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Alliance for Water Efficiency American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Merging Water & Energy Efficiency: A project of Collaboration. Background. 30 years of energy conservation and increases in efficiency of energy use.

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merging water energy efficiency a project of collaboration
Alliance for Water Efficiency

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Merging Water & Energy Efficiency: A project of Collaboration
  • 30 years of energy conservation and increases in efficiency of energy use.
  • 20 years of water conservation and increases in efficiency of water use.
  • Saving a drop of water saves energy; saving a unit of energy saves water.
  • Yet the two communities have historically not worked much together.
  • It is time to change that!
national water withdrawals
National Water Withdrawals

Source: US Geological Survey 2005

us daily water withdrawals
US Daily Water Withdrawals

Source: US Geological Survey 2005

energy intensities of water
Energy Intensities of Water

Source: California Energy Commission, 2005

the carbon footprint of water
The Carbon Footprint of Water

15% of U.S.


River Network 2009

the project
The Project
  • Joint effort of AWE and ACEEE.
  • Supported by funding from the Turner Foundation.
  • Purpose: to identify the major research, program, and policy needs of the water-energy nexus for decision-makers and funders.
  • Establish the beginning of a national long term energy-water community.

blueprint concept
“Blueprint” Concept
  • Pull together key decision-makers into a strategic planning discussion.
  • Identify issues and areas of mutual future endeavor.
  • Facilitate discussion in four key areas: programs, policies, research, and codes and standards.
  • Gather recommendations.
  • Publish report of stakeholder findings.
  • Identify areas of immediate needed action.
december 9 2010 workshop
December 9, 2010 Workshop
  • Over 75 key organizations and individuals in the water and energy communities were identified and invited.
  • Broad spectrum of interest groups were desired.
december 9 2010 workshop1
December 9, 2010 Workshop
  • All 75 invited to a pre-workshop survey of issues.
  • 54 individuals representing 41 diverse organizations attended a day-long workshop in Washington DC.
  • 31 themes identified with votes on priority areas.
  • 8 Main Themes emerged with recommendations.
  • 5 Priority areas for immediate action identified.
8 recommendation themes
8 Recommendation Themes
  • Increase the level of collaboration between the water and energy communities in planning and implementing programs.
  • Achieve a deeper understanding of the energy embedded in water and the water embedded in energy.
  • Learn from and replicate best practice integrated energy-water efficiency programs.
  • Integrate water into energy research efforts and vice versa.
8 themes of recommendations
8 Themes of Recommendations
  • Separate water utility revenues from unit sales, and consider regulatory structures that provide an incentive for investing in end-use water and energy efficiency.
  • Leverage existing and upcoming voluntary standards that address the energy-water nexus.
  • Implement mandatory codes and standards that address the energy-water nexus.
  • Pursue education and awareness opportunities for various audiences and stakeholders.
1 increase collaboration
1: Increase Collaboration

1-A: Establish ongoing water & energy working groups to increase cooperation and to share best practices.

1-B: “Just add water”: integrate water & wastewater into existing energy efficiency programs.

1-C: Incentivize residential & business efficiency programs to gain additional savings related to embedded water & energy, and develop methodologies that fairly attribute the savings and costs.

1-D: Integrate energy & water audit practices, and provide integrated retrofitting recommendations, rebate programs and outreach & education efforts.

2 embedded energy water
2: Embedded Energy & Water

2-A: Develop methodologies for measuring embedded water and energy and for developing water and energy factors to help drive programs, policies, and technology development & implementation. A national database is needed!

2-B: Develop baseline estimates of total energy use by water and wastewater utilities and estimates of water use by electric generation technologies.

3 replicate best practices
3: Replicate Best Practices

3-A: Survey existing programs to identify examples of best practices programs exploring the water-energy nexus. Identify elements of success and replication potential.

3-B: Develop framework for collecting integrated data on energy and water savings, including a uniform format and metrics.

3-C: Inventory and assess current work related to green infrastructure and water efficiency.

4 integrate water energy
4: Integrate Water & Energy

4-A: Identify high priority research needs by building a database of existing nexus-related research to identify gaps.

4-B: Assess the need for combined water and energy efficiency in various regions of the country depending upon resource constraints.

4-C: Develop water and energy foot printing methods for facility management, land use planning, and new development permitting.

5 water pricing reform
5: Water Pricing Reform

5-A: Prepare a report for local and state policymakers and water utilities on lessons learned from energy experiences and on rate-related barriers to efficiency program implementation.

5-B: Conduct an energy-water decoupling pilot study for assessing options and issues for separating revenues and sales volumes.

5-C: Provide technical assistance related to rate setting.

6 leverage voluntary standards
6: Leverage Voluntary Standards

6-A: Leverage existing and upcoming national standards that fully link energy and water management.

6-B: Develop recommendations for better integrating water and energy efficiency into green codes, long-term building maintenance, and whole building rating systems.

6-C: Develop model land-use and planning codes.

7 implement mandatory codes
7: Implement Mandatory Codes

7-A: Explore opportunities to expand products covered by DOE equipment standards to include more water-using products and to take into account direct and indirect water impacts when assessing efficiency opportunities.

7-B: Modify national model building codes to better incorporate water efficiency.

8 pursue education and awareness
8: Pursue Education and Awareness

8-A: Undertake utility education, outreach, technical assistance and training programs to educate water and wastewater professionals on energy efficiency tools and technologies.

8-B: Create partnerships between energy and water utilities, industry organizations, and NFPs for joint public messaging.

8-C: Development knowledge-sharing programs on high- performance systems and designs for system operators, land use planners, and engineers to help them optimize energy and water efficiency.

