Clean and Renewable Energy

Credit Language

OP 6: Clean and Renewable Energy – version 2.2

Frequently Asked Questions

How has this credit changed from STARS 2.1 to 2.2?

Substantive changes have been made to this credit. Green power options were updated to reflect current market, and a definition of “Clean and renewable energy sources” consistent with CRS/Green-e has been added. Electricity units can now be reported in kilowatt-hours. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the 2.2 Summary of changes.

Does our electricity grid mix count for this credit?

No. The positive impacts associated with a low carbon electricity supply (e.g., a grid mix that includes a high proportion of power from large scale hydro and/or nuclear sources) are recognized in the GHG Emissions credit. This credit instead recognizes institutions that support the development and use of energy from clean and renewable sources. For electricity, an institution must have the right to claim the renewable attributes of a product to earn points for it.

Energy on the grid is indistinguishable by source. Therefore, neither the electric grid mix for the region in which the institution is located, nor the grid mix reported by the electric utility that serves the institution (i.e., the utility’s standard or default product) count for this credit in the absence of RECs, GOs, I-RECs, or equivalent products that document the renewable electricity delivered or consumed and give the institution to right to claim it as renewable.

For more information, see RE100 Reporting Guidance (The Climate Group / CDP)

What is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?

For an institution to claim points for purchasing clean and renewable energy, it must cover that purchase with RECs or the equivalent. If the attributes of renewable energy production are not retained in the form of RECs, GOs, I-RECs, or certified green power programs, the electricity could be counted multiple times by different entities. For further information, please see the U.S. EPA’s guidance.

Are there there other credits that ask for the same information?

Reviewers will check to see if total energy consumption reported in this credit is consistent with Building Energy Efficiency (OP-5). Valid discrepancies should be clarified in the Notes field. See related Help Center article on sharing information between credits.

Resources, Templates & Tools

Reporting Examples

  • Arizona State University – Comprehensive renewable energy program. Good documentation provided in the credit and on the institution website. Great reporting example for large institutions.
  • George Washington University – Comprehensive renewable energy program is referenced. Care was taken to only count renewable energy projects that were active during the reporting year.
  • Santa Clara University – Good documentation in each category. It is specified which installations have/do not have renewable rights retained.
  • University of Virginia – Comprehensive responses for each area where renewable energy is reported. A detailed Renewable Energy Tracking page is linked.

Common Issues Identified During Review

  • Score outlier: Uncommon for institutions to earn more than one point for this credit. If a high score is reported, check closely for the issues below. 
  • In order to count, the institution must retain or own the rights the the renewable energy reported. Grid mix reported by a utility does not count toward the credit (grid mix may be reported in optional fields under this credit).
  • Responses should align with the correct option:
    • Certified/verified green power (imported/purchased)
    • On-site renewables (e.g., rooftop solar panels)
    • Renewable fuels (e.g., biofuel for heat)
    • Certified/verified green thermal energy (imported/purchased)
    • RECs, GOs, I-RECs and the equivalent
  • Data consistency: Response under “Total energy consumption, performance year” should be consistent with what is reported under OP 5 if the same Performance Year is used. Valid discrepancies should be clarified in the Notes field.

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