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Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Offsets

A greenhouse gas (GHG) offset, sometimes referred to as a carbon offset, is a tradable commodity representing a unit of GHG emissions reduction or avoidance. Typically, a GHG offset represents a reduction or avoidance of one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). GHG offsets may be purchased by consumers and businesses to "offset" their own emissions, such as those associated with electricity consumption, product manufacturing processes, automobile use, and air travel. GHG offsets can be derived from a variety of project types that reduce or avoid GHG emissions, with diverse methods for measuring these reductions. Examples of GHG reduction projects include renewable electricity generation, energy efficiency measures, methane capture at landfill sites, soil carbon sequestration, and reforestation projects. Developers of these project types can sell GHG offsets to consumers or businesses to help finance their projects.

All of the GHG offset providers and products presented on the Green Power Network are available nationally and derived at least in part from U.S.-based renewable energy generation projects.

Retail GHG Offset Products

The table shown here summarizes GHG offset products available to retail customers nationally and derived at least in part from renewable energy generation projects. Please contact our Webmaster if you have questions or more recent information regarding these products.

Company and product listings do not represent endorsement by either the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or the U.S. Department of Energy.

National Greenhouse Gas Offsets Retail Products
(Validated January 2015 with regular updates)

Offset Marketer Product Name Reduction Projects Location of Projects Residential Price Premiums* Project Certification Product Certification
3Degrees Carbon Offsets forestry/reforestration, new wind, new renewable energy, landfill methane capture, livestock United States, Brazil, China, India ~$8 CAR, VCS, Gold Standard, CCX, UNFCCC CDM Green-e Climate
Blue Source Goldman Sachs and Blue Source Carbon Offsets methane capture, efficiency, carbon sequestration, and industrial gas destruction Nationwide Commercial customers only
Bonneville Environmental Foundation BEF Carbon Offsets new wind, new solar, watershed restoration Nationwide ~$29 ZeroCarbon wind, methane capture, biomass, RECs, reforestation Nationwide, Brazil $10 CCX, CCBS, UNFCCC JI
Colorado Carbon Fund Project C local energy efficiency and renewable energy projects Colorado $20
Dominion Carbon Offset Program (NC customers only) energy conservation and renewable energy North Carolina ~$17
Duke Energy Carbon Offset Program (IN, SC & NC customers only) energy conservation and renewable energy North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia ~$17
E-BlueHorizons Carbon Offsets landfill gas (including efficiency and reforestation) Massachusetts, New Hampshire $5 VCS
Element Markets Verified Emission Reductions Various (including methane capture, renewable energy and energy efficiency) Nationwide Commercial customers only CAR, CCX, VCS
GT Environmental Finance Resource Carbon Reduction Projects landfill gas, biomass, renewable energy and forestry Nationwide Commercial customers only CAR, VCS
LiveNeutral Drive/Fly/HomeNeutral & By The Ton various (including efficiency and CO2 offsets) Nationwide $12 CCX
NativeEnergy Help Build Carbon Offsets wind, landfill gas, farm methane reduction, biomass, other U.S., India, China, Brazil $15.43 VCS, CAR, Gold Standard
NextEra Energy Resources Carbon Offsets wind Nationwide Commercial customers only
NW Natural / Climate Trust Smart Energy Average Option methane capture Oregon ~$24
NW Natural / Climate Trust Smart Energy Climate Neutral Option methane capture Oregon 10.49¢/therm
Progress Energy Carbon Offset Program (NC customers only) energy conservation and renewable energy North Carolina ~$20
Puget Sound Energy Carbon Balance Program methane capture Washington $20 CAR
Renewable Choice Energy Bundled Wind and Carbon Offsets wind, landfill gas, methane capture and avoidance Nationwide ~$20 VCS
Sacramento Municipal Utility District Carbon Offset Program local carbon reduction projects California $10/month
Solar Electric Light Fund Carbon Neutral Club global PV projects International $10 (donation)
Sterling Planet Voluntary Carbon Units landfill gas South Carolina $20 VCS Green-e Climate
Sustainable Travel International Carbon Offsets reforestation, biomass, hydro, wind International ~$25 Gold Standard, CDM, VCS, CCBS, Plan Vivo
The CarbonNeutral Company The CarbonNeutral Company Offset methane capture, renewables Brazil, China, Turkey Commercial customers only
VERUS Carbon Neutral VERUS Carbon Neutral Certification biomass, methane capture, sequestration Brazil, Georgia (US) $2.75 CCX

* Product prices are all based on a metric ton of CO2 avoided and were updated as of August 2010. Large users may be able to negotiate price premiums.

Project Certification

"Project Certification" indicates which third-party programs are used to verify that the GHG reduction projects meet minimum standards. These programs can also verify reductions from these projects, and issue them as certified credits to be sold by offset retailers.

Primary Third-Party Project Certification
American Carbon Registry (ACR)
Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)
Climate Action Reserve (CAR)
Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS)
Gold Standard
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Clean Development Mechanism (UNFCCC CDM)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Joint Implementation (UNFCCC JI)
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Product Certification

"Product Certification" programs are independent third-parties that certify the final retail GHG offset product sold in the marketplace. They ensure the credits supplying the product were certified by eligible project certification programs, sold as advertised, and delivered correctly and exclusively to the customer by the offset retailer.

Primary Third-Party Product Certification
Green-e Climate

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Not finding the product you were looking for? Please refer to the state-based product tables in the Can I Buy Green Power in My State? website.

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