Image via Earth Aid
Last week Earth Aid launched a free online service that encourages households to conserve energy wherever possible. The service looks at the home's energy bills, calculates the energy savings, bundles it to be sold as a carbon credit, and then sends cash payments to consumers. The more a user saves, the more they're paid. If there's a big question mark hanging above your head, we felt the same way when we heard about the service. How Earth Aid's Service Works
Earth Aid is a free service, but it requires a full year of participation before your utilitiy bills are calculated for savings. When you sign up, you allow Earth Aid to access your utility bill information. That alone can be a little uncomfortable for some people, but the company assures users they don't see anything regarding payment information or sensitive info...just your energy use. After a year, your energy savings is calculated, and that savings is bundled up with the savings of thousands of other households, and turned into a carbon credit. The carbon credit can then be traded on the carbon market, something Earth Aid does for you, and then sends you a check for the sale price of your carbon credit.
What Does Earth Aid's Service Say About the Carbon Market?
The service is a very interesting example of where the new carbon market is taking us. The carbon market is projected to hit over $600 billion by 2013, and it's no wonder businesses are scrambling to figure out how to cut into the pie. Taking advantage of the wiggle room allowed by consumers is one way of doing so, but does that mean we aren't really taking advantage of the actual reduced energy use?
The detailed ups and downs of a carbon market are still being hashed out. And businesses that are signing on with products and services for the carbon market need to receive an equally weighty inquiry as the market itself.
Taking Advantage of the Economics of Energy Conservation
At the end of the day, it's great to reduce your energy consumption as much as possible, regardless of the economics involved. But a service like this is sure to pique the interest of people, and possibly get more people thinking about financial benefits of conserving energy beyond savings.