Brenden Millstein, 2011 Social Innovation Fellow

Increasing Energy Efficiency on Two Fronts
CEO and Co-Founder, Carbon Lighthouse Association

Climate change and the dramatic weather events that are increasingly occurring around the world as a result of it are taking large tolls on populations that don’t have the financial resources to recover from them.

Clean air, healthy drinking water, and protection of our mountains are primary concerns of more and more individuals around the planet, and one way to safeguard them is to help everyone reduce his or her environmental footprint. While reducing one’s own emissions is the preferred way, U.S. consumers and corporations attempting to do so don’t always have that option, or may not be able to completely eliminate their environmental footprint.

In recent years, a market has emerged to provide these consumers and businesses with an opportunity to counterbalance their own emissions by purchasing so-called carbon offsets that help fund emission-reduction projects throughout the world. The majority of the funds received from the purchase of carbon offsets supposedly go to renewable energy, energy efficiency, or forestry projects that lower emissions and pollution levels, but it has proved difficult to get clear and reliable information about whether these projects really contribute to carbon emission reductions.

Carbon Lighthouse Association enables corporations and consumers to eliminate their entire carbon footprint by offering a complete environmental carbon-reduction and offset solution. The nonprofit, co-founded by Brenden Millstein (MBA and MS ’10), partners with energy efficiency and solar companies that help customers reduce their energy use on-site. Next, the nonprofit enables clients to use a small percentage of their energy savings to eliminate their residual carbon footprint through legally binding and transparently tracked domestic carbon offsets.

Carbon Lighthouse provides its customers with trustworthy carbon offsets by participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a carbon market regulated and enforced by nine Northeast U.S. states. In every state between Maine and Maryland, carbon allowances are legally sold to emitters, and the proceeds are used for local green-energy development projects. Through its innovative model, Carbon Lighthouse expects to reduce 7,500 tons of carbon emissions per year by the end of 2012.