WEST MICHIGAN. — DTE is offering a new program this week that allows customers to opt in to paying a small monthly fee in order to offset a percentage of their carbon footprint from using natural gas.
The CleanVision Natural Gas Balance program was launched this week as part of thee company's initiative to become net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Customers, if they so choose, can start off by choosing to pay an extra $4 a month to offset 25% of their carbon footprint.
“And they can go 4 steps up, all the way to $16 a month, to offset completely 100% of their carbon footprint for their natural gas usage," said Dan Brudzynski, VP of gas sales and supply for DTE.
The extra dollars will allow DTE to do 2 things— collect and reuse natural gas that would usually be emitted into the environment, and to facilitate carbon offset.
“And a carbon offset is basically the rest of the carbon that's in your footprint, it's things like forestry and other natural ways to capture carbon in a sort of carbon sink,” Brudzynski said.
"We will be protecting for generations to come, thousands of acres of forestry in the Upper Peninsula, in 14 counties that will serve as natural sinks for carbon.”
The program will initially be available to just residential customers and small to mid size businesses.
Grand Rapids' own Madcap Coffee was the first to sign up for the program.
“For us, it was a no brainer. I mean, you know, since 2008, from the onset of our inception, we've been very passionate about sustainability,” said Trevor Corlett, CEO and Founder of Madcap.
"If you've been in our cafes, you don't see garbage cans, we've never had garbage cans. You throw whatever it is into the bus bins, and my staff sorts through compost, recycling, you know, items that have to be washed.”
The first 200 people to sign up for DTE's new CleanVision program will receive a $10 Madcap Coffee gift card.
Much like what they offer in their cafes, Madcap believes in the power of making sustainable choices more accessible.
“You're not just, you know, having the opportunity to use renewable energy, but then you're also... helping contribute to re-forestation and saving our forests here in the state that we love to enjoy," Corlett said.
You can find out more or enroll in the program HERE.