To date, most significant water efficiency initiatives have been implemented locally and regionally, particularly during periods of droughts. A national water efficiency program that collects and broadly distributes information on water savings policies, strategies, and options could have a significant impact in addressing a growing water supply and infrastructure cost issue. Local and regional programs can leverage the national efforts, to enhance their effectiveness.
Recognizing this need, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the WaterSense┬« program in June 2006. WaterSense is a voluntary public-private partnership program that seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by promoting water efficiency and enhancing the market for water-efficient products, programs, and practices. WaterSense addresses residential and commercial water use. Products and programs that receive the WaterSense label meet water efficiency and performance criteria.
Energy efficiency efforts have been underway in many areas of the United States for more than a decade and already have provided significant water savings in addition to energy savings. These efforts touch many of the same products, practices, people and institutions that are the focus of local water efficiency efforts. Many of the energy efficiency efforts that are administered by utilities and state energy programs leverage the ENERGY STAR┬« program which provides a national platform for efficiency efforts, including national outreach and linkages to retailers and product manufacturers.
Because energy use and water use are closely intertwined in important ways, energy efficiency initiatives offer opportunities for delivering significant water savings, and similarly, water efficiency initiatives offer opportunities for delivering significant energy savings. Consequently, EPA WaterSense and EnergySTAR existing voluntary programs can be a valuable resource for helping to advance water and energy efficiency together.
Methods/Materials. ICF prepared a report entitled Water and Energy: Leveraging Voluntary Programs to Save Both Water and Energy. The 155-page report is a summary of the literature on the energy requirements to supply water and the water requirements to supply energy and provides an analysis of the potential energy and water savings from energy efficiency programs and water efficiency programs, with a focus on the co-benefits. The goal of this presentation is to illustrate the co-benefits of energy and water efficiency programs and summarize the current and future opportunities to be pursued under the ENERGY STAR and WaterSense programs to save both energy and water. The presentation will provide a summary of water use in the United States, identifies the areas where energy and water are closely intertwined and outlines strategies for delivering additional water savings through energy efficiency efforts, including opportunities with the ENERGY STAR program, and additional energy savings through water efficiency efforts, including those with the WaterSense program. The presentation will conclude with a summary of the potential energy and water savings associated with the ENERGY STAR and WaterSense programs.
Results and Discussion. The discussion focusses on Illustrative example of water, energy, and GHG savings by replacing appliances. Although drinking water supplies are only about 11 percent of total water withdrawal, they receive considerable attention because of the importance of adequate supply to support population and economic growth. Additionally, financial pressures on water supply systems and wastewater treatment systems have received significant attention in recent years. Consequently, there is particular interest in ensuring that water resources are used efficiently to not only stretch supplies, but also to help contain delivery and treatment costs. Enhancing water efficiency among residential, commercial, and industrial customers can contribute significantly to addressing these challenges. Numerous studies show, particularly for residential and commercial customers, that cost effective techniques can reduce typical water use by 20 to 40 percent without reducing the services derived from the water. The presentation will illustrate how these water savings also save energy and reduce GHG emissions, thereby saving both resources.
Conclusion. Energy intensity of water supply is site specific (e.g., energy intensity of supplied surface water supply differs from energy intensity of supplied ground water). Opportunities exist to leverage water and energy efficiency initiatives to save both resources. In particular, energy and greenhouse gas savings are a significant co-benefit of water efficiency initiatives, hence, water efficiency initiatives are strategies to contribute to meeting energy and GHG reductions goals. A list of resources on background materials on the energy/water nexus will be provided.
American Water Works Association (AWWA), Water Conservation Program Operation and Management, G480 Standard, 2013. (Diana Pape is contributing author).
ICF International, Water and Energy: Leveraging Voluntary Programs to
Save Both Water and Energy, March 2008.
Pape, Diana, The Energy-Water Nexus and its Impact on Meeting E.O. 13514 Goals, presented at GovEnergy, August 9, 2011.
Pape, Diana, Promoting Water and Energy Simultaneously, presented at Water Smart Innovations Conference, Les Vegas, Nevada, October 8, 2009.
Pape, Diana, Promoting Water and Energy Simultaneously, presented at American Water Works Association Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, June 2008.
Silva, Tony, Diana Pape, Ronald Szoc, Peter Mayer, and Linda Reekie, New Study Looks at Conservation, Customers, and Communications, American Water Works Association Journal (Conservation), Volume 103, Number 2, February 2011.
Silva, Tony, Diana Pape, Ronald Szoc, Peter Mayer, and Linda Reekie, Water Conservation: Customer Behavior and Effective Communications, Drinking Water Research (Water User Efficiency), Volume 20, Number 3, July -- September 2010.