Local energy nonprofit to start selling carbon credits

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Friendship Court, where LEAP has helped fund energy-saving updates that contributed to its carbon credits. Photo: Josh Britt Friendship Court, where LEAP has helped fund energy-saving updates that contributed to its carbon credits. Photo: Josh Britt

Charlottesville’s Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) announced this week that it’s entering the “voluntary carbon market,” and will be selling carbon credits generated by energy-saving weatherization projects to individuals and companies that want to buy their way to a smaller carbon footprint.

According to a statement released Monday, LEAP’s Save a Ton Program will issue 996 numbered carbon credits and sell them for $25 a ton, retiring them after they’re purchased. LEAP worked with a third-party validation organization to verify the credits, which were generated through LEAP’s local Weatherization Innovation Pilot Program. The program helps the owners of low-income multi-family residential buildings make efficiency improvements that allow residents to save on energy bills. One recent beneficiary was Friendship Court, a neighborhood near downtown Charlottesville that received $125,000 from LEAP to help install new heat pumps, low-flow toilets and other improvements.

Those updates and others in the area—LEAP has helped retrofit a total of 830 homes in the last three years—resulted in the energy savings that have now been quantified and can be bought as carbon offsets.

“Our single and multifamily home energy improvement projects have already generated critical cost savings for residents and tenants,” said Cynthia Adams, LEAP’s executive director, in the nonprofit’s press release. “They’ve also saved energy and limited pollution right here in Virginia, and now companies and individuals can support more carbon reductions in their own community backyard by purchasing carbon credits from LEAP.”

Adams said in the release that the money generated by the sale of the credits will allow the organization to continue making energy- and money-saving updates to area homes.

“By aggregating the carbon savings from our energy efficiency improvements and selling them to corporate or individual buyers, LEAP can continue to fund our low-income energy assistance and other programs,” she said.