Carbon Offsets

Policy and Calculation Details

Vancouver Renewable Energy’s Carbon Offset Certificates (COCs) conform strictly to the concept of ‘additionality.’

Additionality means that monies from the sale of certificates are only used to fund projects that would not have happened without additional Carbon Offset Credit funding.  Given the economic conditions present at the beginning of the project (component costs, installation, and energy savings based on current and projected local costs of conventional energy), the project would not be economically viable without the additional funding.  COC funding makes an uneconomic project viable to the project sponsor in order to promote the use of greenhouse gas saving technology and systems.

*Calculations are based on a lifetime of 35 years.

*Greenhouse gas reductions are based on a calculation of 56 kg / gigajoule for the solar hot water systems that replace natural gas heating.

*Ten percent of the price of the certificates covers administrative, marketing, mailing and printing costs.

Where does the money go?

Money from Carbon Offset purchases will go towards providing additional funding for solar hot water systems, primarily for housing cooperatives, which are non-profit organizations.

In a typical project, money would be contributed over the first few years of use while the bank loan to finance the project is being repaid, in order to bring payments down to a level equal to the amount of money saved on energy costs.  This, in effect, will make solar hot water systems for housing cooperatives cost-neutral over the first few years of the project, and then a money-saving system after that.  Cost neutral means that the cost of the loan to pay for the system would equal the money saved, so having the system costs no more than the cost of heating the water the old way.

We are currently looking for housing coops to benefit from this funding.  For more information, please contact us.

Why buy from VREC?

Unlike other offset certificates, ours support local renewable energy projects in Greater Vancouver.  They support renewable energy, rather than projects that store carbon temporarily (like tree planting projects), or which might have other negative environmental impacts (like hydroelectric projects).  When you buy from VREC, you will be able to visit the completed projects in Greater Vancouver to see how your money was spent.  VREC is a workers’ cooperative, a non-profit that installs and designs renewable energy systems.


Let’s say the cost to finance a $40,000 solar hot water system for a housing coop is $270 per month.  If the energy savings from the system aren’t going to be quite that much in the first few years, the housing cooperative may not be able to afford to purchase the system unless it costs no more than it costs now to heat their water.  Carbon Offset Credit funding will help make up the difference.  As natural gas prices go up and the loan gets paid off, the amount saved will get higher and higher, and after about five years the offset funding will not be necessary.  Natural gas prices and the output of the solar hot water system can be calculated to determine, at the outset, how much funding will be needed compared to how many tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions the system prevents.

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