The water-energy linkage means that efficiency programs that save water will also save energy and vice versa, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which offers numerous case studies to support its thesis.
The largest energy uses in commercial buildings include heating, cooling, ventilating, water heating, office equipment, and a variety of process loads, says the report “Saving Water and Energy Together: Helping Utilities Build Better Programs.” Due to this range of needs, there are many opportunities for joint water and energy efficiency programs that are customizable to the particular commercial facility. Program models that seem to be well suited for joint administration include equipment and technology programs, whole building efficiency, and new construction opportunities.
For example, the SureBet Business Energy Efficiency program offered by NV Energy, works to retrofit and upgrade commercial operations in commercial buildings in their service region. One of their projects was with JW Marriott, where they completed a retrofit of an older steam cooker with a high-efficiency electric steam cooker in one of the hotel’s kitchens, resulting in water and energy savings.
Besides commercial buildings, the industrial sector offers opportunities for energy and water savings. The industrial sector typically includes manufacturing, mining, construction, and agriculture, and there are opportunities for joint water and energy efficiency in all of these sub-categories. Manufacturing efficiency programs include a few different approaches such as efficiency target support, Strategic Energy Management (SEM), and working with small and medium-sized businesses. These strategies can be deployed to improve efficiency of equipment in a facility or to improve the efficiency of the process or system.
For example, the city West Water in Melbourne, Australia, undertook a steam efficiency program to improve the water and energy efficiency of its business customers’ steam systems. The program provides free steam system audits highlighting efficiency improvement opportunities and training. West Water monitors the potential savings of improvement opportunities identified through the steam system audit reports and tracks the progress of implementation of these opportunities through meetings with customers.