GreenEdge offsets natural gas use
- William Cullen Bryant
Autumn holds a very special appeal for many of us. Cooler weather. Colorful leaves. Football. But along with those cooler temperatures comes the need to switch from air conditioning to heat, and for many of our customers, that means using more natural gas.
While natural gas is highly efficient and emits less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels, it does have an environmental impact. With that in mind, our customers asked us to provide a way to help offset some of the emissions from their natural gas use. We responded by launching GreenEdge in June 2022.
GreenEdge is a voluntary subscription program that enables Piedmont customers to help offset carbon and reduce methane in the atmosphere while also funding projects that help protect and manage forests and reclaim wetlands.
Here’s how it works:
- You subscribe to one or more “blocks” at $3/block/month. Each block is equivalent to 12.5 therms of natural gas usage, or 20% to 25% of the average household’s natural gas use. You can purchase as many as you like.
- Block fees are used to cover the cost of carbon offsets and renewable natural gas environmental attributes as well as to help support program administration.
- Program participants receive an annual report highlighting the impact of their contributions and the overall effects of the program.
If some of those terms are new to you, here’s a handy glossary.
Carbon offsets – Carbon offsets fund projects that either lower CO2 emissions or “sequester” CO2, meaning they take some CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it. This “offsets” the carbon emitted by using natural gas.
Renewable natural gas – Renewable natural gas, or RNG, is produced by capturing methane from existing waste streams, such as landfills and a variety of renewable and sustainable biomass sources.
Renewable natural gas attributes – The value of renewable natural gas is made up of two components: the gas itself and its environmental attributes. Ownership of these attributes is represented by a certificate that verifies the energy (in this case, renewable natural gas) was produced from a renewable source.
So, how is GreenEdge working so far?
Since launching in June 2022, the program has achieved some extraordinary results – 5,173 Piedmont customers have enrolled, subscribing to a total of 94,300 therms of natural gas usage.
Funds from our customers’ subscriptions allowed GreenEdge to purchase:
- 150 metric tons of carbon offsets from Doe Mountain Improved Forest Management Project
- 790 metric tons of carbon offsets from Davidson County Landfill Gas Destruction Project
- 179 renewable thermal certificates (RTCs) from the Maryland Bioenergy Center; each of these certificates represents one dekatherm (10 therms) of renewable natural gas and together they equate to eliminating 10 more metric tons of CO2
All together, these carbon offsets are equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse emissions generated by driving an average car for 2.4 million miles or driving 205 average cars for one year. These carbon offsets also have the same emission-reducing impact of recycling 329 tons of garbage instead of sending it to the landfill.
If you’d like to reduce your environmental footprint by helping offset the impact of your natural gas use, visit piedmontng.com/GreenEdge to learn more and enroll.