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Investing in Carbon Offsets

13/03/2011 Comments off

In recent years, the world of real estate has focused on sustainability, and rightfully so. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for 40% of primary energy use in the United States, as well as 39% of its carbon dioxide emissions.

These numbers have played a part in the industry’s drive toward green building. Owners are no longer content with traditional energy use and the negative impact that it has. Building owners have identified tangible returns to going green, including increased marketability, decreased operating costs, and the halo effect. These returns create an opportunity for carbon offset investments.

A carbon offset is a credit or certificate that represents the reduction of one ton of carbon dioxide emissions. These offsets are created by projects that reduce carbon dioxide and have the reduction verified by a qualified third party. These carbon reduction projects then sell their offsets to individuals and companies that wish to mitigate their environmental impact. In most cases, participation in the carbon offset market is voluntary. These offsets are most commonly purchased to earn LEED points for a building or to get media recognition for a company’s green efforts.

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