When we started on this journey of sustainable renovation one of the first things we did was to replace the electricity hungry hot water system with a Siddons heat pump system which has cut our hot water costs by a large amount. We received a $1000 rebate from the Federal Government and we had 30 RECS (Renewable Energy Certificates) that we sold back to our supplier. At that time we had little understanding of what REC’s or how they worked.
The next thing that had REC’s attached was the 1kw solar system that had 18 REC’s attached. Yet again we sold those to the supplier although by this time, thanks to articles in Renew magazine, we did have a greater understanding.
The basics seem to be that when you sell your REC’s what you are actually selling is the renewable energy that your system is creating. Companies can buy these REC’s to keep their committment to the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target. If you keep the REC’s you are adding to the total of renewable energy available in the world as the companies have to find the renewable energy elsewhere.
For a good, clear explanation here are the links to the articles in RENEW Magazine. This magazine is put out by the Alternative Energy Association and is a great source of information. going_carbon_neutral and recs .
After reading these articles we decided to wait until we received our $8000 solar rebate and then purchase renewable energy to the equivalent value of the REC’s. The Choice website had a great comparisons of companies that deal in Carbon Offset Schemes. After looking at several companies we went with Climate Positive
. This was mainly because they put money into renewable energy projects around the world but also because they put a certain amount back into reforestation according to what you put into the scheme as an addition. They are also a not for profit organisation. The calculation started at 30 REC’s for hot water plus 18 RC’s for solar euals 48 REC’s which at the time were worth approximately $40.00 each so 48 x $40.00 equals $1920.00. It was decided to round it up to $2500 to include our vehicles etc. There are calculators available to help you work out your own carbon footprint on the Climat Positive website.
After paying our money online we were sent a receipt and a very nice certificate. More to the point we now know that our renewable energy has been added to the sum total of renewables rather than some company using it to further its dirty, smelly coal output. Oh and don’t forget that the investment you make in renewable energy in this way should be tax deductible (Here in Australia. Check with your accountant first)