Green Power

Green Power Partnership Program

Purchase Renewable Energy through the Green Power Partnership Program

The American Bar Association (ABA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourage law offices to participate in EPA's Green Power Partnership program (Green Power) by covering at least part of their electricity usage with the purchase of what power from renewable energy sources, which has become known as green power. Payments for green power support the emerging field of renewable energy resources and diminish the need for power generated from coal-fired or other nonrenewable resources.

Specifically, a law office can participate in Green Power by agreeing to purchase a minimum amount of megawatt hours of green power products, which are electric power products generated by certain types of new sources of renewable energy. The required minimum amount is calculated by reference to a percentage of the organization's annual electricity use, and ranges from 10% if the organization's annual electricity use is relatively low to 2% if the organization's annual electricity use is relatively high. EPA recognizes organizations that buy at least the minimum amount as "Green Power Partners." Partners who purchase additional green power in specified amounts or more qualify for membership in the Green Power Leadership Club. The program includes a special calculation methodology for organizations that lease their space. Any organization can participate in Green Power, regardless of whether renewable energy is available through that organization's utility provider.

The ABA will recognize a law office that achieves recognition as a Green Power Partner or a member of the Green Power Leadership Club as, respectively, a Law Office Climate Challenge Partner or a Law Office Climate Challenge Leader. In addition, as explained below, the ABA will recognize as a Law Office Climate Challenge Leader a law office whose electricity usage is too small to allow the office to qualify as a member of the Green Power Leadership Club, but that covers a sufficiently high percentage of its electricity usage with a green power purchase.

Questions and Answers

For full details, please see EPA Green Power Program-Questions and Answers. ( more)

1. What are the Requirements for a Law Office to Participate in the EPA Green Power Program?
Under the EPA Green Power program, a firm may qualify for recognition as a Partner by agreeing to purchase a minimum amount of MWh (megawatt hours) of green power products, which are electric power products generated by certain types of renewable energy sources. The participation requirements are included in EPA's Green Power Partnership Requirements. ( more)

2. What are the Costs of Participation in the EPA Green Power Program?
The out-of-pocket costs to a law office for participating in Green Power depend on the amount of the office's electricity usage and the cost of the green power products. Because, in most cases, law offices can be expected to participate by purchasing RECs, and RECs can be modestly priced, the costs of participation can be modest. ( more)

3. How Can a Law Office Participate in the EPA Green Power Program, Receive Recognition from EPA, Maintain the Office's Participation in Subsequent Years, and Participate in the Law Office Climate Challenge?
A law office must take the following steps to enroll in the Green Power program; achieve recognition as a Green Power Partner and, if it chooses to purchase more green power, as a member of the Leadership Club; maintain its recognition as such in subsequent years; and participate in the Law Office Climate Challenge: ( more)

4. What are the Benefits to Law Offices for participating in Green Power?
Law offices that participate in Green Power can expect to enjoy an enhanced reputation as good citizens and, in particular, good energy stewards. This should assist in employee hiring and retention, and may be of particular value within the growing field of renewable resources law.

5. Does EPA Offer Assistance?
After an organization submits the Partnership Agreement, EPA provides an account manager who is available to provide information about, for example, the availability of green power products. A Partner may use the EPA Green Power Partner mark (a logo). (See EPA, What Happens After Joining)

6. What About Organizations with More than One Office?
EPA, in the Green Power program, takes a flexible approach towards recognizing firms with more than one office. The firm may have as few or as many offices it wishes participate in Green Power. Of course, only those offices that do participate will be recognized as Green Power "Partners. Moreover, as described above, to qualify as a member of the Leadership Club, a Partner must meet purchase requirements that are based on the electricity usage of all of its U.S. facilities. The ABA, in granting recognition under the Law Office Climate Challenge, takes the same approach.

7. How are the Environmental Benefits Calculated?
The EPA Green Power program includes a methodology for calculating the amount of environmental benefits due to emissions avoided as a result of the replacement of conventional power with green power. The law office should include this information on its Climate Challenge Application Form and, if filed, Update Form, and the ABA, in turn, will include the information on the Law Office Climate Challenge Website.

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