TreeHugger has mentioned numerous forms of green tags (renewable energy credits -- companies like NativeEnergy and TerraPass are using them to offset carbon emissions from everything from movie productions to football games) before, and we think they're pretty cool. Still, opponents of the programs have noted that they may simply enable consumers and companies alike to continue to do non-TreeHugger things (like burn excessive amounts of fossil fuels) and just write them off as "It's okay, it supports renewable energy" without changing any of their behaviors. A company called Sterling Planet thinks they have the answer. In addition to green tags, they have a new program called "White Tags," which are credits earned for saving energy. Unlike green tags, which are tied to creating and delivering renewable power and are measured by meter readings, White Tags are determined through precise calculations of energy savings derived from conservation measures.Sterling Planet has developed state-of-the–art technology with advanced mathematical techniques and neural network algorithms to establish accurate (greater than 99.9%), scalable and cost-effective processes for the measurement, verification and certification of White Tags. Three states -- Connecticut, Nevada, and Pennsylvania -- will soon require energy efficiency credits as a way to decrease electricity demand. Sterling said next year, Connecticut will be the first state to implement such a program.
Until then, Sterling has a "nationwide plan" that allows consumers in any state to invest in energy efficiency, and Sterling is also targeting businesses and organizations, with trading and banking going both ways. They hope to bring together White Tag buyers and sellers; buyers will include electric utilities in mandated markets with portfolio standards and corporations or institutions in voluntary markets that are looking to meet greenhouse gas emission goals. Sellers will include those who have taken concrete, effective measures to reduce their energy use and have contracted with Sterling Planet to measure, monetize and certify the White Tags that result.
Pretty cool, these White Tags. It's good to see a company aiming to reward conservation, rather than consumption. A caveat of the White Tag model might be that it will differ from state to state, which quickly gets confusing and might serve to be as confusing as it is beneficial. The good news is that, as consumers, we aren't tied to any state model and can support the White Tag program from anywhere in the country, or the world, for that matter. We sure hope it gains a foothold and will work with businesses and consumers alike to foster more energy-efficient practices. ::Sterling Planet via ::Gristmill