Energy > Off-Site Renewable Energy (RECs)

Many states and utilities offer opportunities to purchase renewable energy directly from your electricity service provider. Consult Green-e for opportunities in your area.

In areas where you cannot purchase renewable energy through your existing provider, your department may want to consider enrolling in a utility green pricing program or purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs), which ensure that energy providers deliver renewable electricity to the grid that is equal to the amount you consume.

Whichever option you choose, you can make sure the renewable energy you purchase meets the highest standards of environmental quality by looking for credible third party certification like Green-e. Visit Green-e for a list of REC providers in your state. The EPA’s Guide to Purchasing Green Power is an excellent reference, with step-by-step instructions and lists of available resources.

The cheapest, cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use. Before purchasing renewable energy, consider improving the energy efficiency of your facilities. With the money you save, you can consider investing in renewable energy and still reduce your overall energy bill.


RECs represent an investment in renewable energy generation projects. Instead of buying renewable energy directly from your electricity provider, purchasers of RECs ensure that renewable facilities deliver clean energy into the grid and displace nonrenewable energy sources.

By helping to substitute fossil fuel generation with renewables, your sports department and institution helps to prevent emissions of greenhouse gases.  RECs are not the same as carbon offsets, which are designed to offset carbon emissions associated with energy use. For more on carbon offsets, see the Offsetting Travel section of this guide.


Conducting energy audits of your sports facilities can help your institution earn points within the “Energy” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). It can directly contribute to earning 4 points for the credit “OP 9: Clean and Renewable Energy.” Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.


By investing in renewable energy, you are helping to finance renewable energy products across the country. Fossil fuel energy generation – for electricity, transportation, and industrial uses – is the principal cause of air pollution and global warming. By purchasing renewable energy, your department can reduce its demand for fossil fuel energy and also reduce its contributions to smog, acid rain, pollution-related illness, and global warming.


>> The National Collegiate Athletics Association  (NCAA) purchased renewable energy credits (RECs), predominantly from wind and solar farms in the Southeast, to offset 100 percent of the electricity used to power the 2013 Final Four® games at the Georgia Dome.

“While we strive to reduce the energy consumed for the Final Four®, the purchase of RECs will help build the market for renewable energy in the United States,” says Tim Trefzer, sustainability coordinator at the Georgia Dome and a member of the 2013 NCAA Final Four® Sustainability Committee.

To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.


AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)
AASHE STARS 2.0 Technical Manual
Buy Green-e Certified Renewable Energy for Your Business
EPA Green Power: Tags vs. Delivered Products
EPA: Green Power Locator
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency