team state that we proudly support a portion of the Middle Deschutes River in Oregon, to help foster a healthy ecosystem.
How Does Purchasing RECs and WRCs Help?
When a partner (like us) purchases RECs or WRCs, BEF uses the money to support renewable energy providers, energy conservation and environmental projects. For the last 20 years, BEF has been making an impact on climate change and water restoration. Their site states that with the contributions from partners, “we have collectively kept a combined total of more than 9.5 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere, generated more than 6 million Megawatt-hours of clean energy, launched more than 250 renewable energy education projects across 20 states, restored 13.5 billion gallons of water to critically dewatered rivers and streams, and have supported the revitalization of 20 river ecosystems in 7 western states and Mexico.
Why Are We Doing This?
We offer this benefit to do our part to give back to our planet. We hope that having an awareness of this sustainable effort will inspire our team to make adjustments in their daily lives. Even small things add up, like choosing to recycle an aluminum can instead of throwing it away, or using washable plates instead of plastic. If each of us takes a forward-thinking approach to the use of our resources, Mother Earth will benefit from each small initiative. The TEN7 team is proud that the energy we use in our daily lives is being offset, lessening our footprint and improving our planet’s sustainability.
TEN7 encourages you to get involved with an offset program for yourself or your business! If you’re interested in purchasing certificates, please contact BEF or another Green-e certified organization today.
For additional information, please listen to Episode 53 of the TEN7 Podcast, where I interview Heather Schrock from BEF and discuss these topics in greater detail.