Among the wide variety of factors that influence whether a water savings program is successful, a few themes stand out as best practices. According to the ACEEE report “Saving Watts to Save Drops: Inclusion of Water Efficiency in Energy Efficiency Programs,” these four areas are key to determining a program’s viability.
Several programs have shown demonstrable, proactive thinking in their approach to maximizing water and energy conservation by seeing the two goals as interdependent. Here are three of the most notable for creating a new standard of best practices.
In recent years, the relationship between water and energy, referred to as the energy-water nexus, has become a more compelling focus for energy efficiency programs. Researchers and practitioners are increasingly interested in better understanding this relationship in order to design integrated programs to manage energy and water in tandem. The ACEEE report “Saving Watts to Save Drops: Inclusion of Water Efficiency in Energy Efficiency Programs” laid out specific criteria for assessing the viability of water saving energy efficiency programs. It also serves well as a template for designing a successful program.
Here are five essential considerations to integrate into a well-planned water savings program.
With emerging technologies in the energy industry, utilities face increasing pressure to innovate and keep up with their customers’ expectations. Even utilities that haven’t traditionally been innovative are taking multipronged approaches to keep consumers happy now—and to keep them happy (and connected) into the future.
Not only has California been stricken by a prolonged drought, but it’s also embroiled in legal battles over the state’s access to water from the Colorado River and other sources. In an effort to lower the state’s overall water use, California Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order in 2015 to improve the efficiency of water appliances in new and existing buildings throughout the state.
Devastating hurricanes like Andrew and Katrina have resulted in new disaster-mitigation efforts as communities rebuild buildings and infrastructure. The recent deluge of hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also offer an opportunity to use state-of-the art strategies to improve rebuilt communities’ ability to withstand future natural disasters.
These resilience strategies include energy efficiency measures. According to a recent newsletter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development & Research, materials and technologies that enhance buildings’ energy efficiency can also make them more durable and resilient to hurricanes and other natural disaster.
Wide Info recently posted a new story on their blog titled 5 Smart Ways to Lower Your Energy Costs and features useful tips for consumers to save money on their electric bills when seasons change. One tip was to install water-saving showerheads, which features AM Conservation Group products.
It’s the ultimate two-for-one deal: Cutting water use can also substantially reduce energy usage in a couple key ways. The first is that it takes electricity or gas to heat water, so it makes sense that the more hot water a business or residence uses, the less energy-efficient it is. The second is that water companies need to use energy to purify and deliver water, as well as to treat water again after it goes down the drain.
About 8 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. is for the delivery and treatment of potable water. In California, 19 percent of electricity is used for delivering water! 32 percent of the natural gas consumption is for treating water and wastewater. Those costs are baked into your water and sewage bills.
Here are a few ways to improve water efficiency and cut energy use at the same time.
Green building entails more than just using eco-friendly construction materials or improving energy efficiency. Increasingly, it’s also encompassing water usage. In fact, it’s now possible to build a certified water-wise house or multifamily unit from the ground up.
In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established criteria for WaterSense Labeled Homes. These criteria apply not only to single-family homes and townhomes, but also to residential units in buildings that are no taller than three stories. These units can be in mixed-used buildings as well, provided the residential units have their own separate heating, cooling and hot-water systems.
Water efficiency is essential for every type of business—whether they’re water-intensive industries like healthcare facilities, hotels, carwashes or laundry services or just your standard office or retail store. But how do you formulate a comprehensive water-reduction plan that allows you to conserve water without negative business impacts?
A good place to start is with advice from the experts. Members of the Federal Energy Management Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did some brainstorming and came up with 14 best-management practices (BMPs) to improve water efficiency in a variety of settings.