In 2007, NW Natural launched Smart Energy, becoming the first stand-alone gas utility to offer its customers a voluntary carbon offset program. The program’s mantra, “Use Less, Offset the Rest,” highlights how offsets are a valuable component of carbon reduction, and a strategy that can be deployed once fully implementing measures to reduce energy use has been done. Customer offset contributions fund biogas projects on dairy farms in the Northwest.
Residential customers have two options with the Smart Energy program: an “Average” option, wherein customers pay a small fee to offset the emissions associated with their natural gas use from the average home in NW Natural’s service area (about 3.4 tons annually), and a “Climate Neutral” option that lets customers offset all the emissions of their home by paying a charge based on actual usage.
Commercial and industrial customers can offset any amount for as little as $10 per month. Businesses that commit to offset 100% of their natural gas emissions are recognized as members of NW Natural’s Smart Energy Circle, and are featured in NW Natural customer communications and on the Smart Energy website.
In 2017, Smart Energy celebrated its 10th year, with more than 39,000 residential and business customers enrolled.
The Smart Energy program is entirely self-funded, meaning that the voluntary participants pay for the offsets and the education necessary to grow the program.
The Smart Energy program has helped spur 9 biogas projects on Northwest dairy farms in its first decade. These projects range from a reduction of 1,200 - 15,000 metric tons per year, with the majority below 5,000 metric tons.
View our Smart Energy business partners.
The bakery is a Smart Energy customer, offsetting 380 tons of carbon dioxide. Signing up for Smart Energy was the next step for the socially conscious business, which uses organic or sustainably grown produce whenever possible. Grand Central Bakery is a fine example of a good corporate citizen making an excellent product.