8-D: Convene seminars for policymakers.

the policy agenda
The Policy Agenda
  • Implementing the preceding recommendations will require intense collaboration among stakeholders and advocates.
  • Also will require government engagement and leadership.
  • Blueprint contains 9 needed policy directions for the national, state, and local levels.
policy needs
Policy Needs
  • Regulatory structures and incentives that reward water and energy efficiency.
  • DOE Appliance and Equipment Standards for water-using appliances and equipment.
  • Building Codes that recognize water and energy efficiency.
  • Specific energy-water elements to add to existing legislation.
  • Tax incentives for water and energy efficiency.
policy needs1
Policy Needs
  • Collection of water and energy end-use data by federal agencies.
  • Better communication between regulatory and governance bodies.
  • Collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies in integrating water and energy in grant funding research, regulation, and technical assistance.
  • Coordination in new power plant siting or significant expansion of existing plants.
moving forward 5 key priorities
Moving Forward: 5 Key Priorities
  • Develop baseline of total energy use by water & wastewater utilities and water use by electric utilities.
  • Incorporate cost-effective energy/water measures into building codes, equipment standards, and tax credits.
  • Survey existing programs for best practices.
  • Prepare a report for local and state policymakers addressing the rate-related barriers in water.
  • Establish ongoing water and energy workgroups.
baseline estimates water utilities
Baseline Estimates: Water Utilities

How much energy is used by water & wastewater utilities?

  • California is only state with comprehensive data, gathered by California Energy Commission in 2005.
    • 19% of California’s electric use related to water
    • 32% of California’s gas load related to water heating
  • What are the numbers for other regions of the country?
  • Need to assemble data from utility electric bills and segregate by water source and treatment.
baseline estimates energy utilities
Baseline Estimates: Energy Utilities

How much water is used in generating electricity?

  • Important issue in state and regional resource planning and power plant design & siting.
  • USGS report every 5 years – most recently for 2005:
    • 49% of U.S. water withdrawals for thermoelectric power gen. (201 Bgal/day)
    • 41% of freshwater withdrawals (143 Bgal/day)
    • U.S. Average of 23 gallons per kWh
  • Large variations by cooling type:
    • Open-loop (43% in U.S.) – high use (50-65 gal/kWh), low consumption (~1%)
    • Closed-loop w/ towers (42%) – low use (1-2 gal/kWh), high consump. (~70%)
    • Closed-loop w/ ponds (14%) – mid use (14-24 gal/kWh) & variable consump.
regional variations
Regional Variations

2005 Freshwater withdrawals for thermoelectric power production

Source: USGS. 2009. “Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005”

need for better regional data
Need for Better Regional Data
  • Policy and technology choices can result in divergent regional water impacts.
    • Ex. Macknick, et al. 2011 (NREL) – ReEDS modeling of water withdrawal and consumption impacts of 21% increase in generation from 2006 to 2030 using different technology mixes.

Base case (BAU)

All cooling towers scenario

Source: J. Macknick, R. Newmark, and KC Hallett. 2011. “Future Projections of Water Demands for Energy”

c odes s tandards and t ax incentives
Codes, Standards, and Tax Incentives
  • Combined energy-water issues slip between the cracks.
  • Energy can be better addressed in IAPMO code and water better integrated into IECC and ASHRAE 90.1.
  • Opportunities for upcoming new/revised equipment efficiency standards include clothes washers, dishwashers, toilets and showerheads.
  • Residential energy tax incentives expiring at end of 2011, for renewal investigate simple ways to include water efficiency in these programs (e.g. formula to convert water savings into energy savings).
joint efficiency programs
Joint Efficiency Programs
  • Although some energy utilities have successfully promoted water efficiency programs, and vice versa, these programs have not yet been widely adopted.
  • Programs focus on water and wastewater treatment as well as building end uses.
  • We will highlight many of these programs and their lessons learned in a report aimed at utilities and regulators.
embedded energy in water pilots
Embedded Energy in Water Pilots
  • Nine joint pilot programs between California electric & water utilities in 2008-09 to test the embedded energy connection
  • Purpose was to determine energy credit for “cold” water savings and potential for energy efficiency
  • Pilots with highest energy savings: System Leak Detection, Low Income High Efficiency Toilets
  • Other programs: Large Commercial, Recycled Water, Emerging Technologies for Water Pumping, Managed Landscapes


embedded energy in water pilots1
Embedded Energy in Water Pilots
  • CPUC Calculator – identify programs made cost-effective through partnerships and spread costs across water and energy utilities:


overcoming utility disincentives
Overcoming Utility Disincentives

Report for local and state policy makers and water utilities, covering:

  • problems with current water rates, particularly with regard to water efficiency programs which can lead to undercollection of fixed costs;
  • how some states address these issues for energy utilities with flat or increasing block rates, decoupling, lost base-revenue adjustments, and incentives;
  • recommendations on appropriate lessons and next steps for water utilities.
joint working groups
Joint Working Groups

Four working groups, following on the blueprint process, each based around one of our initial joint projects:

  • Codes, standards and tax incentives.
  • Water utility disincentives and ways to address them.
  • Joint energy and water-saving programs.
  • Research on energy-use connected to water and water use connected to energy.
coordinated research
Coordinated Research
  • There is a lot of work to do on the Water-Energy nexus
  • Coordination is needed to avoid duplication and maximize impact of all efforts
  • Coordinated funding is needed on both sides

Download the Blueprint at:

Mary Ann Dickinson, Alliance for Water Efficiency


Eric Mackres and Neal Elliott

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

202-507-4000 and