Renewable Natural Gas and Offset Products: New Solutions for Green Consumers

Households and businesses across the country have been switching to renewable electricity at a record pace in recent years, and many are also looking to reduce the impact of their natural gas use. Until recently, the only option available was carbon offsets, which reduce global emissions through a project located in a different part of the world. But another option exists, one that offers natural gas users a closer connection to the solution—renewable natural gas (RNG) from biomass. 

How Does Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Work?

Renewable Natural Gas is composed of methane produced from the decomposition of organic matter from landfills, livestock operations, wastewater treatment, and agricultural waste. The resulting biogas then needs to be scrubbed and conditioned to remove non-methane elements to produce pipeline-quality RNG.  The resulting RNG can then be injected into existing natural gas pipelines and used interchangeably with traditional natural gas. RNG is considered a renewable fuel because the alternative to using it in pipelines is flaring or allowing the biogas to release into the atmosphere, both of which result in greenhouse gases. Some studies have even suggested that RNG is a carbon-neutral fuel.

Who Is Buying RNG Today?

Several large corporations that lead in sustainability have begun supporting and purchasing RNG. The personal-care giant L’Oréal has an impressive goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2019 for all 21 of its US manufacturing and distribution facilities. In March 2018 the company signed a 15-year agreement to purchase 40 percent of the RNG produced from the Big Run Landfill in Ashland, KY as a major step toward its carbon-neutrality goal.

Another global sustainability leader, Interface, the world’s largest commercial modular carpet company, set a Mission Zero goal to eliminate its negative environmental impacts by 2020.  In 2005, Interface pioneered the direct use of landfill gas near its Troup County, GA facilities.  Starting in 2015, Interface began supplementing this landfill gas with RNG injected into the common pipeline.   

Carbon Offset Natural Gas Products (CONG)

While RNG can be a great option for large customers, there are few options available for smaller users. Luckily, there is an option for residential and small business customers who are looking for an affordable solution to green their natural gas use. Carbon Offset Natural Gas (CONG) products bundle natural gas usage with carbon offsets—verified and credited greenhouse gas emission reductions—in order to balance the greenhouse gas emissions associated with that energy use. Also called gas offset products or programs, this is a popular option for gas utilities and independent natural gas marketers to offer their customers since it does not involve changing supply or sources of gas, unlike biogas or RNG.  Green-e Climate certification of CONG products can ensure carbon offsets delivered to gas customers are real, permanent, and verified, and that those offsets come from projects that are beyond business-as-usual and certified by project-level certifiers. Green-e Climate is an independent, third-party certification that can increase consumer confidence and is referenced in leading environmental standards, including the LEED green building certification.

About Green-e and Center for Resource Solutions

A program of the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions, Green-e is North America’s leading independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market. Green-e offers certification and verification services through Green-e Energy, a renewable energy certification program; Green-e Climate, a greenhouse gas emission reduction certification program; and Green-e Marketplace, a program that provides forward-thinking organizations a simple, nationally recognized logo they can use to communicate their renewable energy and climate commitment to their customers and stakeholders. To learn more about Green-e Certified products and programs available in all 50 states and Canada, visit http://www.green-e.org.

More Information on This Topic

https://www.socalgas.com/smart-energy/renewable-gas/what-is-renewable-natural-gas

http://www.lorealusa.com/media/press-releases/2018/march/carbon-neutrality

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/interface-americas-now-operating-on-96-renewable-energy-300261523.html

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53a09c47e4b050b5ad5bf4f5/t/5b049d7d03ce646fda48e14f/1527029122737/production-use-renewable-natural-gas-climate-strategy-united-states.pdf