Haworth Achieves LEED-NC Gold Status Using Carbon Credits

Haworth Inc, a designer and manufacturer of office furniture and organic workspaces, is the first company to use carbon credits from a renewable energy project to achieve green power credits for LEED-NC (New Construction) Gold certification instead of renewable energy credits (RECs).

This new approach to help achieve certification has been recognized by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Haworth purchased carbon credits from The CarbonNeutral Company, a carbon offset and carbon management business, over RECs, to reduce the climate impact of its corporate headquarters in Michigan – One Haworth Center. The carbon credits offer real, quantifiable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions from renewable energy projects, which would not have existed without carbon finance.

To date, project managers have only used RECs to achieve green power credits needed for the LEED-NC certification. However, there is growing consensus among nongovernmental organizations and policy makers that carbon credits offer more tangible benefits to stimulate investment in renewable energies and reducing carbon emissions than RECs, the Haworth press release stated.

Steve Kooy, senior environment engineer from Haworth, explained why the company chose this alternative path. “By investing in carbon credits from projects that need carbon finance to exist, we are supporting the growth of additional renewable energy capacity on the grid while at the same time ensuring that net GHG emissions are lower. With the recognition of this alternative path by the USGBC, we expect that more companies will now choose this approach – especially given the increased emphasis that LEED has recently placed on mitigating climate change.”

Neil Braun, chief executive officer, The CarbonNeutral Company said, “We applaud Haworth in achieving this significant step of being the first company to integrate carbon credits into its energy planning to help achieve LEED Gold certification. This is an important tool in reducing the carbon emissions associated with the built environment beyond what can be accomplished on site.”

Family-owned and privately held, Haworth is headquartered in Holland, Mich., and serves markets in more than 120 countries through a global network of 600 dealers. The company had net sales of US $1.65 billion in 2008. The CarbonNeutral Company works with more than 300 major businesses and thousands of small- and medium-sized companies. Over the last 10 years, it has purchased carbon credits from over 200 projects across six continents.

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