Green Balance program helps commercial customers offset carbon emissions

As the owners and operators of two of Chicago’s high-end luxury apartment complexes are discovering, Green Credits are proving to be an innovative way to target environmentally-conscious customers.

Chicago’s Chestnut Place and Webster House apartments have enrolled in Green Balance, CenterPoint Energy Services (CES) carbon-neutral natural gas purchase program, which enables customers to offset all or a portion of their carbon emissions created during natural gas combustion through the purchase of Green Credits.

“Our clientele is educated, young and in-tune to environmental issues,” said Jeff Larson, property supervisor of both apartment complexes. “These customers are looking for this type of environmental responsibility from companies they do business with.”

A Green Credit, also referred to as a carbon credit or carbon offset, is equal to the reduction, sequestration or avoidance of one metric tonne of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. When a customer enrolls in the Green Balance program, CES retires the Green Credits acquired under the program to offset some or all of the carbon emissions created when the customer consumes natural gas.

“The Green Balance program offers a cost-effective option for a wide range of commercial businesses, universities and government institutions that use a combination of clean-burning, domestic natural gas and Green Credits to show leadership in environmental stewardship,” said Eric Sullivan, CES division senior vice president. “This is a clean energy management solution that’s sustainable and affordable.”

CES created Green Balance in response to customer feedback, as companies and institutions expressed a desire for a convenient way to manage their carbon footprint, meet greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals and promote environmental stewardship. Under the Green Balance program, a customer desiring to offset the carbon emissions resulting from its natural gas use would generally pay a premium of about 10 to 15 percent for the gas.

“As an apartment ownership group, we use a lot of energy,” Larson said. “It’s one of our biggest expenses. We want to be good stewards of the environment and use our operational dollars to make a difference.”

After their Green Balance term is completed, customers will receive a certificate indicating the quantity of Green Credits and the applicable attributes that have been retired.

The Green Credits used to offset a customer’s emissions will be sourced from greenhouse gas reduction projects through a partnership with Element Markets, LLC, a Houston-based environmental credit marketing and project development company. All Green Credits are sourced from voluntary carbon emissions reduction projects that meet nationally recognized standards. Reduction projects include the destruction of industrial pollutants, the repurposing of landfill methane and the use of anaerobic lagoons for energy generation.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total more than $19 billion. With over 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. CenterPoint Energy Services, the competitive natural gas sales and services division of the company, has more than 25,000 commercial, industrial and utility customers across 20 states. For more information, visit the company’s website at