Water is Integral to Energy Savings

BarriersCoordinating water-energy efficiency efforts provides a significant opportunity to achieve greater savings for both water and energy utilities and for their customers, according to a new study from the Pacific Institute.

Despite recent events such as the Rim Fire and the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station demonstrating some of the challenges associated with the water-energy connection, they have also highlighted some of the opportunities. Namely, that saving water saves energy – and using less energy in turn saves even more water – reducing our vulnerability to both water and energy constraints, according to Water-Energy Synergies: Coordinating Efficiency Programs in California.

In California, an estimated 19 percent of the state’s electricity use and 32 percent of all natural gas consumption are related to water. In many cases, it can be cheaper to save energy through water conservation and efficiency measures than through current and planned energy efficiency programs, the report says. For example, the California Energy Commission, in a 2005 study, found that water-efficiency improvements could save as much energy as some of the state’s existing energy-efficiency programs – but at about half the cost, the report says.

In April, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Sun Edison announced a $440 million investment plan for joint energy efficiency programs. For example, the partners’ Small Business Direct Install program offers free installation of general lighting, water, and natural gas conservation measures to small- to medium-sized business. The Retrocommissioning Express program offers cash incentives to non-residential customers who undertake a “tune-up” of their existing building system equipment to restore equipment to its original performance level, as designed, if not higher. Incentives are available for 13 measures, including lighting sensors, fan and pump variable frequency drives, and chilled water and condenser water.

In November 2012, John Steckler of Archer Daniels adressed ARC’s 2012 World Industry Forum in Orlando, Fla., on automation strategies to enhance energy and water management. Click through to watch a video of the presentation.

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