EPA Partners with Water Utilities to Save Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosted a first-ever Innovative Energy Management Workshop on July 22 in Kansas City, Mo., to assist water and wastewater treatment utility officials in the assessment of their energy management programs. Rising energy costs are a major challenge for water and wastewater utilities.

"EPA heard from more than 100 of our Midwestern utility partners at this workshop," said EPA Region 7 Administrator John B. Askew. "There were many innovative energy measures discussed that will help them reduce energy costs and incorporate the use of renewable energy into their operations."

Energy use is the largest source of air pollution in the country, and many communities are working to reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The nation's wastewater plants and drinking water systems spend about $4 billion per year on energy to treat water. If the sector could reduce energy use by just 10 percent through cost-effective investments in energy efficiency, collectively it would save about $400 million annually.

Some of the energy conservation measures discussed included:

  • the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicle fleets,
  • the use of methane produced from landfills as fuel for heating or electricity generation,
  • the use of heat pumps as part of utilities heating and cooling systems,
  • the use of compact fluorescent bulbs,
  • powering down computers during off-peak hours,
  • purchasing more efficient pumps to collect and process the water, and
  • the use of motion sensors to control lighting in offices and buildings.

An energy management guidebook outlined how to set measurable goals and manage issues to reduce consumption and implement plans to follow through on reduction goals. The guidebook includes valuable information on how utilities can minimize energy use and cost without sacrificing performance.

For more information about energy and water and to download the energy management guidebook, visit http://www.epa.gov/waterinfrastructure/bettermanagement_energy.html.

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